OSCQR – Standard #6RSI Dashboard illustration

OSCQR – Standard #6RSI Dashboard illustration

Course provides access to online learner success resources (support services, orientation, academic honesty, tutoring, technical help).

Review These Explanations

As more online services are available on-demand (24/7), online learners turn to campus services with high expectations. Easy access to online student supports and services such as technical help, orientation resources, tutoring services and other available online learner supports and services will limit frustration, and enable learners to find and access the help they need, when they need it.

In many cases, links to campus and SUNY Online supports and technical help will be included on the LMS home page, with instructions on how to access various offices, such as IT departments via phone, email, or ticketing system. As many learners bypass the home page, it is important to include this information within the Course Information materials, or within specific course assignments that may require direct technical assistance.

Providing direct links to online learner supports, such as library and tutoring services within the Course Information materials, as well as within individual assignments, will make it easier for learners to be aware of, become familiar with, and access these resources. When including links to tutoring, or orientation resources, provide the instructor’s perspective on the benefits of using these services to further their learning goals and succeed in the course and/or program. Learners should also know what non-academic student supports are available, and how to access them.

Connecting online learners to support services and  resources at the course level will open opportunities to explore available services, and more fully use those services to their benefit.

Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

How This Standard Supports RSIRSI Dashboard illustration

This standard can support regular and substantive interaction by making it clear how the instructor intends to support online learner success, making it clear how the learner can get help, or access materials and resources for assistance, and by providing suggestions, and opportunities for interaction, question and answer, clarification, advisement, and direct learner support on these topics. Supporting online learner success is one of the main roles and responsibilities of the online instructor, which can be articulated in both the design and expectations set for interaction and delivery of the course. Directing learners to ask questions and interact with the instructor about these topics, such as in an online discussion forum, further supports RSI, and is a good general practice. Scheduling a specific instructor-facilitated discussion on these topics demonstrates compliance with RSI.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  1. On many SUNY campuses links are inserted into online courses to help learners easily find/navigate to relevant administrative, academic, and technical resources available to the online learner. The content and links are typically maintained by campus staff to ensure that they are current and easily accessible.
  2. Provide explicit details on how to contact appropriate services. For example, create a short screencast video, with an overview of where to locate and how to access learner support services and resources, and include it in the course information materials area of the course.
  3. Include links to online tutoring, writing, library services in relevant assignments and/or course projects.
  4. Ask the tutoring, writing, library services to provide you with a video orientation that you can share in your course information, or assignment areas.
  5. Invite a learner support staff member to a virtual class meeting to give an orientation and overview of the academic and non-academic resources, supports, and services available for online learners.
  6. Create a folder of materials to help scaffold self-regulated learning strategies and support online learner success. Refer learners to those resources during the course, and provide a forum for asking questions or seeking assistance.
  7. Set up automated announcements that highlight the technical help, orientation resources, tutoring services, and other available online learner supports, that are timed to align with assignments, or other term events where additional assistance might be needed.
  8. Regarding academic honesty, the example below (couches in a positive way) how the online course design can alert learners to use of an academic integrity tool:
    • The purpose of using this tool is to improve academic integrity, foster fairness, and promote original thinking. The software tool generates a report that shows you how much of your work “matches” another’s work.  This will allow you to make the necessary revisions to your work so that your integrity is not called into question. The goal is to enable both you and me to assess the authenticity and originality of your written work.
  9. There are a number of things that online instructors can do to support online learner success. Online learners can also support their own success. Being aware of the best practices and strategies that support online learner self-regulation and self-efficacy can inform online course design and approaches to online teaching and learning.

Support Online Learner Success

  • Be timely in your interactions and with your feedback.
  • Encourage learner self-assessment and self-reflection.
  • Provide opportunities for students to make choices in course assignments that allow them to relate them to their real lives, or to use their skills and interests.
  • Encourage peer evaluation.
  • Encourage peer support and peer interaction and collaboration in the course to address and alleviate the sense of isolation online students feel.
  • Provide a course schedule with assignments and due dates to make planning and time management easier.
  • Use the grade book make learner self-monitoring of progress in the course easier.
  • Leverage early alerts systems, such as Starfish, to identify learners at risk and take preventive action.
  • Provide exemplar/model assignments.
  • Create an environment where students feel they have access to you, their classmates, resources, and help – and where their questions can get answered.
  • Recognize and acknowledge student success, effort, and accomplishments with course work, life challenges, and with technology used in the course.
  • Draw student attention to how the skills they develop in your course and the material they learn will be useful in their real life and will help them be successful in the future.
  • Reassure students that they can be successful in your course and give them tips on how (for example, collect stories from and suggestions from past students in the form of advice for future student).

Support Academic Honesty

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

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores the purpose and benefits of using screencasting tools. Explore the possibilities of using these tools to connect learners to services and help centers.

Use Screencasts to Provide Learners Tutorials or to Explain Harder to Grasp Concepts
Screencasting refers to as a digitally recorded playback of computer screen output which often contains audio narration (Udell, 2005). Faculty choose to use them to record portions of lectures to provide overview, describe procedures, present concepts, focus attention and elaborate content. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Burns, S., Cunningham, J., & Foran-Mulcahy, K. (2014). Asynchronous Online Instruction: Creative Collaboration for Virtual Student Support. CEA Critic, 76(1), 114-131.
Carnevale, D. (2007). Late-Night Stress on the IT Help Desk. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(11), A29.
Whipp J.L., &  Chiarelli, S.,  (December2004) Self-Regulation in a Web-Based Course: A Case Study, Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol. 52, No. 4 : 5-21.

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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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