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History

  • Policy Number: SP.14.014
  • Version: Revision 1
  • Drafted By: Jeanne Grier
  • Approved By: Richard R. Rush
  • Approval Date: 6/12/15
  • Effective Date: 6/12/15
  • Supersedes: SP.12.008

Purpose

This document is intended to create and clarify policies related to a range of online teaching and learning issues at CI.

Background

The Special Committee for Online Learning was created to address the need for policies surrounding blended and online teaching and learning at CI. The group worked in two stages—a group of the whole that met in late Spring 2014 and a smaller summer working group that took the discussions from spring to create the first draft of this document. The small workgroup of the Special Committee for Online Learning met from 9am to noon on the following dates: June 2, June 4, June 9, June 11, and 11am to 12:30pm on June 18 to draft the following suggested policies related to on-line learning at CI. The larger Special Committee met throughout Fall 2014 to create this draft for comment.

Policy

 

Accountability

All faculty, chairs, and administrators in Academic Affairs.

Applicability

All faculty, chairs, and administrators in Academic Affairs.

Definition(s)

Made within text of the policy.

Text

Policy for On-line Teaching and Learning

Table of Contents

1. General Introduction

2. Modes of Instruction

3. Curricular Control

4. Intellectual Property

5. Use of Outside Contractors

6. Course Enrollment Limits

7. Academic Integrity

8. Accessibility

9. Faculty Support

10. Student Support

11. Evaluation and Assessment

1. General Introduction

Placing students at the center of the educational experience, California State University Channel Islands (CI) provides undergraduate and graduate education that facilitates learning within and across disciplines through integrative approaches, emphasizes experiential and service learning, and graduates students with multicultural and international perspectives.

It should be emphasized at the outset that this policy document does not signal any fundamental change in CI’s commitment to this mission. Indeed, the strength of CI will come from its continued commitment to its current mission. The challenges and opportunities associated with online education should be viewed as an opportunity to rethink the policies, processes and structures that support CI’s mission. California State University Channel Islands offers a student-focused learning environment in which interactions between faculty and students are central to instruction regardless of the form of those interactions.  

CI currently has one online degree program and several other online courses that have developed without any cohesive online education strategy or policies or any broad discussion of online education’s role in supporting the university’s mission. This document outlines specific policies for online education at CI but also contains specific suggestions for the policies, processes and structures that should be reviewed in light of online education.

The following assumption forms the foundation of this document: A course is a course. Quality expectations, academic control and faculty and student rights for online course experiences should be equivalent to those for face-to-face courses.

2. Modes of Instruction

Current Senate Policy (SP 12-08) Policy for listing on-line courses

SP 12-08: online >=70%; blended >=30% and <=70%; standard <=30% online

The following guidelines shall apply to online and blended course offerings:

1. Online and blended course offerings will be identified in the official schedule of classes. The schedule of classes will notify students whether such courses are synchronous or asynchronous and about any software and hardware requirements for participation in online class sessions. The program is responsible for indicating the mode of instruction when the course schedule is submitted.

2. Online, blended, and standard course offerings will be consistent in terms of student learning outcomes, quality, assessment, and purpose with other courses bearing the same program and course number. Online or blended course offerings will meet all Curriculum Committee requirements.

3. Students enrolled in online and blended classes will be given the same rights and responsibilities as students enrolled in standard course offerings.

3. Curricular Control

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The tenure track faculty has the right and responsibility to develop curricula and to establish general course content. All faculty possess the right to determine the instructional pedagogy in the courses that they are assigned within the given modality.

Programs may opt to create residency requirements for faculty in regards to the number of courses and sections that may be taught off-campus and/or online; in regards to physical/virtual office hours; in regards to service.

PROGRAM/Degrees/Credentials

It is the chair’s responsibility to monitor the number of required program courses and sections in the major that are available in an online format. As the number of online courses increase it is incumbent on the program to initiate program review for WASC compliance, which currently is set at 50%, or other external accreditation demands.

All new programs and existing programs moving to or from online will undergo full review. Full review is currently: program, University Curriculum Committee, Academic Planning, Senate, President. Additional external approvals as necessary--these currently include but are not limited to CSU and WASC approvals.

* Full Review may be revised in accordance with the yet to be identified process after Academic Master Planning Revision that will apply to all programs.

COURSE

All courses default to be taught in any modality unless specified as noted below.

If a Program wishes to limit the teaching modality of a course, a vote of the faculty (at minimum tenure track faculty and temporary faculty with at least 24 WTUs entitlements get one full vote; temporary faculty with less than 24 WTUs votes will be weighted as determined by program bylaws) in the affected Program must be held.  In the event that the proposed change does not receive a majority of votes, the course will remain open to all modalities. If the proposed change is agreed upon by the majority of voting faculty then the course modality/modalities will be specified and communicated to the Curriculum Committee via the Course Modification Form (to reflect the wishes of the program and maintain a record of the modality decision).

Requests to alter the mode of instruction for one semester should defer to the process described below for sections.

SECTION

Unless the program has limited the modality of a course (as described above) Chairs will identify the mode of instruction for individual sections (available for the specific course) after consulting with the assigned faculty. The modality for each section of a course shall be identified in the Schedule of Classes (per Senate policy 11-09).

Any decision by the Chair on modes of instruction shall address the following:

  • Chairs will ensure faculty members are qualified to teach (prior experience, training, etc.) in the proposed course modality.
  • Within the parameters of the CBA (article 12), chairs shall ensure that changes to the mode of delivery do not work against current faculty. (motion)

4. Intellectual Property

Faculty members teaching blended and online courses have the same control and ownership of the substantive and intellectual content of their courses that faculty have with any other course. Faculty wishing to maintain control of their intellectual property as a result of extraordinary university support to change the content delivery modality must do so in writing prior to initiating a University contract as a special consultant. Extraordinary support does not include a stipend or reassigned time for creating a new, or converting face to face courses to, an online or blended modality. (Pending reconciliation of senate and university policy.)

However, according to the current CI University Policy on Intellectual Property, “If the University initiates a creative project, solicits voluntary faculty participation in the project, and provides funding for the project, possibly including compensation/reassigned time for the faculty member, the University will own the intellectual property rights developed through the project unless the University agrees to share ownership.”  (AA.01.002)

5. Use of Outside Contractors

No individual or program shall agree in a contract with any private or public entity to deliver entire courses or Programs on behalf of CI without prior university approval. The University will not enter into a contract with any private or public entity to deliver courses or Programs without the prior approval of the relevant program faculty. Where no program yet exists, Senate approval is required (friendly amendment).

6. Course Enrollment Limits

Course caps for online courses should be consistent with face-to-face classes.

As a University centered on student learning we recognize the importance of faculty-student interactions in learning. For this reason, the CSU Course Classification System should be referenced as the guidelines for setting course enrollment caps and faculty workload for all courses in any modality. Benchmark enrollments on course approval forms should be considered enrollment caps no matter the mode of instruction until a course cap policy is created. Changes to course enrollment caps will go to the appropriate Curriculum Committee for approval.

7. Academic Integrity

Online programs and courses present new challenges to ensure academic integrity that should be addressed in their design. Online programs and courses will conform to University policies on academic integrity. Senate Policy (13-06)

8. Accessibility

http://www.calstate.edu/accessibility/

All classes shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, and with California Government Code L1135.

Faculty should include the currently recommended Disability Statement for syllabi.

9. Faculty Support

The University recognizes that not all faculty are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that teaching and learning in an online environment can present. To assist faculty in creating high quality learning environments online, the Teaching and Learning Innovation Program, and Academic Technology provides education, training, technology support, and instructional design services. Faculty are encouraged to access these resources before moving into teaching in an online learning environment.  

Chairs will ensure faculty members are qualified to teach (prior experience, training, etc.) in the proposed course modality. Programs may further create internal policies that require faculty are prepared to teach in an online or blended environment.

10. Student Support

The University recognizes that not all students are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that teaching and learning in an online environment can present. Students are encouraged to access the Help Desk for technical assistance in their classes.  Each student in an online class, course or program shall be informed by the instructor prior to or on the first day of class of available instructional support, student services, library resources, technology support, support services for students with disabilities and technical requirements (hardware, internet, etc….) for each course section.

Students should be informed via the Schedule of Classes about the mode of instruction (SP12-08).

11. Evaluation and Assessment

Course and Program Assessment

Courses and programs should be held to the same standard regardless of the mode of instruction. Assessment of online and blended courses should be a regular part of the department’s assessment plan. Assessment should be focused on student outcomes.

Faculty Assessment

The CBA, campus policies, and program guidelines establish faculty observation and evaluation procedures. Academic program faculty assume responsibility over and exercise oversight of courses and their curriculum ensuring the quality, rigor, and integrity of instruction. Instruction online whether fully online or blended should match the quality, rigor and integrity of face-to-face courses. Campus and department faculty performance evaluation processes should recognize online and face-to-face instructional activities as equally meritorious and important.

Policies governing RTP and Lecturer Evaluations shall be followed for all courses (An example of a Teaching Observation instrument/rubric will be available on the Teaching Innovations website and in the Appendix.). Access to online course content is governed by the same procedures and restrictions that determine evaluator access to face-to-face courses. This includes the CBA requirement faculty be notified at least 5 days in advance of a visit to their course. The faculty member shall maintain reasonable control over the extent of this access to their course materials and content.

Assessment of Student Learning

Criteria for student success in online instruction courses and programs shall be as rigorous and comprehensive as those used in classroom-based courses and these criteria shall be clearly communicated to students.

Student Evaluations of Faculty

All class sections both stateside and through Extended University, regardless of teaching modality, will adhere to the current Senate Policy on student evaluations of teaching. Administration will follow the current CBA. 

Exhibit(s)

Peer Evaluation for Blended or Online Learning

Course Overview

Always       Often        Sometimes       Rarely/Never

                                                         

A successful online learning experience begins with an introduction to the course essentials.  The class should clearly convey what students will learn, how they will learn it, and who they will learn with.

 Examples: 

  • Clearly guides students to the “start” area of the course
  • Communicates a list of the course outcomes
  • Provides a description of the learning environment (types and frequency of activities students will experience)
  • Organizes course content into clear, manageable chunks (Learning Modules or Units)
  • Includes syllabus with overview of the semester schedule

Comments:      

 

Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning

Always       Often        Sometimes       Rarely/Never

                                                         

Online teaching offers a range of options for assessing student learning.  Effective online learning is an active, continuous, and growth-oriented process.

Examples: 

  • Designs activities that are aligned with course outcomes
  • Communicates the objective(s) and expected outcomes of activities
  • Uses formative assessments or "self-checks"
  • Transparently communicates how course grades are determined
  • Provides regular feedback

 Comments:      

 

Instructional Materials and Resources Utilized

Always       Often        Sometimes       Rarely/Never

                                                         

Teaching online provides access to a robust collection of existing resources that may be used to support student learning.

Examples: 

  • Clearly communicates the resources and materials students are expected to acquire
  • Designs learning experiences that are supported with credible online content and resources
  • Uses a variety of online content as catalysts for learning (text, images, and video)
  • Selects and shares online content that connects the course curriculum to real life
  • Uses a variety of content types (text, image, and videos)
  • Cites resources and materials re-used in the course

Comments:      

 

Student Interaction and Community

Always       Often        Sometimes       Rarely/Never

                                                         

Effective online learning is active and student-centered.  Regular student-interactions foster a sense of belonging among learners and introduce students to diverse perspectives.

Examples:

  • Includes information about how to be a successful online student
  • Communicates and models acceptable online etiquette
  • Implements frequent activities that require students to engage with peers
  • Communicates and models effective interaction norms
  • Creates active and interactive learning opportunities
  • Evidence of student-student and faculty-student interactions should be frequent and meaningful.

Comments:      

 

Facilitation and Instruction

Always       Often        Sometimes       Rarely/Never

                                                         

An approachable, present online instructor plays a critical role in student engagement, motivation, and success.  The instructor also plays a key role in fostering a sense of community in the class.

Examples:

  • Instructor welcome message with photo or video
  • Clear e-communication policy with multiple means of communication and max. response time for student inquiries.
  • Active and meaningful instructor participation in course activities (Discussion Board, VoiceThread, etc)
  • Encourages student questions and feedback
  • Regularly participates in the course activities as a facilitator of learning
  • Summarizes group interactions by highlighting areas of agreement or disagreement
  • Sends reminders as needed
  • Provides timely feedback
  • Regularly sends communications about course due dates, milestones, and extra curricular learning opportunities
  • Provides feedback in audio or video
  • Is accessible to students in both asynchronous and synchronous modalities (email, phone, Google+ Hangout, Blackboard Collaborate, Skype)

 Comments: