Online Learning at Metro State Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines for Faculty. The Green Book

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1 Online Learning at Metro State Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines for Faculty The Green Book January 2010

2 Table of Contents Overview of Online Learning... 5 History of Online Learning at Metro... 5 Current Status... 5 Organizational Structure for Online Learning... 7 Course Management System... 8 Pedagogy for Online Courses... 9 Teaching vs. Developing Online Courses... 9 Characteristics of Online Instructors Characteristics of Online Learners Online Faculty Policies and Procedures Faculty Expectations Teaching Load Guidelines Online Course Class Size Office Hours, Advising, and Service Availability and Response-Time Guidelines Peer Review Student Evaluations Considerations for RTP and PTR Intellectual Property Issues Summary of Chair Duties Training Opportunities Blackboard Vista for On-Campus Courses Online Faculty Orientation Online Faculty Certification Blackboard Vista Print Materials Training Workshops Online Course Standards Residential/Online Comparative Analysis Content Standards Interaction Standards Online Course Review Process Course Review Process Course Review Training Opportunities Online Course Curriculum Guidelines Approval Process for Online and Hybrid Designation Faculty Support Resources ETC Open Labs... 19

3 ETC Online Course Design Media Production Dates for Course Design Dates for Media Development ETC Lab Resources Technical Support from IT For Faculty Design and Development Assistance: For Students Online Course Administrative Procedures Dates for Online Courses Course End Date Semester-to-Semester Process Start-of-Semester Checklist: (preparing your course) End-of-Semester Checklist Course Backups Online Course Incomplete Procedure Additional Participants in Online Courses Use of Publisher-Provided Content and Resources ADA Policies and Procedures Procedures for System Outages Online Course Style Guide Templates Template Descriptions Requesting Template for your Course Section Recommended Practice for Headers and Icon Sets Standard Online Course Policies Student Privacy Policies Policies Discussion Policies Assignment Policies Academic Dishonesty SafeAssign Syllabus Statement NC (No Credit) Policy Incomplete Notation Religious Holidays Appendix... 34

4 Overview of Online Learning History of Online Learning at Metro Metropolitan State College of Denver is one of the largest public four-year colleges in the United States and has the second largest undergraduate population in the state. Adjacent to the financial and artistic heart of downtown Denver, Metro State and its students reflect the city s rich mixture of ethnicity, economic background, age, and culture. The College s accessibility is made possible through its modified open-enrollment policy, affordable tuition, and financial aid awards. Each semester, more than 21,000 students enroll at the College. More than 265,000 individuals have taken classes at Metro State. Metro State offers day, night, weekend, correspondence, and online courses at the downtown Auraria campus and at its two suburban satellite campuses, Metro South and Metro North. Online education began at MSCD in the fall of 1996 with just 24 enrollments. Student enrollment in online courses during Spring Semester 2006 grew to 4,400 students enrolled in one or more of the 330 online or hybrid classes offered. Sixteen majors can be completed through a combination of online, evening, and weekend courses. In addition, the General Studies Core can be completed online. Initially, MSCD did not use a formal course management system (CMS). Courses were developed and made available on a campus web server. In August 1998, MSCD began using Jones e-education tm system as the CMS; Jones provided hosting and help-desk services as well. Metro State remained on the Jones e-education tm course management software until August 2003 when Jones left the business of developing CMS and providing hosting services. In August 2003, MSCD began using WebCT v 3.8 with outsourced Help Desk and hosting by Embanet. MSCD upgraded to WebCT v. 4.1 in May WebCT stopped supporting WebCT v. 4.1 in 2008 so a migration to WebCT Vista was planned and completed in spring The growth of online courses was and is driven by departments that work to meet the demand of students in their discipline. Online sections typically fill quickly because of student demand. Students appreciate the flexibility and opportunity that online courses provide as many have significant work and family responsibilities. Online courses also provide an opportunity for Metro students to continue their studies when they relocate away from Denver because of job, military, or family issues. Current Status To realize the vision of Metro State as the preeminent public urban baccalaureate college in the country and a Hispanic Serving Institute, we must focus on the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body. Offering courses, and ultimately any appropriate academic programs, in an online format is one way to significantly meet the education demands of these students. Preeminence, even within the state of Colorado, let alone the nation, can only be achieved through transforming our online services, not simply transitioning existing services to an online platform. Over the last decade, the World Wide Web has become much more than a technology resource; it has become a primary conduit of teaching and learning. Web site development, course discussion list services, faculty and student blogs, online exams, Webcasting of audio and video, multimedia development, portal services, and podcasting have become key functions of the academic environment. Additionally, Web resources can no longer be considered behind-the-scenes software and hardware support. Web resources are part of the dynamic academic collective in providing online education, consisting of not only online courses, but online support, which enables academic departments to provide electronic information to its targeted recruits and majors. Web resources directly interface with academic departments and faculty, the executive officers of the College, Furthermore, online learning and communication have become acceptable practices at almost all

5 institutions of higher education. According to data from the United States Department of Education, enrollment in credit-bearing distance education courses increased from million in to million in and distance education course offerings increased from 47,500 to 118,100 (Kiernan, 2003). Gartner research on e-learning in higher education worldwide indicates that almost 50% of courses being offered in 2007 will be either hybrid courses or fully on-line. Gartner higher education research predicts that this trend will continue through the end of the decade and the breadth of offerings from undergraduate to graduate programs will also expand. These trends in online learning are reflected at Metro State. The information in Figure 1 was extracted from the Metro State Office of Institutional Research Data Book. During this eleven year period, the overall growth in online credit hour production grew 52,479 hours, an increase of over 700%. When compared to the overall college credit hour production, the online proportion has increased from about 2% in to about 13% in Figure 1. Online Credit Hour Production, through academic years (includes online and hybrid courses) Unduplicated headcount data in Figure 2 confirm this growth trend. The growth from 674 students in 1998 to 4952 in 2007 represents over a 630% increase.

6 Figure 2. Fall Census unduplicated headcount data for students enrolled in online or hybrid courses (Source: Metro State Office of Institutional Research Data Book) During the summer, fall, and spring semesters of , 254 faculty members participated in teaching these courses. As of September 2008, 230 different faculty members were teaching at least one online or hybrid course. Even with various constraints placed on new online course development in recent years, there has been growth in online enrollment even when resident enrollments have declined. Additionally, the College has recently expressed the expectation that all resident and distance education courses will have access to online components in Blackboard Vista. The needs generated by this advancement in teaching and learning support can only be satisfied through the efficient management, leadership, availabilty and proximity of advanced, innovative courseware support and design. Given the past and expected future growth rates in online and hybrid courses, we must position Metro State strategically to effectively satisfy this demand and continue to foster teaching and learning excellence. It is important that we invest in improvements in academic technology to better support our faculty. Organizational Structure for Online Learning Metro State s online learning activities are overseen at multiple levels. Schools and departments decide what courses and programs to offer in the online environment and choose qualified instructors to teach online courses. The Office of Academic Affairs provides oversight and direction for college-wide issues and initiatives. The Directors of Online Learning are appointed by the Provost and reports to the Provost or the Provost s designee. They oversee accreditation, training, strategic growth, and qualitative improvements in the online program. The Educational Technology Center (ETC) is a crucial element of online learning acting as the point of contact for course development and support and reports to the Provost as well. In addition, Information Technology oversees on-campus desktop hardware and network support. Director and Assistant Director of Online Learning Manages and develops training opportunities for faculty including the orientation and certification program in partnership with the Center for Faculty Development

7 Oversees the online course review process Facilitates growth in the online program Facilitates qualitative improvements in the online program Chairs the Online Policy Committee and Online Review Committee Educational Technology Center (ETC) Provides assistance with design, development and delivery of online courses Provides tier 2 help desk assistance for online learning activities Manages course management system (Blackboard Vista) Provides interactive application development and simulations Open lab for faculty to use the latest technologies to work on their course material Provides one-on-one consultation, group workshops and online training covering diverse technology topics Provides media development and production services to faculty Academic and Faculty Web site/applications development Information Technology Provides tier 1 help-desk resources for faculty and students Services on-campus computer hardware and software for faculty and student computer labs Course Management System Metro State migrated from WebCT Campus Edition (CE) to WebCT Vista in During this time Blackboard Inc. purchased WebCT, so we refer to the course management system as Blackboard Vista. All online and hybrid courses began using Blackboard Vista in spring Beginning fall 2008, residential courses have access to Blackboard Vista. As with most software, the developers enhance their product with updates and upgrades. Faculty will be informed of new and improved features as they become available. In addition, developers eventually stop updating and supporting programs because of the availability of new programs. Metro State anticipates that the current Blackboard Vista system will be available through 2011 and a thorough study will be conducted in 2010 to identify needs and a potential upgrade path to ensure faculty have the necessary tools to teach online effectively. Blackboard Vista is managed by Educational Technology Center. The system is hosted by Blackboard. Pedagogy for Online Courses It is possible for online and residential courses to have the same objectives, outcomes, and assessments but online instruction requires a unique set of instructional methods. The interaction between instructors and students and between students is facilitated by technology. There are many tools available to enhance interaction and online instructors must have a basic level of technical competencies to effectively implement the tools and a willingness to learn and implement new technologies. According to the NCA-HLC report, Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs, online education is best experienced within a community of learning where competent

8 professionals are actively and cooperatively involved with creating, providing, and improving the instructional program; that learning is dynamic and interactive, regardless of the setting in which it occurs; that instructional programs leading to degrees having integrity are organized around substantive and coherent curricula which define expected learning outcomes; that institutions accept the obligation to address student needs related to, and to provide the resources necessary for, their academic success; that institutions are responsible for the education provided in their name; that institutions undertake the assessment and improvement of their quality, giving particular emphasis to student learning; that institutions voluntarily subject themselves to peer review. Online courses are not self-paced but are structured and scheduled with due dates. They must offer students ample opportunity to interact with the instructor and classmates and where applicable, include substantial learning materials that go beyond the assigned textbook. Teaching vs. Developing Online Courses Online course instruction differs from residential course instruction in the manner in which time is invested to prepare and conduct the course. The amount of time to teach an online course is similar to a residential course, what is different is the amount of time required to develop and prepare the course before the class begins. In a three credit hour residential course, the instructor spends approximately three hours each week in the classroom and many more hours each week preparing for class and grading. Online course instruction requires a similar amount of time to grade but the classroom time is replaced by interactive activities through the course management system. Online instructors typically invest more time addressing individual student concerns. The development of online courses before the class begins requires a significant investment to create all of the online elements to conduct the course. Many instructors begin course development at least 6-months before the semester begins. In subsequent semesters, the development demands are lessened as long as the instructional materials are current and relevant. Additional development demands are faced when a new textbook is adopted. There are a number of ways to improve efficiencies in online course development. The first is to work with development professionals within the ETC team. The assigned instructor is the subject matter expert and must work closely with the developer to develop a high quality course. Another option is for online instructors to have a long term view of online development and incorporate instructional materials that can be used with multiple textbooks. The third involves the development of course templates that can be used for multiple sections. If multiple sections of the same online course are offered, the department should develop a high quality master section that can be used by all of the individual sections. This enables instructors to focus on adding materials instead of developing the entire course. At Metro State, many faculty members develop their online course and then teach the course. Some instructors do not have significant design responsibilities and teach courses that have been designed by other faculty. Characteristics of Online Instructors Online instructors require a unique skill set including: Basic competencies using online tools and technologies with a willingness to learn Lifelong learners to master new online tools and technologies Expanded availability to students with ability to access course management system with a high

9 speed Internet connection many times during the week from multiple locations (campus, home, library, hotel, etc) Patience to help students improve their online student competencies Organized and forward thinking instead of just in time thinking Willingness to try new instructional methods Comfortable and competent to communicate primarily through written channels Responsive to students Willing to provide a high level of feedback to students Characteristics of Online Learners Online learners require a unique skill set including: Working knowledge of online tools and technologies Ability to access course management system with a high speed Internet connection many times during the week from multiple locations Self-motivated and self-disciplined, willing to invest the necessary time to track their own responsibilities and progress Comfortable and competent to communicate primarily through written channels Ability to learn from investigative methods, drawing from multiple sources of content Values interaction with students and instructors Online Faculty Policies and Procedures Faculty Expectations All tenured, tenure-track, full-time, and part-time faculty members are expected to implement the policies, guidelines, and procedures included in this guidebook. As the subject matter expert, you are expected to provide your students with high quality content and learning activities. For the sake of student learning outcomes, course content must be presented in a manner that is consistent with the style guide, navigational structure, content standards, and interaction standards. All faculty members must complete the orientation before teaching an online course and are encouraged to pursue the Online Faculty Certification Program. Teaching Load Guidelines Online courses assignments are determined by department chairs. The college does not restrict or promote the number of online courses assigned to individual faculty members. Historically, tenure track faculty have not taught more than 50% of their courses in online and hybrid courses to ensure a balanced record for review. Online Course Class Size Online course class size is determined by the department chair and dean and should not vary significantly from the residential component. If enrollments are to increase, the instructor should have input to discuss the potential increase in workload. Office Hours, Advising, and Service Full-time temporary and tenure/tenure-track faculty members teaching online courses are expected to comply with all college policies related to office hours, advising, and service to their department, school, or College. Refer to the Personnel Handbook for specific policies.

10 Availability and Response-Time Guidelines Online instructors must post their availability and response-time policy in their syllabus and within the online course materials. Availability information should provide additional methods of contact other than the course management system, including their MSCD address, phone number, and office hours (for full-time temporary and tenure/tenure-track faculty). All instructors must post and abide by a response time commitment of no longer than 48 hours, not including weekends or holidays. Peer Review Faculty teaching online courses must abide by the peer review requirements as documented in the Personnel Handbook. Online courses are reviewed using the approved MSCD peer review process and form. Evaluators would review material that would be the equivalent of a one-time face-to-face classroom visit. Because online courses have unique criteria and methods, an unofficial attachment could be included with online-specific recommendations. The attachment is optional and would be for the instructor s reference only, and would not be included as part of the official review process. Student Evaluations A low response rate is common in online course evaluation. It is recommended that faculty encourage their students to complete the online course evaluation form during the evaluation period. A low response rate is detrimental to the instructor because the evaluation summary does not provide a statistically reliable measurement. Considerations for RTP and PTR Online and face-to-face courses are considered equivalent teaching responsibilities; the only distinguishing feature is the delivery method. Assessment and contribution to teaching course load and activities are comparably weighted and considered, whether online or face-to-face. Intellectual Property Issues Metro State has a documented Intellectual Property Policy. Faculty groups are developing recommendations for changes to the policy for how the College will work with faculty members concerning the ownership of intellectual property. Summary of Chair Duties Department chairs provide the primary oversight for online courses in their department. The list below includes a summary of chair duties. The Director of Online Learning and ETC are available to assist chairs when issues arise. Ensure all online instructors have completed orientation Ensure online courses are assigned instructors by the due date Ensure online courses are prepared for the start of the term Ensure online instructors are active in their course Review reports from the online review committee Work with faculty members to improve online courses Enlist subject matter experts to review online content We recommend that departments establish committees to improve online courses, develop multisection master content, and create strategic plans for new online certificates and degree programs.

11 Training Opportunities Many opportunities for training are available to faculty members including: One-on-one training and assistance through the ETC Open Lab program Video tutorials Self-paced online training in the orientation and certification programs Live workshops in the ETC Lab The following programs are available to all faculty members. Administrators and support staff are also welcome to inquire about specific training opportunities. Blackboard Vista for On-Campus Courses The course management system is available for all sections, residential and online. Faculty who plan to use Blackboard Vista in their residential course and have not taught online or completed the Blackboard Vista Orientation are strongly encouraged to view the online tutorial. An online video tutorial is available for all instructors. This is the starting point for faculty without previous experience with Blackboard Vista. The 25-minute tutorial introduces the basic functions that instructors should incorporate into their residential courses. The video can be accessed at The tutorial introduces the following functions: Syllabus File sharing Announcements Calendar Mail Discussions Web Links Grade Book Online Faculty Orientation All Metro State faculty, including tenured/tenure track, full-time, and part-time, have access to the training materials and programs for Blackboard Vista. The implementation of Blackboard Vista is an opportunity for all faculty members to improve their online courses by adding new online features after increasing their understanding of the technology tools. In addition to the technology tools, the training also focuses on online course pedagogy. The training program begins with Blackboard Vista Orientation. The orientation provides an overview of the basic tools available in Vista and helps faculty to become familiar with the look and feel of the system. Blackboard Vista is an upgrade from the previous version WebCT CE; many of the features will be familiar but there are improvements that will be introduced through the orientation. All instructors teaching online or hybrid courses must complete Online Faculty Orientation before they teach an online or hybrid course. The Director of Online Learning will contact faculty, chairs, and deans to inform of faculty who have been assigned to teach an online or hybrid course but have not yet completed the orientation. Instructors who have not completed the orientation within seven days of the start of the course must be replaced with an instructor who has completed the orientation. Opportunities to complete the orientation are offered continually throughout the year.

12 All faculty members, regardless of whether they are teaching online, are welcome to complete the orientation. Blackboard Vista Orientation is presented in a self-paced online course. Faculty will be able to access the orientation, work through the material, and implement what they have learned in a practice course. The time to complete the orientation varies with level of experience; most experienced faculty can complete the orientation in less than four hours. Instructors will receive a paper certificate following completion of the orientation to add to their records. To register for the orientation, please contact Educational Technology Center at or complete the service request form found at and request to be enrolled in the Orientation course. After registration, you will receive instructions for accessing the Orientation. Online Faculty Certification Faculty members who have completed the Blackboard Vista Orientation can begin the Online Faculty Certification Program. All faculty members are encouraged to complete the certification program and experience the benefits of a thorough understanding of the online teaching and learning processes. The format of the certification courses is similar to the orientation course. The course descriptions are below. Course 1: Designing Your Course In this workshop, you are introduced to the design skills necessary to create effective, engaging online courses. Through interactive tutorials, structured activities, examples, and discussions, you gain experience with key design tools and features as well as complete some preliminary planning for your actual course. A variety of tools are used to build and organize your practice course. This workshop focuses on the designer role; teaching and management tasks are not covered. Module 1: Basic Course Design - Explore the interface and learn to add tools and create content items. Module 2: Your Course Home Page - Add files, content items, and folders to the Home Page. Module 3: Creating and Presenting Content - Discover how to set course goals, present content through learning modules and media library collections, and use File Manager to manage your course files. Module 4: Going Further - Modify the look of your course, and customize content delivery with Selective Release. Estimated time to complete 8 hours Course 2: Assessments and Assignments Through hands-on activities, applied exercises, and group projects, workshop participants will learn to create and manage a variety of assessments and assignments that are appropriate for their course. Module 1: Creating Groups and Grading Forms - Explore options for creating groups and group activities, and learn how to create grading forms or rubrics. Module 2: Creating Assignments - Discover how to create a variety of individual and group assignments to meet your instructional goals.

13 Module 3: Managing Assignments - Learn how to grade and publish assignments from the Assignment Dropbox. Module 4: Creating Assessments - Learn how to create surveys, self-tests, and quizzes that include a variety of question types. Module 5: Managing Assessments - Explore how to view, grade, and run reports on assessments using Assessment Manager. Estimated time to complete 8 hours Course 3: The Art of elearning The Art of elearning is a multidimensional program designed to help enhance your online teaching skills. In many ways, what you learn and how you benefit from this program is up to you; you will be able to tailor your learning experience by selecting the discussions and assignments that are most relevant to you personally. We encourage you to maximize this learning opportunity by identifying the areas where you would most like to grow as an online instructor. This workshop does not focus on technological skills, but instead focuses on the instructional and pedagogical knowledge essential for online teaching success. Module 1: Foundations for Success - Examine the art of teaching online and key building blocks for success. Module 2: Preparing for a Great Start - Discover how to welcome and orient students to the online environment. Module 3: Interacting with Students - Explore strategies for strengthening communication in your course and enriching students online interactions. Module 4: Engaging Students in Learning - Find new ways to engage students with content to maximize learning and student success. Estimated time to complete 8 hours To register for the certification courses, please contact ETC or complete the service form found at After registration, you will receive instructions for accessing the certification courses. Instructors will receive certificates following completion of each course and a final certificate that documents their completion of the certification program. Instructors also receive an ipod upon completion of the certification program to provide them with an additional instructional tool for their online course. Blackboard Vista Print Materials Blackboard Vista print materials are available for those who would like a guide. Please submit a request for the materials at Training Workshops Face to face training workshops are conducted throughout the year in association with the Center for Faculty Development. These workshops cover the materials from the Orientation and special topics of

14 interest to faculty teaching online. Faculty are encouraged to submit proposals for training workshops. The workshop schedule is available online at Topics include but are not limited to: ADA Standards Interaction with and between students Multimedia Podcasting Online Course Standards Online and hybrid courses have unique pedagogy and delivery methods but learning objectives and outcomes are equivalent to residential courses. Students taking online courses must have an equitable learning experience to those taking residential courses. Most online courses are developed by instructors who have experience teaching the course on campus. Prior experience teaching the course on campus provides an advantage because the instructor understands content delivery and additional learning elements used to instruct the course. The challenge is to transition the content and learning elements into the online environment. For example, if a guest speaker is invited into your on-campus class then the guest speaker could be invited into your online class to participate in discussions or a video of the guest speaker could be added to your online class. Residential/Online Comparative Analysis A Residential/Online Comparative Analysis should be conducted to ensure that online courses include comparable learning activities available in the same residential course. An analysis spreadsheet is available at The analysis solicits questions about your residential course related to the amount of time spent on various learning activities. The data is then analyzed for application to online courses. Typically, instructors will need to consider how the following elements of residential courses will be conducted in the online course: Assessments Lectures Instructor content and experience Discussions Media/video Guest speakers Team assignments and work time Student presentations Assessments including multiple choice, short answer, and essay exams can be completed online. Exams can be proctored at the Testing Center or with distance proctor arrangements. If students are required to use the Testing Center for examinations, the course must be designated as hybrid. Lectures and instructor content can be delivered through written summaries, PowerPoint slide sets, narrated slide sets, audio files, podcasts, and online video. Note: Because of the resource limitations and overall effectiveness issues, residential class sessions should be audio-recorded and video recordings

15 limited to guest speakers and special topics. Discussions are at the core of online interactivity. Well-crafted discussion questions will generate significant learning experiences for the students. Please review the best practices for discussions document in the appendix. Team assignments can be managed in the course management system. Team communication resources including discussion boards and chat rooms are available. Student presentations are typically submitted by video. Students can send instructors video recordings on hard media or upload video files using third party applications. Content Standards If online courses are to provide an equitable learning experience compared to residential courses, online instructors must provide significant online content. Rarely do residential courses focus solely on textbook content; the same is true for online courses. The instructor explains the content and makes it applicable to students through their practical experience and subject matter expertise. The enrichment process must come through in online courses in a way that facilitates a high quality learning experience for students. Interaction Standards Residential courses typically involve a high level of interaction between instructors and students through questioning and discussions. The instructor presents material and students have an opportunity to respond with questions and discuss the material to ensure understanding in the rich, face-to-face environment. The challenge for online courses is to facilitate most of the interaction through written communication. This can be accomplished through frequent discussions. Instructors can also implement student journaling which facilitates evaluation of understanding of the content. A significant aspect of interaction is facilitated by frequent visits to the online course by the instructor. Much of the student interaction occurs through s or discussion postings directed to the instructor. In an online course, you are not teaching a class of 25 students, it s more like instructing 25 individuals located throughout the Denver Metro Area and sometimes across the globe. Students expect quick responses to their questions and concerns. Instructors can manage student expectations by posting and adhering to response guidelines. At Metro State, online instructors must commit to responding to student s and questions within 48 hours, not including weekends and holidays. The course communication policies included in this document can be used to set the guidelines for your course. Online Course Review Process To assess the development of quality, online and hybrid courses, the Online Course Review Committee oversees an ongoing improvement process to ensure all courses utilize the consistent navigational structure and style guidelines as set forth by the College. The review process is intended to recognize high-quality courses and support faculty in improving online courses. Aggregate data will be used to facilitate the College s ongoing online degree accreditation activities. The course review process is not associated with the annual evaluation, promotion, or tenure of faculty. However, individual faculty members may choose to use the assessment artifacts in self-evaluations to demonstrate their commitment to improving their teaching. Course Review Process The online course review process begins with the Online Course Development - Design Checklist, developed by the Online Course Review Committee as a tool to guide self-improvement and effective course review. Faculty members or department chairs can initiate the course review process. As the reviews progress, department chairs and deans will be provided with a list of courses, which have and

16 have not been reviewed. The Online Course Development - Design Checklist is available in the appendix of this document resides at The systematic review process involves the following steps: Self-review of online course, using the Online Course Development - Design Checklist Identify areas for improvement Implement those improvements Faculty requests outside review from Online Course Review Committee Online Review Committee identifies a design reviewer and department identifies a Subject Matter Expert (SME) reviewer Reviewers are provided temporary access to course by the course instructor Reviews are discussed with faculty members and an improvement plan improvements are implemented and final self-report is submitted to Online Review Committee Course Review Training Opportunities Online Course Self-review Workshop This 75 minute hands-on workshop will show faculty how to conduct a self-review of their online course, using the Online Course Development - Design Checklist. The checklist provides a best-practices inventory for online courses, as well as ideas and resources for course improvement. Online Course Design-review Workshop for faculty, department chairs, administrators, and support personnel (required for official reviewer designation) 2 hour workshop Online Course Subject Matter-review Workshop using the Online Course Development - Content Checklist 50 minute workshop (also available in video format) Online Course Curriculum Guidelines Approval Process for Online and Hybrid Designation Designation of online or hybrid courses is added to the course official syllabus. Courses must be approved to be offered online and hybrid. The approval process involves review by department, school, and faculty senate curriculum committees, and Academic Affairs. Faculty Support Resources Educational Technology Center (ETC) is committed to supporting Metro State faculty and empowering them to improve the quality of instruction through technology, content implementation, training, course design consultation, and support. Please use the ETC Service Request Form at: ETC offers variety of services to assist you with course design and development needs. Below is a short list of key areas of support: ETC Open Labs Visit our walk-in open lab, designed with your convenience in mind, for those quick how to questions, tips and tricks, and friendly help. Open labs provide a time and place for faculty to work on course

17 material with the assistance of ETC staff or colleagues. These labs are not intended to replace training or scheduled appointments with ETC staff. If you wish to get individual attention with video production assistance, training, or extensive assistance with course content development or instructional design and development, we recommend filling out the ETC Service Request Form to schedule a one-on-one appointment with our staff. The appropriate staff will contact you to setup a meeting to discuss and clarify the scope of your needs. A complete open lab is schedule is available at: ETC/. ETC Online Course Design ETC assists faculty with the design, development and delivery of instructional materials. We combine technology resources and expert consultation to help faculty create quality online, hybrid, and blended courses. Upon request (use ETC Service Request Form) our experienced course designers are available for a Blackboard/Vista design consultation. Consultations may be brief and conducted by phone, or may be extended, taking place over the course of a few months or a semester. Additionally, we offer teaching and learning tips and tricks, best practices, as well as templates, icons, and headers. These resources were created by ETC and are for you to freely use in your courses. Please note: as the subject matter experts (SME), faculty members are responsible for all content related to the course. Course content includes all course materials (lecture notes, learning materials, assignments, assessments, discussions, relevant links, etc). Media Production ETC offers state-of-the-art classroom and multimedia recording, editing, compressing, and digitizing services for high-end video production. We use the latest and the greatest software programs in the market, to produce accessible and high-quality online audio and video. We can also take your learning material and develop commercial-quality interactive applications to enhance your instruction and help your students reach learning goals and performance objectives. Media production requires extensive development time and involves additional scheduling with our team. Please fill out the ETC Service Request Form to schedule your project, to learn about best practices, and to discuss ADA guidelines. Media and video applications Include: Animation Interactive applications Games, simulations Presentations with audio/video Streaming video Tutorials Custom photography Portraits Video/audio intro, module overviews Taping guest lectures Documentaries Dates for Course Design Deadline dates are established to ensure the ETC team has appropriate time and resources to accommodate your request for assistance. Please schedule a planning meeting with a course developer at least two weeks prior to the deadlines to ensure the completion of your request. You will need time to gather your material before the technical work can begin. Requests are handled on a first-come, first-

18 served basis. To schedule a meeting with a course developer, please complete the ETC Service Request form at New Course or Course Redesign Eight weeks prior to start of term All content must be developed and delivered to us no later than eight weeks prior to the start of term. Content delivered after that date is not guaranteed to be ready for the new semester. Media and interactive applications require time to produce and schedule. All requests for media in a new course must be submitted eight weeks prior to the start of term. The appropriate staff will contact you to setup a follow-up meeting to discuss and clarify the scope of your needs. Major Modification Six weeks prior to start of term Outline of the changes and updates must be submitted electronically no later than six weeks before the start of term. Content delivered after that date is not guaranteed to be ready for the new semester. Major modifications include: major text revisions, structural/architectural changes, file or organization changes, changes to media (video/audio material), and changes to animation/interactive applications. Minor Editing Four weeks prior to start of term. Please provide an outline of the changes and updates electronically no later than four weeks prior to the start of the semester. Content delivered after that date is not guaranteed to be ready for the new semester. Minor modifications include: changing dates and minor text changes or updates (no extensive changes or additions). Also, we welcome you to drop by any of our open lab sessions for assistance. The schedule is available online at: Dates for Media Development ETC can assure most audio and video projects will be ready for the desired term if they are received six weeks prior to the start of the term. Audio and/or video projects received after the deadline will be accepted, but not guaranteed to be ready for the first week of the semester. Audio and video projects must be accompanied with text for ADA compliance. Please fill out the ETC Service Request form to schedule your project and to discuss ADA guidelines. ETC Lab Resources The Educational Technology Center lab is located in CN 220A. It is a state-of-the-art lab designed specifically for instructional technology. The following resources are available for use by faculty. It is equipped with 12 Computer stations, Smart Board, and additional development equipment. Auraria Campus wireless internet is available for laptop use as well. This lab is used to conduct faculty workshops and Open Labs. Departments and/or individual faculty members can reserve the ETC lab, free of charge, to host faculty related trainings or workshops. Please contact Educational Technology Center at to reserve the lab. For up-to-date information regarding software and hardware availability in the ETC Lab, please visit us at: Technical Support from IT For Faculty For assistance with the design and development of your online course, contact the Office of Educational

19 Technology Center at There may be times when you need technical assistance because your network connection, your computer, or your browser is not working correctly with the course management system. For 24/7/365 year customer service and support contact the IT Help Desk via phone, web, live chat and Knowledge Base. Please use the following numbers and links to access the IT Help Desk: From off-campus or a cell phone dial: AskIT ( ) From a campus phone dial: Ext (AskIT) To contact the IT Help Desk via the web, go to: To contact the IT Help Desk for live chat, go to: To search the Knowledge Base, go to: For your convenience, Information Technology offers a walk-in service center located in West Classroom (WC) 241. Drop by to get any personal technical assistance. The hours of operation are Monday Friday, 8 a.m. 5 p.m. Design and Development Assistance: The Department of Educational Technology Center is available to assist with online course design and development. For assistance, please complete the Educational Technology Center Service Request form at or contact the ETC Office at For Students All online students should contact the IT Help Desk for technical assistance with their online course. For 24/7/365 customer service and support contact the IT Help Desk via phone, web, live chat and Knowledge Base. Please use the following numbers and links to access the IT Help Desk: From off-campus or a cell phone dial: AskIT ( ) From a campus phone dial: Ext (AskIT) To contact the IT Help Desk via the web, go to: To contact the IT Help Desk for live chat, go to: To search the Knowledge Base, go to: Online Course Administrative Procedures Dates for Online Courses Faculty Assignments Faculty Assignment and Cross-Listing of courses in Banner are completed by the following deadlines: Spring Term 3 rd Monday in September Summer Term 4 th Monday in February Fall Term 4 th Monday in March Section Availability The Course shell for each section will be available for faculty use (for courses assigned to a Faculty member in Banner) by the following deadlines: Spring Term 4 th Monday in September Summer Term 1 st Monday in March Fall Term 5th Monday in March

20 Course End Date For the Fall/Spring Semesters Student access is from the term start date until one day after the grade submission deadline (established by the Registrar s office). For Part of Term Courses in Fall/Spring Semesters Student access is from the term start date until the day the course ends. Contact the ETC for adjustments to the end date. For the Summer Semester Student access is established by the Banner Section dates for each course. Semester-to-Semester Process Blackboard Vista is integrated with Banner and automatically generates a section as soon as your course is entered in Banner by your department or the Registrar s Office. The courses you are assigned to teach will appear in your course list as soon as the term becomes available to you (based on the schedule outlined in the Dates for Online Courses section of this document. Copying content from a current course to the upcoming semester is done quickly by each instructor. Instructors may login to MetroConnect, go to MY COURSES tab, select the appropriate semester, and begin preparing your class, provided your department has assigned you to the class in Banner. Please choose the best time to copy material to your course. We recommend copying material to appropriate semester after you have added all significant content to your current class. If you have more than one section, we recommend that you copy material to one master section, update that section, and then copy the updated section into the additional sections. To copy content from a previous semester section to your new semester section, please review the video or review a printable version at Please check the class schedule for the exact begin and end dates for your class: enroll/registrar/ Start-of-Semester Checklist: (preparing your course) Create your new course Announcements. Check if headers or footers on Course Content (Homepage) need updates. Check if the Welcome/Start Here page needs any modifications. Update as necessary. Check if any Syllabus updates are needed. Edit as needed. Verify Your Instructor/Professor page. Update as necessary. Update the course Calendar or Schedule page. Adjust the dues dates as necessary. Note: if you are using corresponding calendar events for assignments and assessment the dates will be automatically changed when you update assignment or assessment properties or from Date Rollover feature. Update all the start, end dates and release criteria for assignments, assessments, and Learning Modules as needed. If you use external Web links check to see if the links still work and are current. Check all your multi-media components (audio, video, and interactive application) to ensure they are functioning properly. If using Threaded Discussion, post your initial message in each of the topics. End-of-Semester Checklist Course Backups Educational Technology Center automatically creates backup files following the semester grade submission deadline. If you need access to a backup file, please contact Educational Technology Center

21 or submit a request. Instructors can also use Course Tools to backup course content and download the file to a personal computer. Instructors should review files using the file manager, and delete backups, assignment files, and compressed files that are no longer needed. Online Course Incomplete Procedure Online students who receive an incomplete in an online or hybrid course must complete the course directly with the faculty member. Incomplete students will not be enrolled as a student in the next semester s online course and their access to their semester s online resources will not be extended past the end of the semester. Instructors can to add incomplete students with auditor roles to the next semester s online course. Additional Participants in Online Courses Requests to add course designers to specific sections will be handled by the ETC. A request form is available at The signed request must be submitted by the department chair or dean. Requests to add administrators or additional faculty members to online or hybrid sections for the purpose of course monitoring will be handled by the section instructor using the teaching assistant or auditor tools. Requests to add administrators or faculty members to a course for peer review purposes will be handled by the section instructor. Reviewers can be added to the course as auditors. The section instructor should un-enroll the reviewer when the activity is completed. Requests to provide guest accounts for online courses for the purpose of outside review or guest discussant are provided upon submission of the online guest account form. A guest username and temporary password will be provided to the instructor and the instructor is responsible for enrolling and un-enrolling the guest to the section as an auditor. Use of Publisher-Provided Content and Resources E-packs, also known as Publisher Courses, Course Packs, and Web Courselets are course materials developed and formatted by a publisher for your Blackboard Vista course. The course material should complement the existing course text rather than replace it altogether. These materials can include lecture notes, quiz and test banks, glossaries, sample syllabi, and even video animations. Instructions for installing e-packs are provided by the various publishers. Therefore, please contact the publishers directly with requests. PLEASE NOTE: all publishers content must meet the requirements set forth in Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act to be used at Metropolitan State College of Denver. ADA Policies and Procedures Inherent to the purpose of online education is equal access to online content by all persons. From an even broader perspective, the evolution of the Internet has been built upon the ideal of leveling the information access playing field for all persons. Since the Web s inception, concerned designers have worked to develop techniques and guidelines to make their pages accessible to a wide range of viewers. There can be gaps in content accessibility between those with sight, vision, hearing, learning disabilities and mobility impediments and those without such impediments. The gap between these two is closing, due to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 which requires that electronic and information technology is accessible to persons with disabilities. Additional information is available at:

22 The office of Educational Technology Center can also assist in developing courses that meet the ADA requirements for accessibility. Metro State does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability in admission or access to, or treatment in, its educational programs or activities. There are certain laws regarding accessibility that are applicable to your course content that aid users with disabilities. It is important to be aware of the law and to familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines so that you can plan ahead. is an excellent resource which may help answer many of your accessibility questions. Official section 508 accessibility Web site rules and regulations can be found at gov/ Procedures for System Outages Generally the Blackboard Vista system is running 24/7 with the exception of 12am-8am each Sunday for scheduled maintenance. Non-critical upgrades and power link installations would be installed during that time. Both Metro State and Blackboard Inc. have proactive monitoring of the Blackboard Vista System and are notified of outages. When an outage occurs, Metro State System administrators notify Blackboard to resolve the issue. Please encourage your students to contact the Helpdesk when they experience any issues with the Blackboard Vista system. For extended outages over one hour, an announcement will be sent to all faculty and posted in Blackboard Vista. Upgrades will be scheduled in advance and notification will be sent to all faculty via . Online Course Style Guide External reviewers of Metro State s online program have noted that students can benefit by increased consistency between online courses. It is challenging for students to manage courses with significant differences between styles and navigational structure. Metro State has established a style guide and templates that facilitate increased consistency between courses. All online and hybrid courses must implement the style guide by spring of Templates The advantages of using templates developed by ETC benefit instructors and students. Templates provide consistency in the way courses are developed, designed, organized, and implemented. Consistency is crucial to students in that they do not have to invest time discovering how your course is organized or how to navigate through your content and can focus on learning the subject matter. Templates give faculty the flexibility needed to edit and customize the course. Templates provide: Standard school branding, icon sets and basic look and feel for your course. Standard course navigation and structure. Standard set of technical support links and browser plug-in information or policy documents. Implementing the template reduces the time needed to set up your course. It can make your course building and file management much more efficient, while enhancing usability of your content. Template Descriptions Three templates are available, which can be used as the starting point for developing your courses. Current templates are similar in structure, but each contains a different set of icons and header graphic. The template files provide basic elements including tips for customization (see Instructor Resources folder for specific guidelines on customizing a template when applied to your course). These templates have been successfully applied by ETC to many online/hybrid courses in a variety of disciplines. All template elements are customizable, with the ability to delete or replace any unwanted items.

23 Each template contains following basic items: Course Content (Homepage) 1. Course introduction/start here page 2. Your Instructor 3. Prepare Your Computer 4. Technical Support Course Tools 1. Announcements 2. Syllabus 3. Calendar 4. Learning Modules 5. Assignments 6. Assessments 7. Mail 8. Discussions 9. Chat 10. Search 11. Roster 12. Web Links Below is a graphical representation of the course layout:

24 Template Set 1 This template is intended as a basic structure and implements a graphic look. It provides access to basic resources and tools. Templates also include support and guidance for you in the best ways of using the template. Template Set 2 This template provides a basic structure which presents a sophisticated look. The icon sets are available in Metro blue and red. It also provides access to basic resources and tools to provide support and guidance for you in the best ways of utilizing the template.

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