1 I. Purpose of Policy: College of Liberal Arts Online Education Course Management Policy Last update: July, 2011 The College of Liberal Arts Online Education Course Management Policy 1 provides course management guidelines for departments and instructors that can serve as a benchmark for the types of activities and best practices that can enhance the quality of online courses. It also provides course management guidelines for WSU Online personnel to ensure that instructors and departments are kept informed according to specific procedures and can deal with any problems arising in a course accordingly 1. The Policy is designed to ensure that Online courses offered to students through WSU Online by CLA faculty at any campus will be of equal academic quality and rigor as those offered to on-campus students. Online course information is provided in a timely and complete manner. 2 Online courses are fully integrated into departments instructional plans, scheduling procedures, evaluation practices, and program assessments. Online courses are held to the same standards of instructor/ student interaction and accountability as face-to-face courses. Any problems arising in online CLA courses will be dealt with in a timely fashion. II. Course Management Guidelines for Departments: 1. Online Course Coordination: Departments delivering a significant number of online courses are encouraged to identify an online course coordinator/ supervisor, particularly if Teaching Assistants or adjuncts are being used for instruction. This person may be the chair or another staff or faculty member appointed by the chair, who will serve as the point person to interact with WSU Online and ensure communication flows seamlessly at all times. This person will serve as course verifier to make sure textbook and media confirmations for online courses can be completed in a timely manner. In addition, this individual should coordinate that online instructors receive the required training, are aware of specific practices related to the online teaching format, and fulfill their responsibilities as instructors. 2. Online Course Selection and Teaching Assignment: Any course to be offered through WSU Online (including blended courses) should respond to programmatic needs and be included in the departments instructional plan. All online course teaching assignments must be on load. In courses with significant high enrollment as determined by the department, additional instructional assistance may be provided to the faculty member, such as a teaching assistant or a grader. In these cases, departmental revenues from WSU Online students may be used by the department to provide that support. 3. Scheduling: Courses to be offered through WSU Online must be scheduled and approved by the department in ROOMS no later than 8 weeks before registration opens. a. As courses are scheduled in ROOMS, departments should indicate clearly which courses should be blended and what campus(es) and section(s) they should be blended with. b. Departments need to list instructors in RONet as soon as they schedule courses in ROOMS, or as soon as RONet Teacher Assignment Report is available. c. Without the courses scheduled WSU Online cannot create a course space, nor publicize the information to students regarding text books and course fees 2. 1 Please note that this particular policy document deals only with course management issues, and does not deal with issues related to course design. Please also note that this policy has been drafted incorporating feedback from the WSU Online office. 2 A new federal law effective July 1, 2010, requires universities to disclose all fees and costs to students upon registration. This means that the cost of textbooks, media and anything else associated with classes needs to be included in the time schedules and, thus, submitted much sooner than in the past. Your collaboration providing - complete information on course information and faculty as outlined below is highly appreciated.
2 d. In the event departments are not in a position to identify an instructor as required, the department should identify the appropriate course verifier so textbook and media confirmations for online courses can be completed in a timely manner.. 4. Textbooks: WSU Online is responsible for providing textbook information to students and the Bookie, Too for Online courses offered solely through WSU Online as well as for online blended courses offered through both WSU Online and other WSU campuses. Textbook information for online courses is collected through the course verification system. If an instructor/department sends an order to the Bookie directly, WSU Online has requested that the Bookie staff wait to order the materials until an confirmation is sent from WSU Online so as to coordinate the information and avoid duplication of requests. 5. Procedures for Dealing with Student Complaints: In accordance with Academic Regulation 104, if students have concerns about the instruction they are receiving in an online course, the first step is for them to address their concerns to the instructor (unless there is a compelling reason to skip this step e.g., sexual harassment or similarly unethical behavior). If the instructor is unresponsive or does not adequately respond, then the student should direct the concern to the department chair. Students often initially address their concerns to other students in class discussion forums reviewed by Virtual Mentors,, or directly by phone or to WSU Online staff. In all such cases, WSU Online staff will direct the student to the instructor, per the process outlined in the preceding paragraph. If the instructor does not respond satisfactorily and the student contacts WSU Online again, staff will direct the student to the department chair.. In rare instances when resolution is not achieved at the departmental level, concerns will be directed to the CLA Dean s Liaison to WSU Online. 6. Online Courses Instructional Support: Departments will receive $17.50 per WSU Online SCH. Enrollments in excess of a preset average per department may result in additional funds being redirected to the department. III. Guidelines for Instructors: The main objective of this policy as it pertains to online course instructors is to provide guidance that may prove useful to enhance the quality of their courses. While all guidelines may not be applicable to all courses (given each course s unique nature), these can nonetheless serve as a benchmark for the best practices that typically make for a successful online course. 1. Training: Before teaching online, all instructors (and teaching assistants assigned to support them) must undergo an orientation provided by WSU Online. Even experienced teachers are encouraged to attend yearly refresher sessions as technology continues to progress, as there may be new components you may not be familiar with, or new practices that could be taken into consideration. a. In addition to orientation WSU Online offers a number of trainings. Please view the training schedule at b. It is recommended that all faculty instructing WSU Online courses complete the Excellence in Online Teaching course: 2. Interface: All courses are administered through the ANGEL system. Course maintenance: a. Technology Requirements: WSU Online has a set of minimum technology requirements and recommends that faculty teaching online courses meet these. Please check their website for more information: If a campus-based faculty member has a slow connection at home, it is suggested that he/she download assignments onto a memory stick at their WSU office. b. Course Space: WSU Online uses a Course Verification system which is housed within the course space being prepared for delivery. After the department has scheduled the course in ROOMS and listed the instructor in ROnet, the assigned instructor will receive an automated from cdpemoss requesting they enter their course space and respond to the course verification tasks. It is imperative that these tasks be completed promptly in order for WSU Online to publish correct, updated information to students and have the courses ready in time for delivery 2. Visit the
3 Website for online tutorials explaining the course verification system. Faculty should ensure that the course space is ready prior to the first day of class. The Course Verification General Maintenance task contains a check list (APPENDIX B) for faculty to help ensure that all important aspects of the course space are reviewed. The College encourages faculty to make changes to their own course spaces within reason, and within certain time frames. WSU Online provides training to help faculty get started in this endeavor. Alternatively changes can be submitted to WSU Online through the Course Verification Process. o Course schedule should have correct dates for the semester of offering; Other dated items such as exam settings (in Assessment tool) must be updated as well. o Make sure the course space is in good shape, with active hyperlinks, and has all the information students need to proceed. If assignment guidelines and evaluation criteria are clear, students will be less likely to get stuck and ask questions. o If you make any changes to any part of the course, make sure that other parts of the course are updated accordingly, as needed. For example, changes to the syllabus usually need a corresponding change in the Learning Modules. o Verify that the grade book is in good order (all graded assignments accounted for, correct point grades). o Try not to duplicate information across the course space, given that this creates the opportunity for confusion (e.g., assignment details, assignment due dates). Once a course is developed, it may be taught by other instructors, as determined by the respective departments. New instructors should use the approved course as is, unless the revisions are approved by the department. At all times, any revisions must be completed well in advance of the beginning of the semester. Once the semester begins, students should not be subjected to changes or reorganization that may impair their ability to complete work on time, so any changes are strongly discouraged. If you have to make an unavoidable change, make sure all students are properly informed and allow them additional time to submit work, if necessary. 3. Time and Course Management: a. Think of the time required to teach an online course as similar to the time required for face to face courses. This includes the time you would devote to class preparation, inclass time, and office hours. A successful online course provides students with the same exposure to your teaching expertise and direction as they would have in a regular classroom. A minimum of ten hours involvement per week is expected of each instructor and, depending on enrollment and class assignments, it may be more. b. Access the course space regularly (multiple times per week) to find out if students have any questions or issues they need your help with and respond promptly to concerns and questions. c. In your syllabus (Instructor Interaction Policy), give students an approximate idea of how many times per week you intend to access the course space so they can plan ahead. Remember that in face-to-face courses, instructors are in class approximately three hours per week and a similar amount in office hours, so allocate your course space interaction time accordingly. d. Inform students when you anticipate not being able to access the course space as usual. Use the Announcements from Instructor discussion area so you can reach every student at once. e. If circumstances occur that will make it unlikely that you will be able to teach an assigned course during the coming semester, or continue to teach once actually engaged in teaching the course, notify the department s Chair and/or online course supervisor at
4 once so they can take steps to deal with the situation. Students should not be impacted in any way by the instructor s personal issues. f. Use the Instructor s Announcements and Questions for Instructor discussion areas to communicate with the entire class and answer questions that are not personal/ confidential in nature, and encourage students to do the same. g. Try to use the system embedded in the course space for communications of a personal nature with a student, rather than personal accounts. This provides a common record for such interactions. Only official WSU addresses (for students and instructors) will be used in the course space and by WSU Online. h. Technical and Administrative Support: Refer students to the IT Helpdesk [ or HELP (4357), or for tech support issues (refer to helpdesk yourself for tech support issues). (This contact information is also available in the course space.) Refer students to WSU ONLINE for any questions, concerns, and issues that are not related to course content (administrative, logistical matters, for example, as well as financial aid, textbooks, DVDs). i. Grading: Instructors are encouraged to provide timely grades for all graded assignments submitted by students to ensure they are aware of their progress in the course. In addition, final grades must be submitted in RONet by the deadline required by the university. i. In the case of students requesting an I (Incomplete) grade, an Incomplete Grade Report, available Online at https://www.ronet.wsu.edu/ropubs/forms/incompletegradereport/incomplete GradeReport.pdf must be filled out and signed by the instructor. In that form, the instructor should include very specific information on what is needed to complete the course work and remove the I, a deadline by when missing assignment(s) must be submitted, and contact information of the person responsible for receiving these materials. According to regulations, students have a year to complete the coursework, but instructors may encourage students to complete the course requirements as soon as possible by negotiating a deadline with the student at the time of the request. Copies of the report must be sent to the student, WSU Online, and the Department s Chair (or online course coordinator) for their files, and a copy retained by the instructor. Once the student has completed the required coursework, instructors should complete a Supplemental Grade Form For more information contact j. Evaluations: It is extremely important that students fill out the evaluation forms for the course so as to ensure proper feedback to the instructor on the design and teaching effectiveness, as well as to provide another element of direct assessment for the course. Studies have shown that extra credit is not an effective tool for increasing response rate of evaluations. However, developing a close rapport with students and reminding them often of the importance of their evaluations in enhancing the course does have an effect. Indeed, many instructors incorporate mid-semester informal evaluations as a way to anticipate any potential problems. V. The role of WSU Online personnel: WSU Online provides student support for non-content related issues. Student concerns regarding the instructor will follow academic rule 104 as described above. WSU Online assigns an elearning Consultant to each course/instructor to provide support related to the unique aspects of online delivery. WSU Online provides 24/7 technical support to instructors and students see related section above. 1. Given the unique nature of online courses offered through WSU Online (including the unique format of these courses, the way instructor-student communication occurs, as well as the
5 additional channel of communication between students and WSU Online personnel), in many instances perceived problems or issues that arise in courses may be reported to personnel in the WSU Online office rather than the instructor or department chair on the Pullman campus. In order to provide support to students and faculty, various WSU Online personnel have been granted access to the instructor s course space, including elc, technical support, computing and production personnel. If the instructor would like more information about who has access, or has a desire to restrict access, he/she may contact the elc. IV. Specific information/ suggestions for Blended courses: WSU Online has created an Online orientation to Angel specifically for Pullman students which will give students actual experience in the course space: https://lms.wsu.edu/, login-- Online, password -- pullman.. Online courses may also have virtual mentors (VMs) who help students be more proactive and self-motivated (as well as help with tech issues). WSU ONLINE will try to have VMs in all blended courses. If you plan to have proctored exams in the course, follow the Blended Courses with Proctored Exams Procedure attached at the end of this document as APPENDIX A. Please, be aware that there is a new proctor service for online proctored exams Proctor U: Since students often have difficulty finding proctors for online exams, WSU Online has an agreement with a remote proctor system that will allow students to take a proctored exam from their own home or another campus-based computer that has a webcam. The fee is $22.50/2 hour exam. To schedule an exam, students must visit and select "Schedule an Exam". The first time, they will need to select on "New Users: Request Login ID" and create a new account. There is an introductory video available at If students have any problems at all, they can call the Proctor Line at and speak with a member of the tech support team. APPENDIX A WSU Online / College of Liberal Arts Blended Courses with Proctored Exams Procedure (As of July 2011) Overview: As we expand offerings and have more blended course offerings with WSU ONLINE and Pullman or the regional campuses, it is important to understand that some faculty members feel strongly that proctored exams are a required component of their course(s). To facilitate the exam process, the following areas need to be covered during course design and delivery to ensure that students are informed and departments are aware of their responsibilities. Course Designer: When you know a course with a proctored exam will be blended, be sure to confirm dates with the faculty and help them understand that it will be their responsibility to work with their department administration to make the arrangements for the exams, final or otherwise. All More Information links (located in Schedule of Classes) will include this statement: Course may have required proctored exams that can result in an additional fee to the student, depending on the proctor chosen. For blended courses, the statement can be amended to reflect: If there are exams, all necessary details will be discussed in the course space. The course space will list the exam information, and the faculty should include the information in their first message to students. Department/Faculty: There is already an established process for scheduling of exams on Pullman campus. If there is only a final exam and the instructor will need a classroom scheduled, the process is:
6 * If the space is a GUC room, contact Melissa Wing at the Pullman campus Registrar s office and she will coordinate your request. This is for Final Exam Scheduling only. * If the exam is not a final and there is not currently a Building and Room assigned to the course, go to to request an Event. Again, Melissa will be working with you for this request. When requesting an event, be sure to include the dates, time and location and a description of the event that you need to have scheduled. * If you plan to use a departmental room that is not a class room, schedule that with your department person in charge of scheduling. * If the exam is an Online exam, computing labs can be requested from departments that oversee them by contacting the department person in charge of scheduling. *If the exam is part of an Online course at a Regional Campus, a staff person will need to work with the registration person at that campus for specific information regarding exam scheduling and requests: Vancouver Jean Lang, Tri-Cities Johan Curtiss, Spokane Lisa Martin, Proctor-U: Since students often have difficulty finding proctors for online exams, WSU Online has an agreement with a remote proctor system called Proctor- U that will allow students to take a proctored exam from their own home or another campus-based computer that has a webcam. The fee is $22.50/2 hour exam. To schedule an exam, students must visit and select "Schedule an Exam". The first time, they will need to select on "New Users: Request Login ID" and create a new account. There is an introductory video available at If students have any problems at all, they can call the Proctor Line at and speak with a member of the tech support team. Requesting Exam Information: Kay Huffine maintains a paper copy of all exams in Rm. 4, Van Doren Hall. We expect that faculty will provide a copy of the exam to department staff to create the exams for students; if the faculty does not have a finalized copy of the exam, It can be dlownloaded directly from Course Verification -> Tracked Items. APPENDIX B Course verification check list: Syllabus General Maintenance Is the instructor and contact information correct? Is the course work section complete, clear and accurate? Is there a Late Work Policy, Incomplete Grade Policy, and Instructor Interaction section? Are they worded appropriately for this course? Is the grading information/rubric complete, clear and accurate? Course Schedule Confirm that all course dates are correct. This includes the weekly semester dates, assignment or exam due dates, and any other deadlines. Are all assignments and assessments (graded and non graded) included? Lessons Is all of the content included? Are the instructions and assignments accurate and clear? Does the lesson content match items listed on the course schedule?
7 Assignments Are individual assignment drop boxes set up and correctly labeled to match the Course Schedule and Lessons? Do you want to use open or close dates for any assignment? If so, are they set up? Assessments Are all assessments listed? When you preview the questions and answers, are they accurate? Do you want to use specific open and close dates? If so, are those dates correct as set? Do they match the Course Schedule? Are the assessment settings correct? For example, time limit, question delivery (all at once or one at a time), student feedback, warning before time expires. Discussion Board Are all of the forums listed and correctly labeled? Do you use discussion forums specific to a team or group? If so, are those set up correctly? Gradebook Is there a column for each graded item? Are the points correct? Are the display and calculation settings correct? Overall Course Have you reviewed the course content for grammar and spelling? Is all of the necessary information included in order for the student to be successful? Do all links work and are they current?
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