How to Establish Online Teaching Programs

Contributed by:
Sharp Tutor
This file gives an idea to:
Faculty Preparation for Online Teaching.
College Support for Online Teaching.
Online Student Support Services.
1. Guide to Establishing an Online
Teaching Program
Considerations and
Recommendations for
Colleges and Faculty
2. Guide to Establishing an Online
Teaching Program
APA Committee of Psychology Teachers at
Community Colleges (PT@CC)
Donna Alexander, PhD Kathryn Clancy, MA
Craig Cowden, PhD Ladonna Lewis, PhD
Linda Petroff, PhD Pat Puccio, EdD
Considerations and
Recommendations for
Colleges and Faculty
3. ore than a decade ago, the APA Task Force on Distance Education As a response to how an institution
and Training in Professional Psychology (2002) cited several areas might address concerns cited by
of concern in distance education in general, including: the task force and as a resource
for faculty members consider-
(a) building a sufficient information technology (IT) infrastructure that
ing online teaching, the American
includes adequate computer systems and communication access for all
Psychological Association (APA)
students and faculty;
Committee of Psychology Teachers
(b) providing training and support for faculty and students to use the sys- at Community Colleges (PT@CC)
tem comfortably and effectively, including maintaining a responsive help has created the Guide to Establishing
desk to answer questions and solve problems quickly; and an Online Teaching Program.
(c) ascertaining there is a clearly articulated strategic plan congruent with It is divided into three sections:
the institution’s mission and values and supported by all levels of adminis- Faculty Preparation for Online
tration and faculty. Teaching, College Support for
Online Teaching, and Online
Student Support Services.
4. During the fall 2010 semester,
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching 6.1 million
POSTSECONDARY STUDENTS were enrolled in at least one online class
(Allen & Seaman, 2011).
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
Online classes have become a prominent part of the education landscape,
and many professors who previously believed they would never teach online
are being asked to offer Web enhancements to their face-to-face classes or
teach a class entirely online. And, while interest in online classes from both
03 Online Student
Support Services
students and college administrators has led to an increase in the number of
online classes, information for faculty members being asked to offer these
classes is sparse, consisting primarily of technology help and advice. Little
REF APP is available to help faculty members navigate the resources, compensation
structures, and pedagogical concerns unique to the virtual classroom.
It is our hope that this guide will help fill that gap and facilitate
the application of the science of teaching and learning to online
psychology classes.
5. Faculty Preparation for
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching Online Teaching
Take online class Faculty members who teach primarily face-to-face (F2F) classes may find
the world of online teaching and learning intimidating, unattractive, or cum-
Assess knowledge
bersome. Some may find online teaching simply does not fit their teaching
Understand time style. Others may find the prospect of teaching online excites them in its
and advantages
possibility of reaching students unable to take F2F classes for various rea-
Maintain integrity
sons. Whatever the case, knowing about the online teaching environment
03 prior to committing yourself to it is advisable.
6. 01 Faculty Preparation Take an online class
for Online Teaching
Finley, Brothen, and Froman (2005), noting the importance of faculty
Take online class
members’ knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the online format in
02 order to make an informed decision about teaching an online class, rec-
Assess knowledge
Understand time ommended an instructor first take an online class. Taking an online class
and advantages serves dual purposes: It allows you as a potential online instructor to
Maintain integrity experience the class from the student’s perspective, and it exposes you
03 to the format and structure of the online class environment. Some col-
leges and universities offer training for potential online instructors; some
even deliver that training online.
7. Assess your technology
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching knowledge and know where
Take online class to get support
Teaching online does not require you to be a technology genius; however,
Assess knowledge
you will need to know the technology geniuses on your campus. Familiarize
Understand time
and advantages yourself with the technology resources and people at your institution. Identify
and create relationships with instructors who have been teaching online
Maintain integrity
and using the learning management system (LMS) your college supports.
03 Those who have been using a particular system often have learned the idio-
syncrasies of the system and can give you time-saving tips and tricks when
you are setting up your class. In addition to the LMS experts, the IT and/or
center for teaching and learning staffs, a great resource on campus is your
campus library. Often, digital resources are available through your library,
and librarians can help you locate and make them available to your students,
sometimes even specifically for your class. The library may also be able to
purchase the rights to stream videos pertinent to your subject so your online
students can access them.
8. Understand the time commitment
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching and recognize advantages
Take online class Teaching an online class requires much more time than teaching an F2F
class. When considering teaching online, many faculty members report
Assess knowledge
a daunting time commitment (Rockwell, Schauer, Fritz, & Marx, 1999).
Understand time In a study conducted by Zuckweiler, Schniederjans, and Ball (2004), the
and advantages
researchers collected and analyzed data on the time it took to perform var-
Maintain integrity
ious tasks associated with teaching an F2F class versus the time spent on
03 those tasks when teaching the same class online. Zuckweiler et al. (2004)
found it took 39.9% more time to teach the class online. However, with
practice, the amount of time needed to teach online decreased as faculty
REF APP members became more efficient (Zuckweiler et al., 2004). A study con-
ducted by the National Education Association (2000) showed that 53% of
faculty teaching a distance-learning (online) class spent more time prepar-
ing and delivering that class than they did a traditional one, and 22% spent
less time. The study also found that among those who had taught their
online class eight or more times, 48% spent more time on the online class
than on a traditional one, and 21% spent less time on the online class.
9. Understand the time commitment
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching and recognize advantages (continued)
Take online class While there seems to be general agreement that online teaching is more time
consuming than F2F teaching (Zuckweiler et al., 2004; Finley et al., 2005,
Assess knowledge
National Education Association, 2000; American Federation of Teachers,
Understand time 2000), online teaching may provide advantages. For example, online teach-
and advantages
ing may free a faculty member to set his or her own schedule in terms of
Maintain integrity
commuting to campus. Online teaching reduces an institution’s carbon foot-
03 print in that there is less paper and less commuting to campus by students.
Paper-free communication may also save time in that when something is
posted online for a class, it is available immediately to all the online stu-
REF APP dents. Determining how the time commitment and advantages affect you is
part of the decision-making process.
10. Learn to maintain
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching academic integrity
Take online class Maintaining academic integrity in class is a concern for both F2F and
online classes. Research suggests the rate of academic misconduct in
Assess knowledge
online classes is about the same as in F2F classes despite the perception
Understand time that online classes present more opportunities for misconduct because
and advantages
there is less instructor supervision (Grijalva, Nowell, & Kerkvliet, 2006;
Maintain integrity
Hart & Morgan, 2010; Stephens, Young, & Calabrese, 2007). Research by
03 Mastin, Peszka, and Lilly (2009) suggests that students are more likely
to engage in academic misconduct late in the semester than early in the
semester. Other researchers suggest that panic may account for some of
REF APP the late-semester cheating (Grijalva et al., 2006).
Research findings also offer suggestions for decreasing the likelihood of
academic misconduct in online classes. Careful formulation of syllabi to
minimize the likelihood of late-semester panic might lessen end-of-semes-
ter cheating. Other strategies demonstrated to reduce academic miscon-
duct are implementing an online academic integrity module (Belter & du
Pre, 2009) and applying a clearly articulated student honor code (Kitahara
& Westfall, 2007).
When it comes to tests, some colleges require proctoring, while others do
not. If your college has testing centers with convenient hours for students
11. Learn to maintain
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching academic integrity (continued)
Take online class to take tests in a proctored setting (whether paper-and-pencil or online
(though with restrictions, if desired, on the use of books and notes)), this
Assess knowledge
may be one way to proceed. However, this way limits the accessibility of
Understand time your class to students who live locally. Another option is using webcams.
and advantages
Webcams using software such as Tegrity™ or Software Secure™ allow for
Maintain integrity
virtual proctoring. Students take their tests at home on their computers.
03 They do their work just as they would normally, but first, they turn on the
webcam, which records audio/video, so the professor can see they are not
getting help from others. Typically, students are required to display a photo
REF APP ID to verify their identity. Recordings can be erased after the grade-chal-
lenge period is over. Webcams are standard equipment with today’s laptops
and tablet computers or can be purchased for about $20.
Testing is an area in which the online environment actually offers some unique
solutions to mitigate concerns about academic misconduct. For example,
most learning management systems facilitate the presentation of exam items
in random order and/or the presentation of a random subset of the total num-
ber of questions that have been uploaded to the system. This way, no two
students will likely see the same exam. Time limits can also be put on the
exam so students have limited time to complete it. And, many LMS allow
papers to be checked against other submitted papers for plagiarism.
12. College Support for Online Teaching
01 Colleges that offer online classes need to support the teaching of those
classes. In 2009, the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions pub-
lished Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
(Online Learning), which mandated this support in one of its criteria for
the evaluation of distance education: “Faculty responsible for delivering
Provide training the online curricula and evaluating the students’ success in achieving
the online learning goals are appropriately qualified and effectively sup-
Offer compensation
ported” (emphasis added; Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions,
Hire instructional 2009, p. 4). To that end, colleges need to ensure appropriate support for
qualified faculty is in place.
Provide other
REF APP IT support
Reduce class size
13. 01 Provide training
One of the ways colleges can support their faculty members who teach online
is to offer them training in best practices. Several programs are available
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
nationally in the U.S. that train faculty members in how to set up high-quality
online courses. Groups such as Quality Matters™, the Connecticut Distance
Provide training Learning Consortium (CTDLC), and the Sloan Consortium ® provide training
and rubrics faculty members can use as they work on their own classes.
Offer compensation
Hire instructional
Provide other
REF APP IT support
Reduce class size
14. Offer compensation for
01 course development
As mentioned earlier, teaching an online class can be time consuming. In
addition, developing an online class can be daunting. Learning and becom-
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
ing proficient using an LMS takes time, and uploading materials to the
online environment is also time-consuming. Once you learn how to use the
Provide training
LMS, you need to learn how to teach students through it. Many institutions
offer compensation to faculty members who develop and teach an online
Offer compensation
class for the first time. This compensation may be in the form of release/
Hire instructional
reassigned time or a financial stipend.
Provide other
Because many faculty members see the time required to develop a new
REF APP IT support
class as a barrier to developing online classes, it is in the college’s best
Reduce class size
interest to compensate faculty members who want to teach an online
class for the first time. Faculty members need to be aware, however, that
if they are being financially compensated for developing an online class,
the class and materials for it will likely be the property of the college. The
Virtual College of Texas, a service of the Texas Association of Community
Colleges, publishes a list of the various compensation structures of par-
ticipating colleges on its website:
15. 01 Hire instructional designers
Pairing excellent professors with excellent resources is essential. Oblinger
and Hawkins (2006) suggest it is unrealistic to expect someone to have
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
the teaching expertise and technological skills to put everything together
for an online class. They argue that a better use of limited institutional
Provide training dollars is to pair a faculty member with an instructional designer who can
help the faculty member develop an online course (Oblinger & Hawkins,
Offer compensation
2006). The instructional designer can help with IT issues, LMS issues,
Hire instructional copyright and intellectual property, and outside-link maintenance (mak-
ing sure the links to outside material are working) (Oblinger & Hawkins,
Provide other
REF APP IT support
2006). This team approach allows the instructor to be the subject matter
expert—answering student questions and providing students with the
Reduce class size
learning resources they need to be successful—and someone else who is
more focused on the technology and often familiar with best practices in
online education to work on the technical part of the interface between the
students and the institution. Oblinger and Hawkins (2006) also argue that
hiring instructional designers can help make all the online classes offered
at an institution have a similar look and feel rather than a patchwork of
different-looking online courses, making the experience somewhat predict-
able and therefore less stressful for the student.
16. 01 Provide other IT support
To allow the instructor to take care of the subject matter rather than spend
a lot of time troubleshooting the technology, the college should provide IT
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
training on the use of the LMS chosen by the college. The instructor should
also have someone on campus available for questions on using the sys-
Provide training tem. A users group consisting of others who use the LMS and teach online
could also be helpful for instructors to help each other and share what has
Offer compensation
worked well.
Hire instructional
Provide other
REF APP IT support
Reduce class size
17. 01 Reduce class size
One of the most recommended ways to cope with the additional time
required for teaching online classes is to reduce the class size. Zuckweiler
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
et al. (2004) recommend adjusting class size using the following formula
that takes into account the amount of time spent teaching online classes
Provide training compared to the amount of time spent teaching traditional classes:
Total time for online class/Total time for traditional class) x
Offer compensation
100 = Adjustment index
Hire instructional
Traditional class size/Adjustment index = Online class size
Provide other
REF APP IT support
The Zuckweiler et al. (2004) findings suggest that an online class, on aver-
Reduce class size age, takes 39.9% more time to teach, and, thus, the class size should be
39.9% smaller than that of its traditional counterpart. Other researchers
suggest that online classes take at least one-third more time to teach, and,
thus, the class size should be reduced by one-third the size of its tradi-
tional counterpart (Finley et al., 2005).
18. Online Student Support Services
01 Just as faculty members require support for their online classes, students
also need support. Colleges that offer online classes, particularly to stu-
dents who will never visit the physical campus, need to give their online
02 students as many of the same student-support options available to F2F
students as possible. In addition, the instructor needs to post information
about the student support in a prominent location so students can easily
access it. One way to ensure students are aware of the availability of stu-
03 Online Student
Support Services
dent support is to make a related assignment due during the first week of
class. In the assignment, the student would need to answer questions about
Help determine if
online class is right
the available student-support services on your campus. Regional accredit-
REF APP Offer writing
ing bodies (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions, 2009) may also
assistance evaluate student and academic support services for online students.
Provide technology
Offer opportunities
19. Help students determine if an
01 online class is the right choice
Online classes are not for everyone, so communicating your expecta-
tions of students at the beginning of the online course is a good idea.
02 In fact, many colleges offer students some sort of assessment tool so
they can evaluate their readiness to take a class online. (An example from
Glendale Community College, AZ, can be found at
eCourses/Readiness.cfm.) Completing such an assessment either before
03 Online Student
Support Services
enrolling in the online class or during the first week of an online class is
advisable. In addition, the students will have to meet certain technology
Help determine if
online class is right requirements. Giving the students information up front about those expecta-
REF APP Offer writing tions, including how often they will need Internet access, what software and
hardware are required, and the amount of time they can expect to spend,
Provide technology
assistance is appropriate as students may enter the virtual classroom with unrealistic
expectations. Colleges might also help students by providing them with
Offer opportunities
information they need to make an informed decision prior to enrollment.
20. 01 Offer writing assistance
Help with writing is often offered on college campuses free or at little cost to
traditional students. Online students may also need writing support. Because
02 of the technology available, colleges that offer writing assistance to F2F stu-
dents can also offer it to online students. Students can submit assignments
for review and receive feedback electronically. In as many ways as possible,
online students need to have access to services such as writing assistance
03 Online Student
Support Services
and tutoring at the same level as their traditional student colleagues.
Help determine if
online class is right
REF APP Offer writing
Provide technology
Offer opportunities
21. 01 Provide technology assistance
Students will invariably run into technological problems from time to time.
Institutions offering online classes should support online students with a local
02 person/office they can contact for technology issues. This support should
also be familiar with the LMS the college uses, available by phone most of the
work day, and able to help troubleshoot most issues. Technological support
after hours is extremely helpful, as many online students complete course-
03 Online Student
Support Services
work outside normal business hours; however 24-hour assistance from the
college is often not feasible. Most LMS companies provide a toll-free number
Help determine if
online class is right
for technological help 24 hours per day. The technological assistance offered
REF APP Offer writing
by most of those companies, while often available toll-free, will be specific to
assistance system, not college-specific, issues.
Provide technology
assistance If this kind of support is not provided, students will most likely contact their
Offer opportunities
instructor with technology issues, which is not a good use of the instruc-
tor’s time and may be outside the instructor’s area of expertise.
22. Offer opportunities
01 for campus life
Traditional colleges typically offer some form of student life on campus,
including a student union building where students can meet, have lunch,
02 or hang out. Having something similar available for online students may
prove to be a challenge for traditional colleges, but colleges that are pri-
marily online can provide some guidance. Connection to the college can be
achieved technologically through sources such as Google +, Facebook, and
03 Online Student
Support Services
Twitter, which most colleges are already using. However, some schools are
designing and implementing college-specific tools to foster student-to-stu-
Help determine if
online class is right dent interaction. Rio Salado College, an online community college in
REF APP Offer writing Tempe, AZ, has launched what it calls the Rio Lounge, which is an online
student union where students can learn about the college or hang out vir-
Provide technology
assistance tually. A preliminary data analysis has shown that use of the Rio Lounge is
correlated with degree completion among students who declared the inten-
Offer opportunities
tion to complete a degree (Brock, 2013). Having students feel connected to
the college may improve student retention, so creating opportunities such
as a virtual student union for students to feel they are a part of what is hap-
pening at the college can be worth the effort.
23. Offer opportunities
01 for campus life (continued)
Some colleges are posting short videos of faculty and staff online to intro-
duce students to those with whom they may have electronic contact. (For
02 an example, see the eLearning webpage at Tacoma Community College at
This personal connection may help students feel more comfortable request-
ing information or help.
03 Online Student
Support Services
Help determine if
online class is right
REF APP Offer writing
Provide technology
Offer opportunities
24. References
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2011). Going the distance:
Online education in the United States, 2011. Babson
program. The Journal of Continuing Education in
Nursing, 41, 498–505.
Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group.
Kitahara, R. T., & Westfall, F. (2007). Promoting aca-
American Federation of Teachers, Higher Education demic integrity in online distance learning courses.
Program and Policy Council. (2000). Distance edu- MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching,
02 College Support cation: Guidelines for good practice. Retrieved from 3(3). Retrieved from kitahara.htm
for Online Teaching distanceedguidelines0500.pdf
Mastin, D. F., Peszka, J., & Lilly, D. R. (2009). Online
American Psychological Association Task Force on academic integrity. Teaching of Psychology, 36,
Distance Education and Training in Professional 174–178.
Psychology. (2002). Principles of good practice in
Oblinger, D. G., & Hawkins, B. L. (2006). The myth
03 Online Student
Support Services
distance education and their application to pro-
fessional education and training in psychology.
Retrieved March 3, 2003, from
about online course development. EDUCAUSE
Review, 41(1), 14–15.
graduate/distance.ed.html Rockwell, S. K., Schauer, J., Fritz, S., & Marx, D.
B. (1999). Incentives and obstacles influencing
Belter, R. W., & du Pre, A. (2009). A strategy to reduce
higher education faculty and administrators to teach
REF APP plagiarism in an undergraduate course. Teaching of
via distance. Online Journal of Distance Learning
Psychology, 36, 257–261.
Administration, 2(4). Retrieved from http://www.
Brock, K. (2013). Building a model of success:
Identifying the factors that predict degree comple-
Stephens, J. M., Young, M. F., & Calabrese, T. (2007).
tion for entirely online community college students.
Does moral judgment go offline when students are
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Capella University,
online? A comparative analysis of undergraduates’
Minneapolis, MN.
beliefs and behaviors related to conventional and
Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions. (2009). digital cheating. Ethics & Behavior, 17, 233–254. doi:
Interregional guidelines for the evaluation of distance 10.1080/10508420701519197
education programs (online learning). Retrieved from
The National Education Association. (2000). A survey
of traditional and distance learning higher education
members. Retrieved from
Finley, D. L., Brothen, T., & Froman, R. (2005). Online docs/HE/dlstudy.pdf
course management. Retrieved from
Zuckweiler, K. M., Schniederjans, M. J., & Ball, D. A.
(2004). Methodologies to determine class sizes for fair
faculty work load in Web courses. Journal of Distance
Grijalva, T. C., Nowell, C., & Kerkvliet, J. (2006). Education Technologies, 2(2), 46–59.
Academic honesty and online courses. College
Student Journal, 40, 180–185.
Hart, L., & Morgan, L. (2010). Academic integrity in
an online registered nurse to baccalaureate in nursing 24
25. Appendix: Resources
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching
Online Course Design Resources
Rubrics for Online Instruction
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
Instructional Design Tools for Online Learning
(works with the above rubric)
03 Online Student
Support Services
Instructional Design for Mediated Education
MERLOT: Multimedia Education Resource
for Learning and Online Teaching
The Sloan Consortium: Individuals, Institutions, and Organizations
Committed to Quality Online Education
26. Appendix: Resources (continued)
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching
Multimedia Resources
for Use in Online Classes
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
Kahn Academy
03 Online Student
Support Services
Academic Earth
TED Talks
OER Commons—Open Educational Resources
Connexions (view and share educational materials)
Open Courseware Consortium (including a link to the Community
College Open Educational Resources)
MIT Open Courseware
27. Appendix: Resources (continued)
01 Faculty Preparation
for Online Teaching
Other Resources
Free articles and reports on effective teaching and learning
in higher education:
02 College Support
for Online Teaching
List of books about teaching and technology:
03 Online Student
Support Services
21st Century Tools
Cool Tools for School
Free online screen capture program:
(Tips for the use of Screencast-O-Matic can be found on the website for
The Ohio State University:
100 Essential Tools for Teachers
Innovative Learning (more tools)