Basic Development Standards

Here are 8 standards for good practice in course design for online instruction. We recommend that you check your own course against these standards.

#1 – COMMON HOME PAGE

Instructional Designers at Marshall University Online strive to design pages for all courses that have a similar look and similar navigational strategies. Our student instructional designers will create your course pages for you, and will give you any assistance you may need.

If you need course design help, please contact our instructional designers at x7117

#2 – COURSE SYLLABUS

Your course syllabus for your online class or classes must include the same syllabi items you would include for the traditional classes you would teach at Marshall. The online course syllabus must contain additional information related to online course instruction and delivery. Click here for a generic syllabus with all the required items.

#3 – STUDENT COURSE ORIENTATION

Information must be included on your online course homepage to orient the students as to (1) how your course is structured and (2) how online tools are used in the course. We suggest building in a clearly labeled set of course orientation instructions such as a page called “orientation” or “start here.” Our student instructional designers will create the orientation instructions for you and will give you any assistance you may need.

If you need course design help, please contact our instructional designers at x7117

#4 – STUDENT INTERACTION

Where applicable, we strongly recommend that you build into your course a means for students to interact with each other and with you. Online discussion and chat are two methods of doing this. Your role in online discussions can take various forms: you can set the initial question and provide prompts, intervene when necessary, or just turn the students loose.

PLEASE NOTE: For courses taught completely online, mandatory face-to-face activities and meetings should not be scheduled.

#5 – STUDENT DEADLINES AND INSTRUCTOR FEEDBACK

We highly recommend that you set up regular deadlines for assignment submission and exams, much like the deadlines you may use in a traditional class. This helps students maintain a consistent pace for completing course work. It is especially important to require a very early assignment or a message from the student to the instructor. The sooner students start their work, the more likely they are to finish.

Online students expect quick response. Please be sure to be very clear on when students may expect feedback. Please maintain frequent and regular communication online with students throughout the semester, and alert them if you will be temporarily unavailable.

#6 – USE APPROPRIATE ONLINE MATERIALS

We encourage faculty to take advantage of all electronic media that is available and appropriate for your course content. Since web pages often change, faculty need to monitor the links you use regularly. All the links that you use for instruction must be in good working order.

As you plan the content for an online course, please consider:

  1. Are the file sizes appropriate (not too large) and download times worth the wait?
  2. Are audio clips and video clips supported by text for the disabled?

Copyright issues are extremely important. As the course instructor, it is your legal responsibility to identify copyrighted materials used in your courses and to cite it appropriately or obtain written permission to use it–before the beginning of the course. The course must be in compliance with the TEACH act. Visit our Copyright Basics page for detailed information.

#7 – COURSE EQUIVALENCE

An online course is equivalent to a traditional class except in the delivery format. Courses offered at Marshall University Online are the same as traditional courses, with equivalent objectives and outcomes. We recommend that you encourage your students to spend an equivalent amount of time preparing for and participating in an online course as they would spend in a traditional class.

#8 – HIGH QUALITY COURSE

Posting material to the Internet is a form of publication that reflects not only your own work but that of Marshall University. Our goal is that every course offered on MUOnLine meet the highest professional publishing standards of each faculty member’s discipline. In closing, please be sure that your course materials are professional in appearance and error-free.