Design issues that have surfaced so far (well, a few of them, anyway) include the fact that we are dealing with two different universities, one of which is merging with a larger university in the U.K. On top of that, we have two separate admissions systems, separate student service divisions, different learning management systems, and different ideas about how distance education should work.
My take is that the courses should be transportable, offered on CD for students who travel, and generalized with regard to activities within the LMS (but with activities for each lesson) such that students at both universities can access the same content. I think that once the main committee in charge sees this, they'll be amenable to it over the print-based/independent study/ exam-at-the-end model. But what to call things? lessons? units? modules? Does the U.K. use syllabi? Do they call them syllabi?
Oh, and the only designer on the project, officially, is me--the U.K. group has a coordinator, but no actual IDs on-site to help with this. So I need to be extra careful about what I do here, so that the students aren't the ones who end up paying.