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Production Manager 


Centre for Extended Learning

Effective Date: January 2013

USG 13

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Associate Director, Online Learning

General Accountability

The Production Manager, (“the Manager”) is accountable to the Associate Director, Online Learning (ADOL), for managing the Course Production team within the Centre for Online Learning (CEL) and ensuring that new or revised online courses are developed in an efficient, effective manner using sound design and development practices, and that all online courses are reviewed and updated for each term of offer. In addition to day-to-day management of the Course Production unit, the Manager is part of the senior management team, led by the Director, responsible for CEL strategic planning policy decisions, visioning, the refinement of production and instructional models, and technological directions.

Nature and Scope

CEL is a unit funded to provide development support for the development of credit online courses for the University of Waterloo (Waterloo). It also develops and offers non-credit online and face-to-face courses through its Professional Development unit.


Online learning has a long (40+ year) history at Waterloo, and is considered an area of strength for the institution. Online learning is increasing in strategic importance to the university and the province. As a result, CEL has been facing increased demand for its services that will continue to grow. This growth is transforming the way CEL operates and provides services, and the Manager plays a key role in increasing the capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness of CEL’s operation.  


CEL has a staff of over 50 involved in the development, delivery, and management of over 300 credit and non-credit online course offerings with approximately 18,000 student course registrations annually. Approximately 50 new online courses are developed and another 6 to 10 online courses undergo significant revision each year.  In each term, approximately 120 courses must be updated, quality-checked, and prepared for offer.


There are relatively few examples of online course development of CEL scale within Waterloo’s peer group and thus there are few well-established models to follow; in many cases, we are exploring and breaking new ground when it comes to internal management, instructional strategies, and production processes. Because of the lack of models, and the high level of complexity involved in course production, the Manager position requires a high level of initiative and creative thought.


The Manager is responsible for staff supervision and direction, digital media strategies, development strategies and project management within Course Production. The Manager shares responsibility for the management of online course development teams with the ADOL. The Online Learning Consultants, one part of the development team, report to the ADOL, while the Digital Instructional Media Developers (“developers”) and LMS/QA Specialists (“QA”) report to the Manager. The Manager makes management decisions regarding projects or these staff in the ADOL’s absence. In some aspects of the role, such as matters that have significant impact on the budget, such as hiring or contract extensions, the Manager will interact directly with the Director.


Statistical Data


The Manager manages approximately 24-27 direct reports including:


Re-offers (annually)

 Faculty Interactions

 Migrations and Upgrades



Specific Accountabilities


STAFF Management

The Manager supervises a large and diverse Course Production team of over 20 staff, comprised of Digital Instructional Media Developers, Learning Management System/Quality Assurance Specialists, team leads in each of those areas, as well as co-op and part-time students in various development roles. The Manager must instill respect and confidence in a team of highly-skilled and creative individuals.

The manager is responsible for staff development, mentoring, advising, and coaching of a creative team responsible for supporting online course development. The Manager must apply tact and diplomacy in directing the work of creative professionals so as to create a productive and rewarding work environment.

Specific staff-related responsibilities include:


The Manager is responsible for assignment of resources for course production; this resource and the Manager’s ability to effectively schedule is a key determinant of CEL’s overall capacity and ability to meet University demand for online course development. Managing projects in academe and within a relationship wherein CEL provides a service and does not exercise management control of key stakeholders (i.e., faculty course authors), creates unique challenges.

Specific production responsibilities include:


SYSTEMS Planning & Support

The Manager plays an integral role in guiding the operation of systems critical to CEL’s operation. Course Production staff are the largest group of primary users of the LMS within CEL, and therefore both are impacted by and influence changes to, the LMS. As CP is a significant part of the operation, the Manager is a key advisor on the design of CEL information management systems, workflow processes, and the integration with University and third-party systems.

Specific systems support responsibilities include:


Excellence and Innovation in Digital Instructional Media Development

The Manager must maintain up-to-date technological expertise, keeping abreast of industry standards, pockets of innovation, and emerging trends in the rapidly changing fields of web and digital media development. The Manager must also be familiar with best practices and primary research in the application of digital media in education.

Specific systems support responsibilities include:


Working Conditions