Online Learning: Faculty

The online learning environment presents a unique set of challenges that require clear definition of instructor performance. The following Instructor Performance Expectations are considered best practices. They identify the minimum level of interaction and management needed between students and instructors to maintain a quality online learning environment.

Best Practices for Online Course DeliveryAs a course instructor, it is anticipated that you will…

  1. Follow the established course start and end dates. When students register for your course, they expect that it will start and end as stated in the Schedule of Classes.
  2. Follow these guidelines for managing your course throughout the semester as it outlines things that should be done on a daily, weekly, or semester basis.
  3. Monitor assignment submissions, communicate, and remind students of missed and/or upcoming deadlines. You can help insure a successful learning experience by practicing proactive course management strategies. We suggest posting a note to your class at least once a week, telling students what you will be covering in the coming week and reminding them of any due dates.
  4. Establish and communicate to students, early in the course, a regular schedule for when you will be logging in to the course. Normally this is once per weekday. Many Hybrid and Asynchronous course students are adult learners who have work and family responsibilities. These students tend to be more active in courses on weekends, so you may wish to also include in your schedule time to monitor courses at least once on weekend
  5. Give prior notice to your students in the event that you will be unable to log into the course for several days or more (e.g., during professional travel). This will help to forestall many student inquiries! You also should consider finding coverage for your online course if you are going to be out of contact with students for more than a couple of days, especially if they are to be working on assignments while you are gone. In cases of personal emergency, you should notify your Department Chair and/or Unit Coordinator as soon as possible if you will be away from the course.
  6. Provide feedback to student inquiries within one business day. Because online learners must manage their time carefully, timely instructor feedback is especially important to them. If you cannot provide a detailed response within one weekday, we suggest that you respond to the student within one weekday when a more detailed response will be provided.
  7. Provide meaningful feedback on student work using clear and concise language. When providing feedback on student work, you have an ideal “teachable moment”! Simply telling a student “good job” or “needs work” doesn’t give them the information they need to succeed. They need (and want!) more specifics. What needs work and how can they improve? (Specifically!)
  8. Communicate to your students, in advance, when you will grade and return all assignments and exams. If you don’t tell them this information, you will definitely be asked!
  9. Encourage your students to complete an ‘End-of-Course’ Survey.
    Please send your students a note encouraging them to complete the survey and assuring them that the information will be used to improve the course is important, too. Research has shown that the biggest influence on whether a student completes an end-of-course survey is you, the instructor!
  10. Post final course grades as per the schedule provided to the class at the start of the semester.

Managing your online course:

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