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 Distance Education: H.O.M.E

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

View H.O.M.E. framework


During the Course Development or Review process, faculty will collaborate with the Instructional Design Team. The Collaborative Checklist below provides a means of communication back and forth throughout the process. It is intended to be malleable, allowing faculty to add notes, questions, concerns.

View Collaborative Checklist

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

Marshall University is committed to the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework that optimizes teaching through its emphasis on meeting the diverse needs of all learners. Originally conceptualized as an architectural movement, universal design called for “the construction of environments that would be accessible to all users, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” UDL applies this approach to learning: that the curriculum – in terms of content and delivery – should accommodate all kinds of learners.

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

Ally automatically analyzes any file you place in your course and generates feedback with recommendations for improving accessibility based on its checklist of WCAG2.1 standards (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Your content is then assigned an accessibility score, represented by a color-coded gauge reflecting the numerical score. Scores range from low to perfect.

Accessibility Gauge



red half-circle gauge with an indicator pointing to the left to indicate a low score Low (0-33%): Needs help! There are severe accessibility issues.

orange half-circle gauge with an indicator pointing straight up to indicate a moderate score Medium (34-66%): A little better. The file is somewhat accessible and needs improvement.

green half-circle gauge with an indicator pointing to the right to indicate a high score High (67-99%): Almost there. The file is accessible but more improvements are possible.

bright green half-circle gauge with an indicator pointing flat to the right to indicate a full score Perfect (100%): Perfect! Ally didn’t identify any accessibility issues.


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



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