Whether you are building an online course for the first or the tenth time, creating from the ground up can seem overwhelming. Teaching online may also be daunting not only for first time virtual instructors, but also for experienced instructors who are trying to use the newest technologies.
If you want to learn best practices and practical steps for designing and delivering online courses, the IU Online Faculty Starter Kit is for you. This free, self-paced tutorial, available through the IU Expand portal for online, noncredit coursework, includes 17 modules designed to orient instructors to teaching online at IU. The kit is also a repository for resources on best practices for designing and delivering online courses that you can return to any time.
IU is committed to adhering to the highest possible standards in online education—just as we do on our physical campuses.
That means ensuring that every course we offer provides value to our students. It means delivering content and assessment in ways that fit the medium and enhance student learning. And it means providing our faculty with measurement tools that help them assess and fine tune their online classes.
IU Online Course Quality Checklist
The IU Online Course Quality Checklist outlines the essential elements an online instructor should check before opening online courses to students. The checklist is divided into four aspects of course design:
Course Orientation and Policies
Universal Design for Learning and Interaction
In these sections, instructors are prompted to check if they have included select features in their online course that add up to provide a quality learning environment to our online students.
This checklist is not comprehensive. It is a starting point for discussion regarding quality assurance between you and University Center for Teaching (UCET). We encourage you to use this document for a self-review of your online course and hope that it will be a stepping-stone as you consider taking your online course through the QM-certification process.
Quality Matters is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered quality assurance process for onlineand blended courses. Its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education andstudent learning enables us to create and deliver online courses that Indiana University can beproud to offer.
The Quality Matters (QM) tools can help you through every stage of the course planning, design, delivery, and evaluation process. You can take advantage of a wide range of tools, including:
Rubrics for applying quality standards to course design
Professional development workshops and certification courses for instructors and online learning professionals
Faculty-centered, continuous improvement models for assuring the quality of online courses through peer review
Peer reviewers develop additional expertise and can be paid to conduct formal QM reviews of IU courses and courses from other institutions. To learn more about the requirements for becoming an official QM peer reviewer, visit the Quality Matters site. To secure the required training and for other questions, contact the University Center for Teaching (UCET).
Get your courses QM certified
The first step in getting your course QM certified is to submit it for a QM internal review. This review is conducted by two faculty peers who teach online and successfully completed the QM Peer Reviewer Course. The Office of Online Education provides a stipend of $200 per internal review completed to each peer reviewer. The QM internal review process at Indiana University uses a modified form of the QM Higher Education Rubric, 6th Ed. that includes the following:
This syllabus template is customizable but intended to help faculty meet 10 QM standards (1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 8.6). We invite faculty to edit the content to fit their courses. You can download a Word document version of the IU QM Syllabus Template or you can find it in Canvas Commons by searching for "IU QM Syllabus Template". Using Canvas Commons will allow you to import the syllabus directly into your courses and copy the information to your Syllabus page.
Accessibility for Online Teaching
Provide lecture notes to students when possible.
Strive for accessibility over accommodation. You may need to create alternatives if accessibility tools fail. Ask your students with disabilities about the best strategies to support them in your online course. If you have questions about adapting content, assignments, and activities for a student with disabilities, contact the Office of Disability Support Services or the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) as soon as possible. The ATAC can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students with disabilities often will have extended time for exams/quizzes as an accommodation. Canvas allows instructors to provide extra time for individual students via the Moderate This Quiz function. For more, review Once I publish a timed quiz, how can I give my students extra time? (If a student has breaks during exams as an accommodation, add their total break time to their exam time if there is no way for the student to stop and start.)
Students with disabilities should be able to schedule, attend, and participate in Zoom meetings and webinars. For information on accessibility in Zoom, visit Accessibility features in Zoom.
Word files are often more accessible than PDF versions of the document, so it is preferred to post Word documents in your course site. For more information, visit the following Knowledge Base documents:
Be aware that some students may need some time to work with their disability service coordinator and the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) to make adjustments to their accommodations. Be flexible and adjust deadlines and strategies to create an inclusive learning environment. Students with diagnoses such as autism or anxiety may not adjust well to abrupt changes, making flexibility even more important.
If you have students who have hearing impairments and who are receiving accommodations such as sign language interpretation or CART, contact the disability services office ASAP to discuss any needed accommodation changes. If you are providing lectures via Zoom, live captioning can be arranged; consider recording the lectures and then uploading them to Kaltura for captioning.
IU South Bend offers online teaching awards for faculty who shows evidence of outstanding online teaching and outstanding and innovative use of technology to improve student engagement and learning.
The Office of Online Education (OOE) and the Office of Collaborative Academic Programs (OCAP) work collaboratively to evaluate a proposed online program for multi-campus collaborative development. The review for collaboration is part of the program approval process managed through University Academic Affairs. For details of the university program approval process, visit the University Academic Affairs website