Standards and Policies


Collaborating with faculty to ensure the highest standards are maintained in the online learning experience is our goal. This rubric reflects practices and design standards that have been shown to increase learner engagement and success in online learning environments in online courses. All new and redeveloped online courses are expected to meet these essential standards. OEC Instructional Designers support and partner with faculty to ensure standards are met. 

Standards for Hybrid Course Design: Marshall University Hybrid Course Checklist

Based on research-based best practices and Marshall faculty feedback, the Design Center created a hybrid course approval process as an alternative to QM, which is more focused on online courses. The checklist below reflects the key principles of exceptional hybrid courses and the goals to support those principles. 

View Checklist

Standards for Distance Education: Marshall University Distance Course Checklist

This checklist serves as an aid for Distance Course development. Please be sure to consult this checklist when preparing to submit a course for development to the Design Team.

Distance Checklist

Standards for Online Teaching: Quality Matters

In 2012, MU adopted the Quality Matters (QM) program to meet the online teaching endorsement outlined in MU BOG AA-46.  MU will cover instructor tuition, but you must complete the class to obtain certification. 

Quality Matters Certification

Accessibility Standards: Ally for Accessibility

Blackboard Ally works to gauge the accessibility of your course content and provide instructors and designers with guidance and tips for lasting improvements.

  • Receive feedback on the accessibility of your content.
  • Improve content accessibility with step-by-step instructions.

In addition to providing you with insight to your content’s accessibility, Ally automatically creates alternative versions of your files. This allows students to choose the type of file that suits their needs. While you are in the process of improving your files, students can still get accessible-friendly copies.

Quick Start   Improve File Accessibility   FAQs



Blackboard Outcomes allows us to add goal alignment to an assignment or assessment for the purpose of tracking program outcomes or accreditation standards. Using Blackboard will give your program trackable data to use for program or accreditation reporting, and help your department align your assignments to your standards.  

Adding Alignment to Your Assignment in Blackboard Learn (classic)

Once your assignment has been created, click the drop-down arrow beside the name of the assignment. Click Add Alignments. 

  1. When the Discover Goals box pops up, click Goal Type. Here you will see types of goals: Accreditation Standards, General Education Outcomes, and Program Outcomes. For example, click General Education Outcomes to attach a Gen Ed Outcome to your assignment. 
  2. Choose the goal(s) that align to your assignment. Click Submit. Your goal(s) should now be visible to you under the assignment information.
Faculty Quick Guide

Adding Alignment to Your Assignment in Blackboard Ultra (new)

  1. Go to any Assignment you wish to align to outcomes. In the Assignment Settings menu (right margin), click the Gear icon.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom to select Goals & Standards under Additional Tools.
  3. You will now see the Browse Criteria menu. Select General Education for Goal Set Type.  Select Baccalaureate Degree Profile for Category.  This will narrow the Criteria Summary at the bottom of the page.
  4. Under Criteria Summary, select which outcomes to align and click Submit in the bottom right corner.

See the Faculty Quick Guide for an example of how to align an assignment to the Baccalaureate Degree Profile. 

Faculty Quick Guide


Additional Information
If your department is interested in having Program Outcomes or Accreditation Standards available on Blackboard, assessment directors may contact: 

Mary Welch, Instructional Designer


MaryBeth Reynolds, Associate V.P. for Assessment & Quality Initiatives





The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protects student’s rights and privacy in regard to their information and educational records. It is important to understand the basics of FERPA in order to make the right decision in various scenarios related to higher education.


Students must be permitted to view their own education record and school officials shall not release or disclose any personally identifiable information about students to others, or inspect student records without their permission (except in cases that are covered by the act, such as a school official who has a legitimate education interest because they need the information to fulfill their professional responsibility).

What is “personally identifiable information?

  • Name of the student, their family members and guardians, or any other family member.
  • The campus or home address.
  • Social security number or student I.D. number (901).
  • A list of personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity easily known or traceable.

Real-life scenarios

  • An instructor records a face-to-face class discussion and posts it in another class, an e-course. The students are heard on audio, discussing course content. Does it violate FERPA to add this audio to the e-course? Yes, because the voice of a student is personally identifiable.
  • An instructor prints out a grade sheet at the end of the semester and posts it on their door so students can see their final grade. Big no-no.
  • Person calls the library and asks if a student is there, or if they’ve been seen. Can we tell them any information about our students? No, however, if the call does seem like it is from a concerned parent, please refer them to Campus Police.

What is NOT part of the education record?

  • Personal class notes
  • Law enforcement records
  • Any record maintained while serving in an employee capacity
  • Doctor-patient privilege records
  • Alumni records

University Policy Regarding Proxy Access to Records

Marshall’s Office of Student Affairs has an informational page that explains FERPA to students and parents, as well as provides students with instructions on how to grant a proxy access to their educational records.


Title IX

Title IX covers more than just sports for women; Title IX covers all instances of discrimination, assault, or harassment on a college campus. Institutions that receive federal aid are required to report all instances of reported Title IX policy violations annually per the Clery Act.


Title IX complaints include complaints regarding sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, discrimination, domestic violence, & stalking. Visit our online Form to File a Complaint.

The University prohibits Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation as defined in this the Policy by or against any member of the University community (together, “Prohibited Conduct”). These forms of Prohibited Conduct are defined in the Marshall University BOG GA-1 Policy.

Mandatory Reporters

As employees that interact with students, we are all considered mandatory reporters. Being a mandatory reporter means you are required to submit a complaint that you hear from a student, see for your own eyes, or overhear if the information clearly violates one or more of our university policies.

Examples of Policy Violations: 

  • Discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Misconduct/Relationship Violence
  • Stalking
  • Retaliation

How to file a complaint

Complaints can be filed anonymously if you are not comfortable reporting your personal information. If you are reporting on behalf of a student or another employee, please provide as much information you can regarding their names and contact information, even if you wish to stay anonymous.


What happens once a complaint is filed

The Title IX team will immediately address any concern that is timely: violence on campus, people in danger, student in danger, etc. Once the complaint is reviewed, the Complainant and Respondent will each be notified and will speak with the Title IX Coordinator. Each party will be assigned an advisor.

The first step is to offer mediation. If mediation does is not sufficient, the case moves forward. The first step in a case is to offer alternative resolution (Respondent can at that time accept responsibility and sanction–Respondent can accept responsibility at any time and the investigation will cease). No case where violence of any type is involved, or stalking, will be up for alternative resolution. If the case still cannot be resolved, the complaint then moves to an investigation.

The Student Disciplinary procedures outlines the steps of this process, as well as the steps of an investigation, very succinctly in Appendix B:




Course archiving will continue at the end of each term since Blackboard will only house the last 24 months of live course content on the hosted server on a rolling basis. We will help you save your content! Consult the course archiving page for instructions.  We do not delete Development courses that have had instructor interactions within the past 36 months.

After April 1, 2022, we will only retrieve old live sections in case of accreditation needs or long-lasting grade appeals. You can also export an Excel file of the Grade Center from old courses by going to Full Grade Center, scrolling over the Work Offline tab, and clicking Download.

Please read our FAQs for instructions on saving your own course.  The archival of previously live courses is a process that will be maintained. We are a managed hosted institution and must ensure that we do not exceed allotted space. Blackboard is also not a repository for information, so there are many years of live course sections that we must backup, archive, and remove from their server. Online Learning and IT will assist in archiving courses from on a scheduled basis. Important Note: It is not Marshall University or Blackboard’s policy to destroy course data or files. We are simply archiving older sections of courses and moving them to external hard drives to free up our server space and stay in line with University policy of archiving course sections that are older than two years. IT will maintain a copy of the archived course sections for 24 months after the time the course was archived, according to university records management policies.

2022-23 Archiving Schedule

Term Course Removal Date
Summer 2020 July 15
Fall 2020 September 16
Spring 2021 February 17
Summer 2021 July 23
Fall 2021 September 15

Course Archiving FAQs

For every type of Blackboard course you use, ensure that you have a Development section for it that is current and reflects your updated content.
No. We are only archiving past live course sections.
No. This is why we are asking you to have an updated Development course for each class you teach.
Absolutely. We recognize that you deliver content differently. Please specify this information when you request Development courses.
You can save any course section and keep it on your own drive. Please see the Blackboard Help site for Exporting and Archiving Courses for instructions. If you would like to keep back copies of your live courses, we recommend you start a habit of backing up and saving your courses at the end of each semester.
Yes. Course archiving will continue on a rolling basis, per the archiving schedule.
There are several…A few benefits we will see immediately are:

1. The addition of free space on the servers that house Blackboard courses. This can increase Blackboard’s functionality and speed.

2. We are asking faculty to stop copying their old live sections into their new live sections and instead copy from a development course. If we keep copying course-to-course-to-course, eventually your course will break because with every copy it brings along a FULL set of copies of files and data. Copy from Development sections and you can ready your course for the next semester before the live course is even available!

3. We are committed to making all course content in Blackboard accessible to all students, and we can do this with Blackboard Ally. Having a development section that can be updated and made accessible is the start to making all content available to students from all walks of life.

4. Having less material on our server space will allow us to update Blackboard more frequently with less downtime and easier “fixes” to those known technical issues.

5. One of the biggest reasons is COST. Web-hosting is expensive and we regularly exceed our course size limits. Marshall is charged for storage we exceed outside our negotiated amount of space..

Step 1: Check to make sure you have Development courses for courses with any Blackboard content.

Step 2: If you do not have a Development section but would like one, please figure out which of your sections you would like us to copy INTO the Development section. Please click here to submit a request for your archived course content to be copied into a development section: Course Development Form If you have questions, please contact the Instructional Design Center at



Options for Preventing Academic Dishonesty 

  • Use SafeAssign plagiarism tool on Blackboard Assignments: SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention tool that allows you to check the originality of an assignment submission against our institutional repository of student work and internet-based sources. Students should be allowed to view their originality reports. You can have students turn in work on a rough draft by checking the “do not add to repository” option on Submission Details, where the SafeAssign option is located on the Edit Assignment Options page. Blackboard SafeAssign Help for InstructorsSafeAssign information for students 
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser: Software the student downloads on their personal computers. It functions as its name intends: a browser that prevents students from opening any other browser on their screen, prevents multiple tabs, or prevents access to other software. The download information for students and information on use can be found by logging into Bb and click on Tech Support on the top tab. The Assessment module contains information for Respondus. 
  • Respondus LockDown Browser with Monitor:For use in conjunction with LockDown Browser, records students taking exams and requires microphone and webcam. The program will flag suspicious activity and allow the instructor to review the video to investigate the activity that caused the video to be flagged.*Both tools require students to have high-speed internet access and their own device. These tools are not meant for users who have low-bandwith, or are trying to accomplish academic tasks on a mobile device. 

How to Add Respondus Monitor to an Assignment  Any exam that requires Monitor must also require LockDown Browser. 

  1. On the Repondus dashboard (in Course Tools), set the exam so it requires the use of LockDown Browser. Several options are then available for Respondus Monitor. To require Monitor, select “Require Respondus Monitor for this Exam.” 
  2. Now you will select items to be included in the student’s “Startup Sequence.” These are the steps a student must complete prior to the start of an exam. The settings are optional and can also be re-ordered by dragging and dropping them into the desired order. You will also be able to preview each item, as well as Edit your test to include instructions for certain items (if applicable). 
  • Webcam check 
  • Student Photo (will take photo) 
  • Show ID 
  • Environment check (show your surroundings) 
  • Additional instructions you would like to add. 

Note: All of these items that you choose must be first given to the students in the Instructions area of the exam or prior to the exam. Otherwise, students may not have their ID with them or be unable to show their surroundings due to the nature of the test location they have chosen.  Tips to Keep Students from Cheating 

  • If you use test banks, chances are, your questions and answers are already searchable on the internet. If you are using a new text, with new test bank questions, consider using only a portion of those questions at a time, and change them each semester. 
  • If you are using the Test tool in Blackboard, consider letting us help you create test pools for each chapter. Test pools can be used to create a Test made up of random blocks. Random blocks allow you to choose how many questions and question types from each pool you want to use and how much their point value is worth. 
  • Utilize various Test options like randomizing all of the questions on the test, setting a timer (never use Force Completion), or break up your testing materials into shorter tests. 
  • Offer varied assessments. Students deserve more opportunities than just multiple choice tests to show that they are competent. (If you’d like pedagogical considerations, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning.) 



Course Designations and Definitions

  • “Online course” refers to any distance education course in which 100% of the course content is delivered asynchronously. There are no synchronous, face-to-face, or on-site attendance requirements. Online courses are designated as such in the schedule of courses. Designation: Online Course (OC).
  • “Hybrid course” refers to any distance education course in which a portion of the course is delivered synchronously with scheduled and required online, face-to-face, or on-site attendance requirements; the remainder of the course is delivered asynchronously.

Distance Learning Requirements

All students enrolled in distance learning courses must have access to equipment (desktop or laptop computer, Internet, a webcam, and mic) that meets minimum technology specifications. Consult the IT Service Desk site for Recommended Hardware. Student IDs will be obtained online via webcam; instructions will be sent to each student’s official MU email account upon admission to a distance learning program. Additional student resources, including technology recommendations, are also available on the Student Resources webpage.

Current Students

If you are transferring to a Distance Program, you may appeal your current designation by submitting a Request for Change in Distance/Regular Student Enrollment Form to the Office of the Registrar. The deadline for submitting an appeal is the last day of the fall/spring late registration/schedule adjustment (add-drop) period according to the academic calendar. The completed and signed request should be faxed to the Registrar at 304-696-6476, scanned and emailed to, or mailed to the Office of the Registrar, 106A Old Main, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755.

Prospective Students

Distance Students in these programs are not expected to have a campus or classroom presence during their academic careers and are afforded a distance tuition rate in lieu of regular tuition and fees. The special distance tuition rate is set with the understanding that students have needs and interests different from those students paying regular tuition and fees. Specifically,

  • Distance Students are generally restricted from participating in and/or gaining access to certain university activities and events. They are eligible for certain student services related to their program such as advising, career planning, etc., as well as other student support services.
  • Distance Students are not eligible for graduate assistantship opportunities.
  • Distance Students are prohibited from registering for and attending traditional face-to-face classes. Exceptions to this include courses in which the student participates only via an electronic link (video and/or audio) and graduate courses for staff development offered through the College of Education and Professional Development.
  • Distance Students who register for a traditional face-to-face course may have that registration removed from the student schedule by the appropriate dean or registrar’s office.
  • Distance Students who revert to a regular enrollment status to register for and attend one or more traditional face-to-face classes may not be able to be approved for subsequent return to Distance Student status to be eligible for the Distance Student tuition rate.
  • Distance Students who change majors to a different degree program will automatically revert to a regular enrollment status. Such students must reapply for designation as a Distance Student even when changing directly to another qualifying distance program.

Marshall University Employees

Distance tuition is not eligible for employee waivers or graduate assistantship benefits. Third-party remission or contractual courses approved by your advisor are the only exceptions. When admitted to a distance program, you must select “Regular Enrollment Status” to be eligible for employee tuition waiver benefits. Contact our office if you have questions: 304-696-6474 or

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