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Instructional Standards


  • Students are given course requirements in advance; equipment, hardware, software, and a “techniques for success” section are clearly spelled out in the course description.
  • Course specific documentation is clearly visible on the course website (how to submit assignments, communication, etc.)
  • Examinations are related and relevant to given course materials and readings.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to participate in regular, frequent interactions between other students, and with the instructor – therefore creating active learners.
  • Students are encouraged to create and apply course information, followed by sharing new ideas and knowledge with other students in the course.
  • Students will receive regular constructive feedback in a timely manner by responding to email within 2 working days, and will communicate exam results within 7 working days.
  • Course will be built around active learning and allow students the opportunity to engage with peers in activities and assignments furthering the knowledge and understanding of course material.

 * Instructors should clearly state in the course syllabus the expectations students can expect of the course instructor. This should include timely responses to student inquiries, regular communications, and availability for support.

Preparing a Course for Delivery

  • Faculty must ensure they have the commitment to teaching online.
  • Faculty must get department approval to teach an online course.
  • Faculty must be familiar with software that will be used to deliver the course. An online course seminar or one-on-one instruction is available to faculty through CASIT.
  • Faculty will post class policy and a general course outline for course structure prior to the first week of course delivery.
  • The course should be modularized (one topic per week or two week period).
  • Each module can contain Web-based and lecture materials, collaborative assignments, student assessment activities, and questions for discussion or response. Included will be a communications component, such as threaded discussions, chats, whiteboard, or other online meeting place.
  • Faculty will select multimedia that supports the goals and objectives of the course.
  • Faculty must comply with copyright laws and encourage the same from their students.
  • Instructors are encouraged to consider having an online tutor available for students with needs. A request for a tutor should be addressed to the Teaching and Learning Center.
  • Faculty must consider ADA requirements for online accessibility when designing the course. For example, alternative text information for graphics and images must be included in the website design. Backgrounds need to have contrast and clarity.
  • NB: CASIT will provide course design, training, and support to interested instructors.


Conducting a Course

  • Faculty should exhibit patience with students for the duration of the course, but especially in the beginning of the semester as students get acclimated to the online environment.
  • Faculty will notify students within 7 days of their new grades through an online grade book. A student must authenticate with DuckID to view the grade book.
  • Faculty should consider providing models or student samples of the expected quality of work at the beginning of the course.
  • Faculty will design assignments that allow for group collaboration and cooperative learning, like threaded discussions, group projects or team problem solving.
  • The instructor will regularly monitor group collaboration activities and discussions.
  • Faculty will keep a record of student work (eg. a copy of the grade book) for at least one year after the course is complete.

Evaluating and Improving the Course, Faculty should:

  • Encourage students to fill out the online evaluation form and the end of the course.
  • Be committed to review comments on evaluations and make appropriate changes to the course as necessary.
  • Discuss online evaluations with a department representative.
  • Attend Online Education training offered on campus to constantly update skills and the course site.
  • Revise and improve the course content including assessment question pool annually.

Student Assessment

  • Instructors will use CAS-approved course assessment forms and software.
  • Students will be given the opportunity to experience a “demo” of the testing environment within the first week of the course.
  • Students have an ongoing opportunity to give feedback on the website, the instructor’s performance, and the assessment process.
  • Students are evaluated on materials available to the students from the beginning of the course.
  • Course assessment questions made into a pool of questions will be refreshed annually. The oldest question in a test pool should be no older than two years.
  • CASIT recommends students take proctored exams. Quizzes can be taken without a proctor.
  • Proctors must be pre-approved and a part of the course sign-up process.
  • Any proposals to use alternatives to SSIL proctored exams will have to be evaluated by SSIL staff, vetted by the CAS Curriculum Committee, and get final approval from the Dean. We also understand that some courses may have substantial written assignments in lieu of exams for pedagogical reasons. In these cases, we will want instructors to coordinate with CASIT and SSIL staff to use anti-plagiarism software to evaluate these major assignments. To be clear, we are not requiring that every single assignment in an online course undergo a rigorous ID verification. Quizzes, homework assignments, and other exercises that each comprise a small portion of a person’s grade can be exempt. However, we expect that exams and major written assignments compose the majority of the grade in a course and will be subject to these ID verification procedures.