How OSCQR supports RSI

How OSCQR supports RSI

Best practices in high quality online courses assume regular and substantive interaction (RSI) between the online instructors and learners that is articulated in both the design and delivery of the course. OSCQR provides standards that can be used to guide and improve the instructional design of an online course, including explanations of  instructor intentions and expectations for aspects of the delivery of the online course.

RSI is still in the process of being understood, interpreted, and implemented. One can take a very strict /narrow interpretation, and the argument can be made that there are related practices that are more loosely supportive of RSI and good, general overall effective online practices.

RSI-related OSCQR Standards

OSCQR is a tool that looks ONLY at the instructional design of a course NOT the delivery, and includes effective practices beyond RSI. So, RSI has to be visible in the online course design of content, instructions, stated expectations, and dedicated spaces/areas/forums within the course, to apply/test against OSCQR standards.

OSCQR can be leveraged by faculty, instructional designers, departments, and institutions to assist in planning, designing, improving, documenting, and implementing online courses/programs that are in compliance with RSI regulations. However, there are multiple interconnected factors and activities that must be in place to support RSI. Faculty training, awareness, experience, skill, engagement, and delivery are essential additional aspects that will impact the success of any RSI/online course quality initiative, as are institutional/departmental policy, approaches, resources, support, and monitoring. To that end:

  1. OSCQR standards serve as guidelines and effective practices in new online course development and online course review of existing online courses to guide online course design, refresh, and online faculty development activities to support RSI compliance.
  2. OSCQR standards can be used by online faculty and instructional designers in faculty self-assessments, faculty training activities, resource materials, course reviews reviews, as recommendations and standards to support and document how the online course meets the RSI requirements.

Over all, it is important to keep in mind that the main purpose of the RSI regulation is to differentiate between distance and correspondence courses for financial aid purposes. Even without any changes to OSCQR, a SUNY course with a good online instructional designer and conscientious online instructor would be able to document and demonstrate RSI compliance.

By updating OSCQR with the RSI lens, we are just trying to make that a little clearer and easier.