Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology. Policies, Procedures and Best Practices for the Development and Teaching of Online Courses

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1 Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology Policies, Procedures and Best Practices for the Development and Teaching of Online Courses updated November 2010

2 The Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (DLiT) and the Distributed Education Council (DEC) of Andrews University has prepared these policies, procedures, and best practices to assist faculty, deans, and department chairs in the development, preparation, approval and teaching of online courses. 2 P age

3 Table of Contents I. Online Course Policy..4 II. III. IV. Standards..5 Expectations..7 Course Features..8 V. Tools..10 VI. Approval Process...11 VII. Deadlines...12 VIII. Best Practices.13 IX. Recommended Resources.16 X. Appendix P age

4 I. Online Course Policy All online courses will meet the standards described in the Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (DLiT) Guidelines for online courses. They must be endorsed for adherence to online course standards by the appropriate DLiT entity, and approved by the faculty member s department chair and dean. 4 P age

5 II. Standards 1. Development Plan provides the teacher with a well thought out plan of action for the development of a successful online course. Evidences that an online teacher has a development plan Reads Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever, Meets with DLiT to discuss ways of delivering an online course Researches ways in which others have developed similar content online courses Shows a commitment to the course and to the students Develops a method for efficient interaction Has meetings with a mentor/coach Researches what makes online learning/teaching unique or distinctive Develops an assessment plan Develops a plan for integrating faith and learning 2. Technology Plan gives the teacher an opportunity to explore the technology available for delivering online learning opportunities. Evidences that an online teacher has a technology plan Researches what technology is available Plans the technology that will be used to deliver the course Meets with Library for training to ensure that the course has the needed components for effective library usage. For an appointment contact: 3. Communication Plan demonstrates the communication practices that are hoped for in an online course. Evidences that an online teacher has a communication plan Is reachable (state specific times to respond; hours) 5 P age

6 Has stated virtual office hours Have an emergency contact person Have clearly defined expectations Provides clear and concise directions Provides instructions in advance to access course preliminary content Is open and willing to clarify any needed components of the course Is sensitive to how you talk online Is aware of and open to cultural challenges 4. Implementation Plan provides the teacher with a course of action to make the online course successful during the length of the course. Evidences that an online teacher has an implementation plan Provides ways of building community between teacher/student and student/student Uses various methods for discussion Provides opportunity for reflection Sets time for visual connection between students and teachers Address sensitive issues discreetly Provides ways for the integration of Faith and Learning 5. Review Plan allows for feedback, assessment, and research of the online learning experience. Evidences that an online teacher has a review plan Includes student feedback on teaching in each course Meets with DLiT to review technology performance during the semester Sets up a review to evaluate the success of the course before the course is taught again Keeps data for future research and assessment 6 P age

7 III. Expectations 1. Teachers Have approval from the department Read and implement the standards Have an established online learning experience or have taken the vassembly course Be open and willing to utilize new teaching and learning environments Be familiar with the Library resources and services for distance education students Follow the approval process Utilize the services provided by DLiT Become aware of and know how to access technology support for themselves and their students Do a self-evaluation of the course Sign the appraisal form 2. Department Chairs Review the course with the instructor Review the content with the instructor Contact the dean for approval to teach an online course Sign the appraisal form 3. Deans Make sure the course is approved for online teaching Sign the appraisal from 7 P age

8 IV. Course Features 1. Content Area Post course materials, documents and assignments by the first week Use a consistent template for the course materials Organize into weeks or units Make items clear and concise 2. Discussion Boards Provide a discussion area Include a rubric on how the discussions will be graded Instructor will be the moderator/facilitator 3. Quizzes/Exams Optional for each course, depending on the course requirements May be proctored and/or use Respondus Lockdown Browser (software that lockdowns the computer so the student cannot have access to other files, etc on the computer). 4. Learning Techniques Provide a number of different learning environments Use lectures via video or audio 5. Feedback Provide timely feedback to assignments, no longer than two days between initial contact and response 6. Course Delivery Design courses to be asynchronous Provide time for on-line meeting use Adobe Connect or other web conferencing software 7. Faculty Evaluation Provide Student Opinion of Teaching form at the end of each course 8. Student Privacy Implement a method of preserving students privacy and confidentiality 8 P age

9 9. Internet Etiquette Provide instructions on Internet Etiquette Monitor discussions to make sure that all etiquette standards are followed. 10. Copyright Adhere to standard fair use copyright guidelines. Copyright information is found at the Copyright Center Website 11. Technology Have back-ups and plans in case there are glitches in the technology 12. Simplicity and Specificity Keep content specific to the course, do not add links or other information that you do not plan on using 13. Grades Keep an online gradebook Keep grade book updated Adapted from Alabama State University Distance Education: A System of Best Practices and Policies for Development and Teaching of an Online Course, [Online] Available: _04.pdf [February 4, 2009]. 9 P age

10 V. Tools 1. Desire2Learn Learning Management System that allows the teacher to manage the course and all materials in one location 2. YouTube/TeacherTube online site for storing and sharing video lectures 3. Camtasia software to make lectures 4. Webpage page for students to access content for the class. Not necessary if D2L is being used 5. Adobe Acrobat Connect video/audio conferencing software that allows the teacher to have a real-time class 6. Blogs place for the students and teacher to have discussions 7. Wikis place for students and teacher to post documents that can be shared 8. Podcasting posting of recorded lectures online 9. way to communicate between the students and teacher 10. LiveText an eportfolio software that allows students to share their work with anyone they choose Training on any of the above tools is available through the Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology. 10 P age

11 VI. Approval Process 1. Teacher gets appraisal form from the DLiT 2. Teacher completes the appraisal and submits it to the department chair for signature to verify the content and the depth of the topic is covered 3. Teacher returns the completed and approved self-appraisal form to the DLiT 4. DLiT present the online course to the DEC sub-committee for review 5. DLiT will get back with the teacher to convey required changes 6. Teacher will implement changes and report back to the DLiT 7. DLiT will send approval letter to the teacher, the appropriate department chair, and dean 8. The department chair signature for approval of the course 9. The School Dean s signature for approval of the course 10. The School Dean s office notifies the Registrar s Office of the new online course 11 P age

12 VII. Deadlines Fall Semester Courses must be approved by June 1. Spring Semester Courses must be approved by October 1. Summer Semester Course must be approved by March P age

13 VIII. Best Practices 1. Develop a course roadmap This will help you identify the essential components for your course. Key questions for developing course roadmap What elements of this course are well suited for the internet? Is there a need for additional multimedia materials (video, audio, etc.)? Who s my audience? Keep in mind that when it comes to the Internet, students come with a variety of experiences and levels of technological understanding. How will students connect to the Internet? This greatly influences the speed at which students can download pages or video clips. Should I use scheduled events (e.g. chat) that may be influenced by time zone differences? Do I have a well developed plan for the Integration of Faith and Learning? Adapted from Educational Technologies at Missouri, [Online] Available: [February 4, 2009]. 2. Develop an online syllabus Syllabus must comply with the university/school/department standards Instructor s contact information must be clearly stated name, telephone number, address, and office location. Syllabus must include the following: o Orientation to Distance Learning, o Clearly stated expectations including due dates, o A link to the Andrews Library o Objectives that match the class, department, school, and university missions 13 P age

14 3. Develop the look/feel of the course This is to help you keep the course visually appealing and acceptable. Key questions for creating the look/feel Is the page layout easy to follow? Develop the course into units or weeks. How many fonts are being used? Use no more than two. What is the color scheme that is being used? Too much color will cause confusion. It is important not to use many colors as this will distract from the message that is being sent. Does the course have a visually appealing news items and content area? Is the course free of spelling and grammatical errors? 4. Develop a plan for survival - This will help you get your class started and moving efficiently. Key Tips Post a welcome to the class and let the students get to know you. A video welcome is the best Get assignments and grade book completed Test the function that you plan on using to make sure that all the students are able to communicate with you Keep active in the class. Especially as the class begins, you need to post and respond to students Set aside certain times for responding to the students Create online office hours and stick to them Post to the group or give a general response to the class as a whole, instead of each student s post Model the behavior you expect from your students Post final grade as soon as possible Adapted from Educational Technologies at Missouri, [Online] Available: [February 4, 2009]. 14 P age

15 5. Create a community with learners Have students post introductions about themselves in the discussion area. Allow time for students to reflect on their own learning. 15 P age

16 IX. Recommended Resources Web Adventist Virtual Learning Network. Available: [May 19, 2009] Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (May 5, 2009). Available: [May 19, 2009]. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (March 3, 2009). Available: [May ]. Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching. Available: [May 19, 2009]. Ryder, Martin. Instructional Design Models (April 5,2009). Available: [May 19, 2009]. The TLT Group. Available: [May 19, 2009]. University of Findlay, Teaching, Learning and Technology Center. Available: y.htm May 19, 2009] University of Missouri Teaching and Learning with Technology. Available: [May 19, 2009]. 16 P age

17 Books Bender, T. (2003). Discussion-based online teaching to enhance student learning: theory, practice, and assessment. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. Smith, R. (2008). Conquering the content: a step-by-step guide to online course design. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Palloff, R.M., & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: the realities of online teaching. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. White, K.W., & Weight, B. H. (Eds.). (2000). The online teaching guide: a handbook of attitudes, strategies, and techniques for the virtual classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 17 P age

18 X. Appendix 1. Sample appraisal form 2. Sample approval letter 18 P age

19 COURSE INFORMATION CENTER FOR DISTANCE LEARNING AND INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY Online Course Appraisal Form Course Acronym and Number: Semester Credits: Course Name: Course Author(s): Department Sponsoring Course: depth and content (Department Chair Signature) verifies that this course meets our academic standards of COURSE EVALUATION Quality Standard Lack of Evidence Based on our observations Substantial Evidence of Excellence Integration of faith & learning Not integrated Highly Integrated Focus on high order thinking processes Interaction among students Lower order Higher order No interaction Highly interactive Interaction between student and professor No interaction Highly interactive Student reflection No student reflection Highly reflective Stimulating learning experience Not stimulating Highly stimulating 19 P age

20 Provides for individual differences No differentiation Highly individualized Refined communication plan Not well defined Very well defined Assessment opportunities None planned for Well planned assessment Course is user friendly Not user friendly Very user friendly Date of Self Assessment: Please write an explanation for how any of the areas will be covered if it is planned but not yet visible in the course: Changes Required Before Approval:. General Feedback: Adapted from the Adventist Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) Course Appraisal Form (Department Chair Signature) verifies that this course meets our academic standards (Dean s Signature) verifies that this course meets all of the college/school requirements DLiT Office Use Only Date Applied: Date Sent for Changes: Date of Re-Submission: Date of Approval: Evaluation Team Members: 20 P age

21 Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (date) Dear (teacher): Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that (name of course) has met and passed all of the requirements and evaluations for the online format. We would like to post this course on the Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology website (DLiT) at We would like to advertise the availability of this course and give others a chance to enroll. This would give the course additional exposure. To have the course posted we would, need a minimum, four weeks notice before the beginning of the course. Again, I thank you for your willingness to assist with the growing of Andrews University in this area. If at any time you have questions please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at or Sincerely, Marsha Beal Director, DLiT Cc: (academic dean & department chair) 21 P age

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