Frequently Asked Questions - Online Faculty
- How do I get an online course approved?
If you want to teach or develop an online course, you must first make sure that the course outline is up to date and that the course is approved for teaching in an online format. If the course has not been approved for distance learning, you must submit a Distance Learning Addendum to the Curriculum Review Committee through CurricUNET and get your course approved for distance learning. The curriculum committee will be reviewing your course to ensure that you have a plan for "effective student contact" since you will not be meeting with your students on campus at all or much less frequently than an on campus course. The approval process generally takes at least a semester. The good news is that you can start developing your online course while you are teaching your face-to-face course.
- What skills does it take to be a successful online instructor? Teaching an online course can be professionally rewarding. Faculty who are comfortable with technology, like the flexibility of interacting with students asynchronously, and are able to plan and create their curriculum in advance seem to have the most success in teaching online courses. Since you no longer interact with your students in a face-to-face format, you will need to structure your course differently. Your course will guide and facilitate learning. Students will not only learn the content of your course, but they will learn to be more responsible and proactive learners.
- What are the responsibilities of an online instructor?
Online instructors must provide not only subject matter expertise for their course; they must also provide structure for students to be successful. Here are some hints on how to do this taken from a variety of resources.
- Provide an orientation for your students at the beginning of the course that requires them to read your syllabus, policies, procedures, FAQs, and expectations. Then, quiz them on this material to ensure that they understand and can be held accountable to your rules.
- Set clear expectations for your students. This includes your policies on responding to questions, your timelines for assignments, how quizzes will be made available, and your policies on turning in work late or missing deadlines etc.
- If your expectations change or some unavoidable technology challenge occurs, you should communicate these changes as soon and as clearly as possible.
- Create a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section for your course and require that students read this first before they ask you questions that have already been asked and answered. After a couple of semesters of revising and clarifying your FAQs, you will find that your list will cover most of the questions that students ask and that part of your job will become much easier!
- Pace the course by ensuring that students keep up with their work. Release and close content throughout the course so students cannot wait until the last minute to do their work.
- Contact students early on who are not keeping up, so they will not feel like they are alone. By having frequent quizzes, you will have a way of tracking student progress and keep them current with your course throughout the semester.
- Respond to students in a timely manner. Clearly state in your policies how long it will take you to respond to an e-mail. For most students, a wait longer than two days will discourage them from continuing in the course.
- After you have your curriculum developed (this may take a couple of semesters), plan on logging into your class for some time each day, if possible, to ensure that no problem has occurred.
For further information, including the guidelines for regular and effective student contact, refer to the Mission College Guidelines for Distance Learning Instructors, the Mission College Instructor Online Course Checklist, and Regular and Effective Student Contact training resources on the Faculty Training page.
- Do I need special training to teach online?
Teaching a distance learning course is not as simple as moving your face-to-face materials to the web or selecting a video to display. Developing and teaching an online course requires a good understanding of technology, and specialized training or consultation in online pedagogy.
- What tools are available for teaching online?
Additionally, faculty can use CCC Confer. CCC Confer offers faculty a rich set of online tools for conducting synchronous sessions that can be archived and viewed later.
Some faculty also find publisher material to support their distance learning class. Often times this material can be accessed through Angel Learning. Please note most publisher material does require students to purchase access to the materials.
- How can I use online technology with my face-to-face class? All classes have virtual
tools through ANGEL. With ANGEL you can do the following and more!
- post course materials
- e-mail students
- use the calendar tool
- hold online discussions
- maintain a password protected gradebook
- use the announcement tool
- Do I have to offer a face-to-face orientation?
No, you do not have to offer a face-to-face orientation. However, it is suggested that you offer an orientation of some type for all you distance learning courses.
- What support is available for me and my students?
The district has a course management system available for all courses. ANGEL is integrated with our student registration system, so each class section has a virtual class. As students enroll into the college they are automatically given accounts for the course sections that they are enrolled. Faculty who are in the registration system as the instructor of the course also have instructor accounts in these course shells. It takes about 24 - 48 hours after a student enrolls into a course for their account within ANGEL to be activated.