Faculty

Best Practices for Teaching Online

The following practices bring about the best student outcomes:*

  • Design the course using quality metrics and best practices.  Aligning the course to adhere to standards of quality such as those found in Quality Matters helps increase course effectiveness.
  • Adapt course organization and design for online delivery.  A clear, consistent structure of course elements is essential for the online environment.
  • Use active learning techniques.  Students must discuss what they are learning, write about it, practice it, relate it to their experiences, and apply it to their lives.
  • Provide learner support and resources.  Resources that are specific to the course and support the whole person ensure student learning and student health.
  • Give students opportunities for reflection.  New perspectives, nuanced understanding, and deeper appreciation emerge from awareness, critical analysis, and self-exploration.
  • Emphasize time on task.  Time spent on practice, application, and reflection is directly related to student achievement.
  • Communicate high expectations.  High expectations, with appropriate support, lead to high rates of student success.
  • Maintain regular contact with students.  Your frequent and ongoing presence is invaluable to student success online.
  • Encourage contact and cooperation among students.  The exchange of ideas, opinions, arguments, perspectives, and questions is essential to a successful learning experience.
  • Respect diverse talents and ways of learning.  Diverse student populations bring different talents and styles of learning to the learning environment.
  • Give prompt feedback.  Feedback that is timely, constructive, and supportive increases student satisfaction and achievement.
  • Pay attention to legal, ethical and academic dishonesty.  Honesty is important and designers and instructors face liability issues when these concerns are not addressed.

Best Practices for Teaching Online Rubric

  Exemplary Acceptable Needs improvement
Instructor presence The instructor actively participates in the course four times or more per week spending at least 60 minutes in Webcampus. This includes moderating discussions responding to inquiries. The instructor actively participates in the course at least three times per week spending at least 30 minutes in Webcampus. The instructor participates in the course less than three times per week and spends less than 30 minutes in Webcampus.
E-mail response time The instructor responds to student e-mail within 24 hours. The instructor responds to student e-mail within 48 hours. The instructor doesn't respond to student e-mail or greater than 48 hours.
Assignment feedback Meaningful feedback is posted within 48 hours of the assignment due date. Meaningful feedback is posted within 72 hours of the assignment due date. Meaningful feedback is not provided within 72 hours of the assignment due date.
Student-to-instructor interaction The instructor participates in and encourages regular (weekly) interaction with students. The instructor participates in and encourages regular (at least every other week) interaction with students. The instructor does not participate in or encourages regular interaction with students.
Student-to-Student interaction The instructor encourages regular (weekly) interaction between students. The instructor encourages regular (at least every other week) interaction between students. The instructor does not encourage regular interaction between students.
Student intervention The instructor promptly (within one week) attempts intervention for students that have missed more than a week of instruction or shows clear signs of being at risk of failing the course. The instructor promptly (within two weeks) attempts intervention for students that have missed more than a week of instruction or shows clear signs of being at risk of failing the course. The instructor makes no attempt to provide intervention for students that have missed more than a week of instruction or show clear signs of being at risk of failing the course.
Accommodation for students with disabilities The instructor provides prompt and appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities (including responding to academic accommodation plans, arranging for proctored exams, or adjusting online exam time durations).   The instructor does not provide prompt and appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities (including responding to academic accommodation plans, arranging for proctored exams, or adjusting online exam time durations).
 
* You, J. (2010). A study of faculty members’ perceived utilization of best practices in distance learning course design and delivery and the role of instructional designers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toledo.