Category: 3.0 Core

OSCQR – Standard #40RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #40RSI Dashboard illustration

Learners have an opportunity to get to know the instructor.

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Social presence is the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as ‘real people.’ (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).

Social presence relies on establishing a welcoming online learning space, as well as acknowledging each individual learner as a valued member of the learning community.

When learners understand the background of their instructor, the “distance” between instructor/learners is mitigated. The tone and approach of the instructor in regard to self-introduction will serve as a model for learners. It is important that learners feel the instructor is easily accessible, and willing to communicate consistently throughout the course.

Instructors who share personal narratives make a lasting impression on online learners (Aragon, 2003). These personal narratives humanize the instructor, and provide credibility and history to support instructor expertise.

References:

Aragon, S. R. (2003). Creating Social Presence in Online Environments. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, (100), 57-68.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustration In well-designed online courses, this standard can support regular and substantive interaction by building trust, and a strong sense of online class community. Getting to know instructor (as well as the other classmates) is a first step in building trust and an online class community where learners are prepared and ready to learn. Instructors set this tone and climate at the start of an online course by initially connecting with the learners and providing opportunities for course participants to engage and interact on a social and human level. By allowing learners to have the opportunity to get to know the instructor in ways that are comfortable and appropriate for their discipline and personality, instructors can engage and model behaviors and interactions that will lead to a strong sense of online class community and trust among all course participants. Introduction, ice-breaking activities and discussions that include some appropriate interactions and self disclosures can be effectively designed to support the goals of this standard and RSI. For example, instructors can share their own personal academic and professional journey as it relates to the course topic. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor can help the learner learn more about the instructor and their expectations, and demonstrates aspects of instructor role, identity, discipline, and the profession establishing community and trust, which further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on course topics, or to provide clarification, help, or feedback demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

Examples

  • Create an instructor profile/contact, content, images/photos, announcements, instructions for activities with personal “voice” to establish the instructor’s social presence and credibility in the course.
    • Create an “All About Me” instructor welcome page with links to your professional highlights and personal interests.
  • Example Ice-Breaking activities.
  • Provide an instructor introductory video (with captioning and accompanying script for ADA compliance) is a wonderful way for learners to get to know the instructor. Create short, informal videos (with captions);

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explore methods and approaches to creating pathways where learners have opportunities to get to know the instructor in online courses.

Increasing Participation and Engagement in Student Introduction Posts Through Narrative
It can be difficult for students to connect with each other and with instructors in web-based courses. A number of strategies, design-decisions, and activities can be used to alleviate this issue (Vonderwell, 2003). One commonly used activity is the introduction post – the digital correlate of the in-class introduction. (Read more …)
Reach More Students with Targeted Office Hours
One of the biggest challenges instructors face with large class sizes is connecting with students individually. Often students will make use of office hours for that personal connection, but there are only so many hours in the day and teaching online adds another layer of complexity. (Read more …)
Welcome Messages
A welcome message to students before the course begins is an important step in establishing your online persona (Bellafiore, 2007; Gibson and Blackwell, 2005; Mensch and Ali, 2007; and Phillips, 2011). The purpose of this communication is to welcome the students, establish a comfortable class environment, introduce the class syllabus, schedule, protocols, and to/or establish a weekly routine. (Read more …)
Post an introduction video to welcome students to your course.
Creating social presence in an online course starts with the instructor. When students are provided the opportunity to get to know the instructor prior to the start of the class through a welcome video message, they are able to put a face with a name (Aragon, 2003), are more likely to participate in class (McLellan, 1999), and tend to enjoy the online learning experience more (Aragon, 2003). Though an introduction video is only the starting place for social presence, it provides students with a preview to more effective social presence strategies such as collaborative learning and course facilitation (Oyarzun, Barreto, & Conklin, 2018). (Read more…)

Explore Related Resources

Hong, W. (2008). 8 Ways to Increase Social Presence in Online Teaching. Online Classroom, 1-5.
Hong, W. (February 2010) Retrieved from 8 Ways to Increase Social Presence in Online Teaching. Faculty Focus.
Orlando, J. (2015). Methods for Welcoming Students to Your Course. Online Classroom, 15(5), 7-8.
Ryman, S., Burrell, L., Hardham, G., Richardson, B., & Ross, J. (2009). Creating and Sustaining Online Learning Communities: Designing for Transformative Learning. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 5(3), 32-45.
Online Teacher Identity – Warner School of Education,  University of Rochester.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #39RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #39RSI Dashboard illustration

Expectations for all course interactions (instructor to student, student to student, student to instructor) are clearly stated and modeled in all course interaction/communication channels.

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Expectations for assignments, class participation, proctoring, due dates, group work, collaboration, and attendance requirements should be clearly articulated and easy to find and understand. Adult learners expect and benefit from understanding the parameters and rationale of the learning activities in a course up front.

Outlining clear expectations for timing and frequency of interactions, activities, and assignments, as well as what type of standards should be upheld when working on particular activities, helps learners to be successful and reduces frustration caused by ambiguity. For blended courses, provide clear guidelines for synchronous (in-class) and asynchronous (online) participation.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationThis standard is the spirit of RSI. In well-designed online courses, expectations and strategies for regular and substantive instructor-student interactions are clearly stated and modeled in all course interaction/communication channels. The course information, overview, and syllabus materials set the expectations for the course interactions and communications, and make explicit who, what, how, when, where, and how often course interactions will take place. These expectations will provide details on how the online class community will function as a group and individually. Learner questions are anticipated by the instructor and addressed in Course Expectations documentation, discussion forums designed for these purposes, asynchronous activities (or synchronous options) for additional help and questions, and to create and support a common understanding across all course participants. Specific Instructor Communication Plans can be included in Course Expectations, or Course Information/Syllabus materials:

As your instructor, I plan to interact and engage with each of you on a regular basis throughout the course to support your learning by providing direct instruction via online lectures or overviews of various topics, responding to your questions, grading or providing feedback on your submitted coursework, posting weekly announcements, and engaging in the course discussion areas regarding academic course content whenever appropriate.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Clearly outline the expectations for course interactions, collaborations, assignments, activities, and discussion participation, for example, the timing and number of contributions.
    • Provide information on timing and frequency of contributions, models/examples are provided, roles are explained, expectations for community standards are explained.
  • Provide detailed information on how learner participation will be assessed, evaluated/graded.
    • Include instructions about any specific expectations if any, e.g., spelling and grammar expectations.
    • Specify and give examples of how learners should title their discussion posts. Discussion post subject lines give learners an opportunity to practice summarizing and clear communication, skills that are important in the professional world. It also helps other learners find their posts more easily because the content is summarized in the subject line.
  • Things to consider in revising your syllabus for an online course.
  • Instructor sets course expectations and tone, and provides models for the student, e.g., preferred pronouns/names and prefixes of address, formality of writing, expectations in writing communications, formality and informality in interactions, and tolerances and expectations.
  • Reference netiquette info and model respect in discussions.

Rubrics

Examples

  • Example Course Information/Syllabus statement: “As your instructor, I plan to interact and engage with each of you on a regular basis throughout the course to support your learning by providing direct instruction via online lectures or overviews of various topics, responding to your questions, grading or providing feedback on your submitted coursework, posting weekly announcements, and engaging in the course discussion areas regarding academic course content whenever appropriate.”
  • Example Course Information/Syllabus materials.
  • Example Course Expectations.

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to establishing clear expectations in online discussions to benefit learner success.

Setting Discussion Expectations
Selecting an effective discussion topic is important, but does not guarantee an interactive, fruitful discussion. It is crucial for instructor to set the stage and establish clear expectations for how learners should participate in the discussion. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Kelly, R. (2012). Managing Controversy in the Online Classroom. Online Classroom, 12(3), 2-3.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #38RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #38RSI Dashboard illustration

Regular and substantive instructor-to-student expectations, and predictable/scheduled interactions and feedback, are present, appropriate for the course length and structure, and are easy to find.

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By setting learner expectations upfront, instructors avoid having a lot of questions asked in course Ask a Question discussion areas, or via email, thus improving course management efficiency, and reducing time spent on extra tasks. Learners will also experience less frustration if they know what to expect.

Establishing expectations, including instructor/learner and learner/learner interaction is important for keeping learners on track and for prioritizing responsibilities to help manage instructor and learner workload (Ladyshwesky, 2013).

Detailed interaction guidelines should be posted in the Course Information/Syllabus materials. These guidelines define course interaction protocol and set expectations on the frequency, response time, and quality of interactions expected from both instructors and learners.

References:

Ladyshewsky, R. (2013). Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 7(1), 1-23.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

RSI Dashboard illustrationThis standard is the letter of RSI. In well-designed online courses, expectations and strategies for regular and substantive instructor-student interactions are described in the syllabus, present in the course design, appropriate for the course length and structure, and are easy to find. For example, the course will provide information on expectations for:

  • Timely and individualized feedback on learner work.
  • Instructor-facilitated online discussions, or chat.
  • Regularly scheduled review/help sessions, tutorials, or office hours; mid-course, or end of course student feedback surveys/polls.
  • Individualized emails or other instructor-initiated individual or group communications.
  • Weekly announcements (impromptu, or scheduled/automated) covering aspects of the course, or providing guidance, encouragement, feedback, etc.

Online courses can support RSI by including communication plans for regular, predictable, and substantive instructor-to-learner interaction, and clearly stated expectations for timely and regular feedback from the instructor. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about course content, expectations, seeking help, and feedback, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on course topics, or to provide or to provide clarification, help, or feedback demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions/Resources

  • Create a “What You Can Expect from Me” video and include it in the course Welcome and Getting Started activities. Let learners know early in the course what they can expect from you, and what you expect from them.
  • Let learners know if you will be traveling, or unavailable at any time during the term.
  • Let learners know exactly how long it will take for you to grade, or to provide feedback on their work, including work that has been submitted late.
  • Notify learners if there will be any delay in feedback, including assignments and grades.
  • Acknowledge any delayed feedback you give. You would want the same from your learners!
  • Create an early assignment in the course to give learners the opportunity to practice using the course communication tools, trouble shoot problems, and create a reliable communication loop.
    • Ask students to respond in an assignment to confirm that learners have seen feedback, announcement, or instruction.
  • See SUNY Online RSI Resources.
  • Synchronous Interaction.
  • Asynchronous Interaction & Content Presentation.

Teaching Presence & Interaction

  • Use Weekly Announcements/Email/Messages (impromptu, or scheduled/automated)  to summarize assignments/interactions, explain assignments, and provide reminders/encouragements.
  • Send periodic class and individual check-in communications via email or course messages.
  • Send a midterm encouragement of some kind via email, video, or announcement, for the class and/or individual.
  • Provide an initial communications plan with contact information and preferred methods for course communications,
    • Provide details regarding how, when, and where instructors will provide extra help, answer questions, respond to emails, and provide feedback on assignments
    • Provide details regarding Virtual Office hours (schedule, calendar, how to book a time).
  • Document and communicate expectations regarding instructor response time, for communications, feedback, return assignments/assessments, questions, grades.
  • Provide feedback, class / individual, video, email, audio.
  • Design and engage in instructor-facilitated discussions and interactions on course concepts, content, activities, assignments, etc.
  • Design and guide interactions and collaborations between learners.

Built in to the Course Template/Design

  • Provide a Course Calendar/Schedule – that lists e.g., synchronous or asynchronous office hours, extra help sessions.
  • Provide Expectations for contact, feedback, and interaction are clear and findable.
  • Create an Ask the Professor discussion forum, associated with course modules, topics, activities.
  • Create an Ask a Question discussion forum, associated with course modules, topics, activities.
  • Produce/provide videos/audio content presentations/lectures with facilitated online discussion for interaction on course concepts with the instructor.
  • Develop and facilitate substantive online course content discussions: demonstrated by percentage of the grade.
  • Design and facilitate course activities, assignments, and assessments with instructor interaction, feedback, summaries/discussion. and or videos/audio.
  • Collect learner feedback for improvements in design/interaction in course for improvements, (not course evaluation). 

Explore Related Resources

It is widely recognized that good teaching includes instructor-student feedback, and in online courses, feedback takes a variety of forms, including both synchronous and asynchronous interactions. To understand better the types and frequency of instructor-student feedback interactions, this case study used document analysis to examine feedback in an online course over a full semester.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #37

OSCQR – Standard #37

Hyperlink text is descriptive and makes sense when out of context (avoid using “click here”).

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Not all learners are using mice or other “clicking” devices to navigate the links displayed on your course pages. Also, “here” is irrelevant for learners using assistive devices, such as screen readers.

Screen readers provide learners with the ability to hear only the links that appear on a page. Should a learner come across a page with “click here” used for every link, there would be no context related to any implied action to take in the course, and the learner would need to read through the entire page each time to access a specific link.

Links need to clearly explain where they are taking users, and should be described by using concrete (or proper) nouns or action verbs. Concrete nouns refer to something you can see, smell, taste, hear or touch. For example, Instead of “click here” to indicate a link to the library, the hyperlink can be assigned directly to the word “library.”

Action verbs let your learners know that they are doing something that is part of their learning pathway in an online course. “Subscribe to the Harvard Business Review” provides more information and more clearly directs them to an action required, in place of “click here” to subscribe.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Use the name of the destination page as your link text.
  • Associate every link with an action you want learners to take, and then revise your link text to match those actions.
  • Consider mapping each course link to a learning objective, and use that language to guide learner actions through those links.
  • Usability studies show that users catch their eyes on the first two words of a link, so start your links with the most important words for learners to follow.

Explore Related Resources

This explanation provides more information on the value of using direct language for links to promote effective navigation.
The W3C QA Tips are short documents explaining useful bits of knowledge for Web developers or designers, hosted and produced by the Quality Assurance Interest Group at W3C. This tip explores alternatives for “click here.”

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #36

OSCQR – Standard #36

Text, graphics, and images are understandable when viewed without color. Text should be used as a primary method for delivering information.

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Learners who have low vision or are color blind need high contrast between the text font and background in order to read. Using color as a highlight may not be readable by all learners, and they can miss out on key concepts if only color is used to make specific information stand out.

According to statistics:

  • 15% of the world’s population have some form of disability, which includes conditions that affect seeing, hearing, motor abilities and cognitive abilities.
  • About 4% of the population have low vision, whereas 0.6% are blind.
  • 7 to 12% of men have some form of color-vision deficiency (color blindness) (O’Connor, 2014).

In many cases, these conditions make it difficult to distinguish colors.

References:

O’Connor, C. (2014, October 22). Everything About Color Contrast And Why You Should Rethink It. Smashing Magazine.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestion

Explore Related Resources

This site from Portland Community College is an excellent resource that shows instructors how to make content in your classes accessible to all learners.
Hixon, E., Barczyk, C., Ralston-Berg, P., & Buckenmeyer, J. J. (2016). Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value?. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 19(4), 1-12.
Massengale, L. L., & Vasquez III, E. E. (2016). Assessing Accessibility: How Accessible are Online Courses for Students with Disabilities?. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 16(1), 69-79.
Raths, d. (2016). Your Course Accessibility Checklist. Campus Technology Magazine, 29(5), 24-26.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #35

OSCQR – Standard #35

A text equivalent for every non-text element is provided (“alt” tags, captions, transcripts, etc.), and audio description is provided for video-only content.

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Screen readers do not read images, which makes them inaccessible to learners with visual impairments who rely on those readers. If images are used, ALT (alternative) text, descriptive text needs to be provided.

For some images, alternative text is enough. If a complex photograph, chart, or diagram is displayed, visually impaired learners need more descriptive text, including a narrative that explains clearly what the image is and what it represents. In addition, audio descriptions should be provided for any video-only content.

As colleges and university need to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, those that use the Internet for course delivery must be prepared to delivery those courses through accessible means (Patrick, as quoted in Morris et all, 2016).

In compliance with accessibility guidelines, videos included in online courses need include closed captioning for learners that are hearing impaired. Captions are essential for hearing impaired learners, but are also useful for non-native English language learners who may have trouble understanding complex words.

References:

Morris, K. k., Frechette, C. f., Dukes III, L. l., Stowell, N. n., Topping, N. n., & Brodosi, D. B. (2016). Closed Captioning Matters: Examining the Value of Closed Captions for All Students. Journal of Postsecondary Education & Disability, 29(3), 231-238.
SUNY Electronic & Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Committee Final Report and Recommendations MAY 2019
SUNY Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy
From Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Ask your publisher about accessibility of course materials before selecting your next textbook.
  • Check your course content accessibility with the WAVE checker online.
  • For a video of cell mitosis, where there is no narration, just a visual illustration of the process, an audio description is provided.

Explore Related Resources

This site from Portland Community College is an excellent resource that shows instructors how to make content in your classes accessible to all learners.
Hixon, E., Barczyk, C., Ralston-Berg, P., & Buckenmeyer, J. J. (2016). Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value?. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 19(4), 1-12.
Massengale, L. L., & Vasquez III, E. E. (2016). Assessing Accessibility: How Accessible are Online Courses for Students with Disabilities?. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 16(1), 69-79.
Raths, d. (2016). Your Course Accessibility Checklist. Campus Technology Magazine, 29(5), 24-26.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #34

OSCQR – Standard #34

Text content is available in an easily accessed format, preferably HTML. All text content is readable by assistive technology, including a PDF or any text contained in an image.

Review These Explanations

Online courses may provide access for a more flexible learning experience for many learners, but the delivery platforms may hinder online courses access for learners with visual impairment, who rely on screen readers to process text (Huss & Eastep, 2016).

Text content is easier for screen readers to process, assuming that it is available in HTML. Instead of displaying as visual content, screen readers convert course text to speech so that learners can listen to the course content. Screen readers insert pauses for periods, semi-colons, commas, question marks, exclamation points, and ends of paragraphs.

Providing content that is accessible is critical to keeping learners with visual disabilities on track. PDF documents are not always designed to be compatible with screen readers. Compatible PDF documents are structured and have a very specific reading order so that assistive devices can translate them effectively.

References:

Huss, J., & Eastep, S. (2016). Okay, Our Courses Are Online, But Are They ADA Compliant?. I.E.: Inquiry In Education, 8(2), 1-21.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

Explore Related Resources

Adobe is an industry leader in accessibility and supports the creation of outstanding web experiences by encouraging developers to produce rich, engaging content that is accessible to all.
Hixon, E., Barczyk, C., Ralston-Berg, P., & Buckenmeyer, J. J. (2016). Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 19(4), 1-12.
Raths, d. (2016). Your Course Accessibility Checklist. Campus Technology Magazine, 29(5), 24-26.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #33

OSCQR – Standard #33

Course materials and resources include copyright and licensing status, clearly stating permission to share where applicable.

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Instructors need to be aware of the copyright and licensing status on all materials used in their online courses. Copyright infringement happens when works are copied, performed, or distributed without the permission of the copyright holder, or when those actions are not allowed under federal exceptions of copyright law. Understanding copyright and licensing status will guide faculty to make the right choices when integrating resources into their online courses, and to cite those sources properly.

Copyright and fair use can be complicated, and faculty should check with campus librarians for guidance on where to locate the licensing status of all materials, and how to cite and state copyright permissions appropriately.

Resources and materials in the course should all be properly cited. In doing so, instructors and programs model good academic citizenship. This can guide learners to respect the intellectual property of other, and explore effective practices on publishing new materials.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Check with campus librarians on copyright and fair use policies, and post these in the course information documents area.
  • Have a campus librarian review your online course for copyright and licensing compliance issues.
  • Create a video on copyright and fair use guidelines by interviewing your campus copyright expert. Include this in your course information documents area.
  • Use a copyright and fair use check list and review your course when you are done developing it. Repeat this checklist review each time you teach the course.
  • Explore the possibilities of using a Creative Commons license on materials that you create and distribute in your course.

Explore Related Resources

These copyright and fair use tips can guide your practice as you design and develop your online courses.
The Center for Media & Social Impact at American University is an innovation incubator and research center that creates, studies, and showcases media for social impact.
This guide from California State University, Long Beach, is designed to help faculty understand their role as it relates Copyright and Fair Use, especially in regards to legal use of their teaching materials.
Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. This site explores answers to common questions.
A collection of resources for faculty and librarians to use together to promote copyright and fair use compliance.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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OSCQR – Standard #32

OSCQR – Standard #32

Where available, Open Educational Resources, free, or low cost materials are used.

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SUNY/SUNY Online is committed to using low cost instructional materials wherever possible in order to reduce the financial burden on learners. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are educational materials that are considered to be in the public domain, or have an open use license. This means that anyone can legally use and in some cases adapt and re-share these resources.

OERs are available to support a wide range of disciplines and can take the form of complete textbooks, lectures, assignments, labs, simulations, interactive modules, projects, exams, animations, videos, games, and other course support materials.

There are more than one billion distinct pieces of OER content available (McShane, 2017), so learning how to search and find appropriate resources is key. SUNY OER Services offers a ready-to-adopt course catalog, facilitates the seamless integration of openly licensed content into learning management systems, and assists SUNY faculty, librarians, and staff in the remixing of openly licensed content from various sources, and provides access to the offline (print) production of learning materials.

References:

Mcshane, M. Q. (2017). Open Educational Resources. Education Next, 17(1), 18-24.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Check with your campus librarian to see what OERs might fit best with your course curriculum.
  • Explore the MERLOT repository (https://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm) for learning material and interactive lessons to include in your course.
  • Explore related Open Educational Resources at OER Commons (https://www.oercommons.org/) to include in your course.

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores methods and approaches to integrating OERs into your online course content to benefit learner success.

Open Educational Resources: A Significant Movement in Education
The global movement of utilizing Open Educational Resources (OER) to enhance or build course content is rapidly growing amongst educators (Hilton, Wiley, Stein & Johnson, 2010). Faculty are using OER to provide access to educational materials at little to no cost, allowing for up-to-date, relevant and accessible content to students. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Dreon, O., & Szczyrbak, G. (2017). Understanding Open Educational Resources. Online Classroom, 17(2), 3-7.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.

OSCQR – Standard #31RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #31RSI Dashboard illustration

Course provides activities that emulate real world applications of the discipline, such as experiential learning, case studies, and problem-based activities.

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Relevance is central to adult learning. (Knowles, 1984). When the adult learner can apply a learning activity to practical value beyond the duration of the course, relevance is established between the stated learning objective, the learning activity, and the assessment of that activity.

Experiential learning, case studies, and problem-based activities are designed to immerse learners in real world scenarios, with the goal of having learners build on their existing knowledge and skills to analyze specific problems and find solutions. These activities engage learners by having them establish what they know and don’t know, work together to come up with real-world solutions, share those solutions, and review possible results.

According to Kolb (1984), experiential learning relies on four elements:

  • Experience;
  • Critical reflection;
  • Abstract conceptualization; and
  • Active experimentation in a new situation.

Through experience, online learners are led to make observations and reflections. From there, abstract concepts are explored through critical reflection, which learners can then actively test and evaluate. This process engages the learners in scaffolding what they already know, and creating new knowledge.

References:

Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston: Gulf Publishing.

Kolb, D. A., (1984), Experiential Learning: Experience as a Source of Learning and Development, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall.

Louis Deslauriers, Logan S McCarty, Kelly Miller, Kristina Callaghan, and Greg Kestin. 2019. Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 39, Pp. 19251–19257.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSI

Activities that are instructor-guided, or instructor facilitated, where the instructor interacts directly with online learners, and on a scheduled and predictable basis are how regular and substantive interactions  are expressed in an online course. The role of the instructor is active and involved (e.g., a consistent instructor presence is visible throughout the design of the course, and it is clear that the instructor is an attentive, engaged participant in course interactions. RSI can be designed into an online course by:

  • Designing activities where the instructor plays an active role.
  • Answering questions about an activity.
  • Provide guidance during, provide feedback, and evaluation after an activity that is instructor-facilitated.
  • Including optional synchronous interactions.
  • Providing instructor-created video content.
  • Practicum/studio/lab/hand’s-on experiences: An opportunity is provided to interact with the course preceptor, or instructor on goals of the practicum activity, and the opportunities for self-assessment and feedback are provided based on the practicum objectives/goals.

Direct interaction with the instructor around these types of course activities, such as guiding, asking questions, and providing feedback to deepen learning and understanding in an online discussion forum, for example, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling specific instructor-facilitated course discussions/interactions, question and answer, or help and feedback sessions (group or individual) course content and activities demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Support and Promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access.
  • Instructor presence in these types of online course activities (real-world, hand’s on, problems, cases, experiences) helps learners to develop their own individual understanding of how to apply the course content in ways that are relevant and important beyond the course context.
  • Create scenario-based discussion forums for learners to interact in. Establish and assign roles for learners within those scenarios.
  • Use mini-cases as pre-lab work where learners can see what might go wrong before they are actually immersed in an online lab.
  • Have learners create and facilitate course related scenarios.
  • Have learners turn in reflective essays along with applied learning activities to measure critical thinking and reflection stages of the process.
  • Assign “offline” activities to learners, and have the learners “debrief” in the online environment.
  • Require foreign language learners to interact with native speakers (online) and summarize their experiences.
  • Have learners document their real-world experiences through digital storytelling tools.
  • Explore MERLOT for case studies that you can integrated into your course.

Resources

Expzore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practices from TOPR explore methods and approaches that incorporate real-world applications and promote experiential and problem-based learning in online courses to benefit learner success.

Anchored Instruction
Anchored instruction is the process of presenting instruction in the context of an authentic environment with problems or issues which learners must resolve. The problems or issues which are presented to learners in the authentic environment are “anchors” which link learning of content and skills to authentic tasks and activities in which the learning must used. (Read more …)
Assign Collaborative Experiential Learning While Partnering With Clients
While there is sometimes resistance to group collaborations in online learning, (Smith et al., 2011, p 121) adding a collaborative experiential learning component can more deeply engage students AND provide them the opportunity to develop an array of competencies including “coordinating across time zones and geographic locations, developing computer skills, enhancing internet search skills, and interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds” (Johnson, 2013, p 34). (Read more …)
Engage Adult Learners with Course-Long Role Play
Role playing in the context of educational simulations has been cited as a particularly engaging strategy for online courses (Ausburn, 2004; Bender, 2005; Cornelius, Gordon, and Ackland, 2011; Lytle, Lytle, and Brophy, 2006; and Serby, 2011). Such role playing when conducted for an extended time period (e.g., for the duration of an academic term) in the context of as realistic as possible tasks may be particularly engaging for adult learners (Ausburn, 2004 and Ausburn, 2004). (Read more …)
Problem-Based Learning
Problem-Based Learning is an instructional strategy in which students learn the subject matter of a course and the related skills by solving real-world problems and reflecting on their experiences of solving the problem/s. In Problem-Based Learning, students may be given a specific course-related problem to solve or they may be provided with a selection of related problems from which they can choose. (Read more …)
Use Online Debates to Enhance Classroom Engagement
A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. Student-generated debate presentations can become a welcome change from the call and response format of the typical online discussion board interactions. (Read more …)
Use Pop Culture to Energize Online Discussions
Faculty want to get to know their students and they want to provide them with opportunities to get to know them and each other (Phillips 2008). So how can faculty foster increased student interaction and engagement with the material, with the faculty member, and with other students? (Read more …)
Using Mobile Apps to Facilitate Project-Based Learning
Project-based learning is a method of inquiry-based learning where students are required to develop an end product using their knowledge of a specific topic. In most cases, the product is directly applicable or usable in the real world. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Lee, S., Ngampornchai, A., Trail-Constant, T., Abril, A., & Srinivasan, S. (2016). Does a case-based online group project increase students’ satisfaction with interaction in online courses?. Active Learning In Higher Education, 17(3), 249-260.

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