Basic Development Standards

Common Home Page


Instructional Designers in the MUOnLine Design Centers strive to design pages for all courses that have a similar look and similar navigational strategies. Our student instructional designers will help you create your course pages, and will give you any assistance you may need in order to learn how to add materials to Blackboard.

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

Course Syllabus


Your course syllabus for your online class or classes must include the same items you would include for the face-to-face classes you would teach at Marshall, such as course outcomes and objectives, grading scales, contact information, etc. The online course syllabus must also contain additional information related to online course instruction, delivery, netiquette, and typical response times to name a few.

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 “Start Here.” Our instructional designers can help you create a Start Here are of your course and we provide a Start Here template, which designers can copy into your course section for you.

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

Student Interaction


Online courses must utilize tools in Blackboard for students to interact with each other and you. Course discussion, blogs, chat, and holding virtual office hours or meeting spaces are some of the ways to accomplish this. Online courses will not pass the review process unless there are ways for students and the professor(s) to interact with each other.

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

Student Deadlines & 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 for students to receive a message from you when they login to the course, and for the student to complete a low stakes assignment or discussion post upon starting the course. 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.

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:

Are the file sizes appropriate (not too large) and download times worth the wait?
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 Copyright provisions pertaining to Education outlined in Title 17 of the US Code. Access the university copyright site for more information.

Course Equivalence


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

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.