OSCQR – Standard #7

OSCQR – Standard #7

Course information states whether the course is fully online, blended, or web-enhanced.

Review These Explanations

Learners need to know how they can expect to interact with course content, other learners, and the instructor. This includes knowing how much of their learning will be taking place online, and how much, if any, will be taking place face-to-face.

Along with campus listings, all initial communication from the instructor should clearly indicate whether the course is fully online, and if any course components require learners to come to a specific location (virtual or physical) at any time throughout the term.

For fully online courses, learners will need to know that they can access learning materials, interactions, and assignments at any time. Specific time frames can (and should) be established, but the main premise is that there is no requirement for everyone to be in the same place online at the same time.

If a synchronous session is scheduled, learners need to know when and how to access and participate in the session, and where to find links to session recordings if they are unable to attend.

For blended courses, learners will need a clear understanding of the ratio between synchronous and asynchronous requirements. A blended class combines the components of a face-to-face course and an online course with the instructor balancing out the time learners spend in both places. In a blended course, learners might meet face-to-face once a week and spend the rest of the week online, exploring readings, participating in asynchronous discussions, completing projects, etc. To be considered a blended course some combination of content, interaction, or assessment would need to take place online and some needs to be in the classroom.

A web enhanced course is a face-to-face course that has online components added, like a course web page with resources, or an LMS course site with handouts, online exams and additional resources included. Learners need to know exactly what will be required of them in the online space, and how to access and interact with the course online companion site.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Include information about the structure of the course (online, blended, web-enhanced) in the course syllabus.
  • Indicate whether the course is fully online, blended, or web-enhanced in the first few messages sent out to learners.
  • Be explicit in the course welcome video about the online components of the course, and indicate when and where learners need to meet – online and/or in-person.
  • Create a course map that illustrates a timeline of online and offline content, interaction, and assessment elements required each week in your course.
  • Describe the relationship between online activities and in-class activities in a blended or web-enhanced course.
  • Create a course calendar that includes assignment due dates, and dates for virtual office hours or face-to-face sessions in a blended or web-enhanced course.

Explore Related Resources

Aycock, A., Garnham, C., & Kaleta, R. (March 20, 2002). Lessons learned from the hybrid course project. Teaching with Technology Today, 8(6), 1-6.
Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., Moskal, P., Sorg, S., & Truman, B. (2004). Three ALN modalities: An institutional perspective. In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of Quality Online Education: Into the Mainstream (pp. 127-148). Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education.

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.

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