Faculty Handbook for Online Instruction

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1 Faculty Handbook for Online Instruction Effective Fall 2011 Updated 1/2013

2 Preface The Handbook for Online Instruction has been created to provide faculty of online courses new and experienced, full-time and adjunct with a ready-reference manual to Fletcher s policies and procedures regarding online instruction. This handbook does not replace the Faculty Handbook, which is intended for all instructors; rather, it provides information specific to or especially important to online instruction. Please submit suggestions for corrections, modifications, or additions to this handbook to the Distance Education Coordinator for review. All suggestions will be presented to the Distance Education Committee for approval. Updates will be revised and published as needed. 1

3 Overview By offering distance education courses, Fletcher is able to provide academic instruction for those students seeking credits but who are unable to attend courses in a traditional classroom setting; therefore, the adaptation of existing courses into a distance learning format is strongly encouraged. Distance learning at Fletcher is guided by the College s mission statement and strategic goals. The mission of Fletcher is to offer quality technical and academic programs. Distance learning helps Fletcher achieve the following four strategic goals: Enhance student access and success Expand educational programs and services Expand technology and opportunities for electronic learning Enhance fiscal and physical resources. Academic quality in Fletcher s distance learning courses is ensured in the following ways: Distance Education Coordinator provides organizational support and trains online distance learning faculty Distance Education Committee gives input on distance learning issues, procedures, and standards Faculty Develops, modifies, and/or reviews class materials, provides timely feedback on student work, participates in training and professional development related to distance learning Institutional Research and Effectiveness monitors student performance outcomes in distance learning classes (as compared with the same classes taught in the traditional format) Distance Education The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges defines distance education as the formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may use the Internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; audio conferencing; or video cassettes, DVD s, and CD-ROMs if used as part of the distance learning program. 2

4 Distance Learning Terminology Face-to-face (traditional): 0 percent online instruction. Web Facilitated: 1 to 29 percent online instruction; a course that uses web-based technology to facilitate instruction. Hybrid: 30 to 79 percent online instruction; course that combines online and face-to-face instruction; course has a portion of instruction delivered online with a reduced number of face-to-face meetings. o Maximum course enrollment is the same as the face-to face course. Online: 80 percent and above; course where the majority of the instruction is delivered online. o In order to achieve effective teaching and learning, it is recommended that an online course does not exceed a maximum number of 25 students. 1. All online courses will be evaluated using LCTCS guidelines by the department head, division chair, and E-Learning Coordinator to determine their effectiveness. 2. At the end of the semester, students will complete a course evaluation and faculty evaluation survey in all online courses. Course Management System (CMS) Effective Spring 2011, Fletcher uses Joule, a Moodlerooms product, as its course management system. Instructors are able to post announcements, assignments, discussion forums, etc. as methods of instruction within the course. Students receive grades and individual feedback on assignments through the Joule environment. 3

5 Academic Guidelines Requesting Approval to Teach an Online/Hybrid Course In order to ensure the integrity and quality of a course it is necessary for a faculty member to complete the Request to Teach Online/Hybrid form. Submit the completed form with necessary documentation to the E-learning Coordinator. Course Development & Content Online student learning outcomes must be equivalent to those of the course offered in a traditional classroom setting. The primary responsibility for maintaining the integrity of an online course (content, assessments, student accessibility) is the responsibility of the instructor and department head. Each course requirement upholds academic rigor and learning objectives as outlined in the course syllabus. The courses assignments should correspond to these objectives. Academic Calendar Online/hybrid courses will follow the semester calendar timeline as is published in the Student Catalog and Handbook and annual Academic Calendar. All dates and deadlines are applicable. Online course sections are open to all students and follow the same procedures as the traditional university courses. Rosters Faculty must obtain official course rosters from Fletcher s Student Information System (SIS). After the drop/add period is complete, instructors will verify the students on the official course roster from Fletcher s Student Information System (SIS). While there is no school attendance policy, consider a student a no show if they have not logged into the course during the first week of class. your department head to report roster verification. Likewise, if a student is enrolled in the course but is not on the roster, the student should contact the registrar, so that enrollment in the course can be verified. Tests & Grading As with all aspects of distance learning, instructors should allow reasonably flexible accommodations for testing. Testing at a distance requires special concern. Instructors who require students to take exams in a face-to-face manner must allow a student who resides 50 or more miles from the main campus the same opportunity via proctored testing. The student must secure a suitable proctor and incurs any fees associated with the use of a proctor. In order for a student to have an examination proctored by an individual other than an employee of Fletcher, an approved proctor must be secured. In order to be considered for approval, the Proctor Information Form must be completed and submitted for approval at the start of the semester. Examples of acceptable proctors are individuals employed at the nearest regionally accredited college or university, education office, or military base (military personnel). 4

6 At least two days prior to the exam, the student must schedule an exam appointment with the proctor. The instructor should verify the appointment time and date with the proctor. At the time of the appointment, the student will be required to present a state-issued ID or driver s license. At the scheduled time, the exam should be made available to the student via Joule. If the exam is a print exam, the arrangements should be made with the proctor to administer and return the exam. Student Performance Assessment Fletcher utilizes standardized testing (e.g., the ETS Proficiency Profile) to assess the extent to which students attain the desired student learning outcomes and/or competencies. Online delivery of these assessments is available. End of Semester Duties Once grades have been finalized, Fletcher faculty will download the gradebook in the CMS into an Excel format and submit to the respective department head. Note: The final grade in the CMS MUST match the grade recorded in Fletcher s SIS. Faculty must depopulate his/her online course(s) or make it unavailable no later than two weeks before the beginning of the next semester. Faculty will archive upon completion of the course after final grades are calculated. Student Accommodations Faculty will follow the same policy for meeting student accommodations as in the face-to-face classroom. Course Ownership/Copyright Existing Fletcher policies shall govern issues of intellectual property in courses created for online/hybrid. The faculty member is responsible for complying with copyright laws in the online environment. 5

7 Faculty Competency Faculty who wish to teach an online/hybrid course must provide: Proof of training received in teaching online, prior experience in teaching online courses or online/hybrid course development. Satisfactory evaluations for teaching in the face-to-face environment Proof of training in use of the college s course management system Course Syllabus & Preparation The syllabus for an online course must comply with college requirements applicable to all courses and must include the hardware and software requirements. The syllabus must list details (date, time, location) for all required on-campus meetings; otherwise, none should be stated. Course syllabi and other course materials should be posted at least 24 hours prior to the first day of the course. Ensure that all Internet links are active and working. Office Hours As stated in the Fletcher Faculty Handbook, full-time faculty members are required to maintain a minimum of ten office hours per week and adjunct faculty members are required to provide at least 30 minutes for every three (3) hours of class time. Office hours must be posted and faculty members teaching online courses should check and their online course regularly. Communication Faculty should send a welcoming or post to instruct students to review university policies, and announce any on-campus class meetings, etc. This section must list details (date, time, location) for all required on-campus meetings; otherwise, None should be stated. Faculty members should attempt to check their every 24-hours in order to provide prompt feedback and alleviate any problems that students may be having. Responses should be within a 24- hour period and in a clear and well-expressed manner. Students should be informed if the faculty member will be unavailable to check and respond to s during college holidays. Notification of receipt of an assignment and/or status of grading should be sent within 3 days after the due date. Electronic feedback should be given within 7 days after the due date for an assignment and provide thoughtful commentary to the students. The electronic gradebook should be updated within this time as well. 6

8 Student Attendance Faculty teaching online should make every effort to minimize or eliminate the need for face-toface attendance in online courses. Every effort should be made to administer assessments online through the CMS in order to accommodate distance education students. For the purposes of Financial Aid, class attendance is defined as the successful completion of at least one assignment by the end of the second week of classes. Workload The payment for a faculty member to teach an online course is part of the normal workload of that instructor, as an overload, or as adjunct. Evaluation Student evaluation of faculty members is conducted each semester. Evaluation of instruction for Fletcher online courses is conducted through an electronic survey based on the faculty evaluation form used for on-campus instructors and classes; however, the survey is modified to reflect the online environment in which the classes are conducted. The following criteria are evaluated: course objectives and content correlation, student-teacher interactions, subject matter presentation, grading procedures, and teaching effectiveness. The Institutional Research and Effectiveness Office then prepares individual evaluation summaries of online instructors and transmits them to the Division dean. The Division dean then distributes them to department heads for review with the faculty members. This is the same distribution as faculty evaluation in traditional classes. Online/hybrid courses will be monitored regularly by the department head, dean, and/or E-learning Coordinator. Faculty members must enroll their department head into the course site. 7

9 Resources & Support Software Fletcher has several resources available to assist faculty members who teach online courses. These tools are included, but not limited to the following: Camtasia Video camera in Arts and Sciences. Some digital recorders Captivate Snag It Photoshop Information Technology Resources The Information Technology (IT) Department holds the licenses and technology needed for academic computing. The department is responsible for faculty, staff, and student accounts; access to the Fletcher shared drive, and data storage. The IT department can be contacted at Technical Difficulties If you experience difficulties with the course management system, please contact Michelle Votaw at If you experience difficulties with hardware or software, contact Library The Coastal Commerce Bank Library s main location is at the Schriever campus in Room 128. The library at the St. Charles facility is located in Room 202. The library provides on-campus and 24/7 off-campus access to resources and services for distance education faculty, staff, and students to include: E-library online catalog; Library Webpages; Full-text electronic journals and online books; Reference assistance; Reliable, rapid, secure access to online resources, including maps, journal articles, books, instructional video, and images; Access to online resources through mobile phones and personal mobile devices; Consultation services; Reciprocal borrowing at participating Louisiana academic libraries; Interlibrary loan services from public libraries using fair use of copyrighted materials; reference assistance; Adequate service hours for user access; Point of use assistance with and instruction in the use of non-print media and equipment; 8

10 Delivery to users of print-only articles held by Coastal Commerce Bank Library and not available through the library s electronic databases; Mobile librarian schedule at LAMPI and Allied Health; Information brochures distributed through faculty and student service. Library Reference Services - library reference questions to library faculty and staff: o o o o or Call: Schriever Campus ; St. Charles facility or visit the library to consult in-person. Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a librarian. Recommendations Instructors post a notice in the online course management class: Materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection. For students who cannot physically visit the library, interlibrary loan can be initiated from their public library. Utilize online books available through the library s webpage and EBSCOhost e-books. Utilize full-text articles that are remotely accessible through the library s webpage and online databases. 9

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