Online Instruction

Definition:The Online Instruction policy defines online, hybrid, and web-facilitated courses, and delineates student, faculty, and university responsibilities with regard to online instruction.
Authority:The President of the University
Scope:All CSUSM online and hybrid credit-bearing courses, course sections, and degree programs.
Responsible Division:Academic Affairs
Approval Date:06/27/2012
Implementation Date:06/27/2012
Originally Implemented:09/30/2009
Signature Page/PDF:View Signatures for Online Instruction Policy


Procedure

I. Definitions

Online Course - A course where most or all of the content is delivered online. Typically has no face-to-face meetings.

Hybrid Course (Blended) – A course that blends online and face-to-face delivery. Substantial proportion of the content is delivered online, typically uses online discussions, and typically has a reduced number of face-to-face meetings.

Web-Facilitated Course – A course that uses web-based technology to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. May use a course management system or web pages to post the syllabus and assignments.

II. Preamble

Technology is changing quickly and influencing the development of new models of teaching and learning. At the same time, these new technologies are playing an increasingly important role in society. The purpose of this policy is to provide continuity in the quality and climate of the educational environment as we move to incorporate online instruction into the mainstream of instruction at California State University San Marcos.  This policy shall apply to all credit-bearing courses, course sections, and degree programs offered partially (hybrid) or fully online by California State University San Marcos.

III. Principles for Online Instruction

A. Student Support and Information

  1. All course sections that are offered solely or partially through online instruction shall provide the opportunity for appropriate and timely interactions between faculty and students and among students.
  2. Students have the right to know the modes of delivery, including any on-campus meeting requirements, and technological requirements of each course section, program and degree offered by the University. Students will have access to this information before enrolling in a course section or program.
  3. Criteria for student success in online and hybrid course sections and programs will be as rigorous and comprehensive as those used in classroom-based course sections, and these criteria will be clearly communicated to students.
  4. Students enrolled in online or hybrid course sections are subject to the same academic regulations applicable to students enrolled in any CSUSM course section. Academic standards regarding cheating, plagiarism, and appropriate behavior will be clearly communicated to students in online and hybrid course sections and programs. (For example, see Academic Honesty Policy.)
  5. Students taking online course sections have the same basic privileges as other CSUSM students. Each student enrolled in an online course section or program shall be informed of available instructional support, student services/advisers, library resources, and support services for students with disabilities.
  6. Technical support consistent with that available to all other CSUSM students shall be made available to students in online course sections and programs.
  7. In accordance with the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative, accessible design will be incorporated into the creation of all new course sections with online components (web facilitated, hybrid or online) by fall term 2012. Existing online course content will be made accessible as online materials are redesigned or modified or when a student with a disability enrolls in the course.

B. Faculty Support, Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Criteria for student success in online and hybrid course sections and programs shall be as rigorous and comprehensive as those used in classroom-based course sections, and these criteria shall be clearly communicated to students.
  2. Students enrolled in online or hybrid course sections are subject to the same academic regulations applicable to students enrolled in any CSUSM course section. Academic standards regarding cheating, plagiarism, and appropriate behavior shall be clearly communicated to students in online and hybrid course sections and programs. [For example, see Academic Honesty Policy.]
  3. In accordance with the provisions of the CSU/CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement, faculty shall have the same control and ownership of the substantive and intellectual content of their online course-related materials that faculty have with respect to their face-to-face courses.
  4. Faculty shall follow the guidelines established by the CSU San Marcos Policy on Fair Use of Copyrighted Works for Education and Research.
  5. Faculty teaching a fully online course section will use the Student Evaluation of Instruction Form for Online Courses. 
  6. Because online instruction involves the use of technologies and teaching methods that require specialized training, the University shall offer training and support to faculty.
  7. Any faculty member who teaches online shall have the opportunity to receive training in online instruction and is responsible for making use of university-offered resources and training. Ideally, development of course materials to offer a new online course should begin a semester in advance.
  8. Each time a new or existing course section will be taught online, the instructor will contact Academic Technology Services within IITS to ensure that the course will be linked in the online course index and to allow time for technical support.
  9. In accordance with the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative, accessible design will be incorporated into the creation of all new course sections with online components (web facilitated, hybrid or online) by fall term 2012. Existing online course content will be made accessible as online materials are redesigned or modified or when a student with a disability enrolls in the course.
  10. All online and hybrid courses listed in the Class Schedule shall normally be hosted on California State University servers or other servers approved by the Dean of IITS and Chief Information Officer.
  11. Any course section that uses online instruction shall indicate so in the course syllabus. In addition to information specified in the Syllabus Guidelines, the following information is recommended to be included in course syllabi for online and hybrid course sections:
    a. Prerequisite technical competencies
    b. Contact information for technical assistance
    c. Course requirements for participation
    d. Statement on how the course complies with the campus Credit Hour policy
    e. Instructor contact information [faculty teaching a fully online course section must have a regularly scheduled office hour during which they are available through an on-line technology appropriate to the course (on-line discussion group, telephone, web chat, Skype, etc.), and / or be available by appointment]
    f. On-campus meeting requirements, if applicable
  12. Faculty have a right to know, and department chairs and program directors have the responsibility to inform faculty, of  the modes of delivery, including any on-campus meeting requirements, and technological requirements of relevant course sections, programs, or degrees offered by the department or the program. Faculty shall have access to this information before being assigned any course.

IV. Approval of Online Courses and Degree Programs

A. New Online Degree Programs

New online degree programs or program modifications (including majors, minors, options, certificates and subject matter preparation programs) shall be reviewed in accordance with the usual Program Proposal process. Any department or program in which at least 50% of the instruction is offered online shall be required to meet Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) substantive change requirements. [See http://www.wascweb.org] The campus WASC Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) shall ensure that the university is in compliance with WASC reporting requirements concerning the percentage of programs offered on line.

B. New Online Courses

New online courses are approved through the regular curriculum review process, following the same process as any new course.

C. Converting Existing Courses or Sections to an Online Format

In the case of existing courses, approval for the use of online instruction is within the purview of the department and/or program subject to the principles set forth in this Policy.

D. Compliance of Existing Online Courses and Sections

Extant courses or sections that fit the definition of an online or hybrid course shall not be offered after spring term 2012 if they do not comply with this policy and have not received the appropriate approvals required by this policy.  Each college dean shall be responsible for ensuring compliance.