FAQ | Teaching, PTR, Intellectual Property, and Other Issues

Course Development and Support FAQ

  • How much time will it take me to teach an online course?

    The initial course development is the most time-consuming part of the online education process. Once the course is developed, depending on your instructional design, the actual teaching is similar to face-to-face (F2F) instruction. Instead of in-class time (which is covered by your prepared course modules), you spend time communicating with your students either one-on-one, in groups, or en masse via chats, discussion forums, and course announcements. In some cases, grading electronically can be more time-consuming than marking up a print copy of homework; however, assignments can be designed for electronic grading, using software that allows an instructor to insert comments in homework via audio (student hears your voice giving feedback) or by inserting "sticky notes" with your comments on an assignment.

  • What are the pedagogical rewards (if any) of teaching an online course?

    Faculty may experience the same flexibility in teaching that students experience in learning through online education: opportunities for interaction at various times of day, and from non-traditional settings. Teaching online takes advantage of new strategies and current technology, which are appealing to many of today's learners.

  • How does the quality of learing in online compare to learning in face-to-face courses?

    There should be no difference in the quality of learning between an online course and a face-to-face course. To some extent, online instruction involves different pedagogies and different strategies, but the learning goals and expectations are the same. The course work is at least as challenging in an online course as it is in a face-to-face course.

  • How much individual student contact time can I anticipate when teaching an online course?

    This will vary greatly depending on the student and on the rules you establish in your syllabus. Some students may initiate contact with you, including requesting a face-to-face meeting; others may turn in their homework with little dialogue. You may want to establish guidelines about communication in terms of turn-around time for email and your accessibility after hours. Some faculty find it useful to offer online office hours, or make appointments with students for online communication.

  • How will student enrollment in online courses be counted for my school or department?

    Student enrollments in online courses are counted the same way they are in classroom based classes. Head count and credit hours are credited to the department that develops and offers the course. Courses with high levels of demand may receive support from the distance education budget to subsidize a teaching assistant, or additional sections may be taught to accommodate enrollment demands, if faculty resources are available. This support is available to departments, but the actual management of the online course is determined by the department chair and the faculty where the course is offered.

  • When are online courses usually offered?

    Online courses are usually defined as "synchronous" or "asynchronous." With synchronous courses, two-way video and other online systems are often used; students and instructors are at different sites, but can see and communicate with each other. Asynchronous classes are designed so that students may log in at different times, allowing them to work on assignments at the time that best suits their schedules. Hybrid courses utilize one or more F2F meetings, (such as on the first day of class), with other instruction done via computer.