In 2006, after reviewing best practice and also concerns raised about instruction, it became apparent there was a need to put clear expectations into place for our teaching faculty.
At that time, an appointment letter was regularly sent out to those hired and rehired, stating that the employee was expected to work within the guidelines set forth by the board of trustees and the policies of the college. This important document was great for the general guidelines and missing the day to day responsibilities.
After interviewing a number of key stakeholders, and reviewing various sets of data, a set of responsibilities began to take shape.
A group of full time faculty informally reviewed and approved the document. It was then placed into the orientation for new faculty. It was a requirement that this be acknowledged in order to move forward in the orientation.
In the fall of 2010, the expectations document was formally reviewed by full time faculty. It was then sent out to all teaching faculty. In the term following the distribution of the expectations, the college saw a 70% increase in the number of log-ons for our faculty. In the time frame from 2006-2011, there was a 30% decrease in concerns raised about instruction.
This information has also been shared with students to synchronize expectations.
Following are the expectations:
Instructor Roles and Responsibilities – Abridged
CDL expects you to play an active role in creating a positive online learning experience. Your role includes keeping student-to-student discussions focused on course content that is appropriate to the level of the course and providing substantive, timely feedback on individual and group assignments. Written assessments should include narrative summaries and commentaries as a way to engage students with the course material and help students develop the ability to evaluate and improve their own work. In some cases, a phone conversation, in addition to written feedback and documentation, might help a student grasp a difficult concept (Please see the unabridged version immediately following these 9 points).
An instructor is expected to:
• Engage in each individual course at least 3 non-consecutive days per week.
• Provide formative feedback within a maximum of 7 to 10 days of receipt.
• Respond to any student or college personnel requests within 48 hours
• Review course at least two weeks prior to student access.
• Be involved an average of 8-10 hours per week, per course for 15 weeks course
• Accommodate and work with students with disabilities
• Maintain regular course communication
• Maintain accurate student course records
• Submit any necessary administrative paperwork
Instructor Role and Responsibilities- Unabridged
CDL expects you to play an active role in creating a positive online learning experience. Your role includes keeping student-to-student discussions focused on course content that is appropriate to the level of the course and providing substantive, timely feedback on individual and group assignments. Written assessments should include narrative summaries and commentaries as a way to engage students with the course material and help them develop the ability to evaluate and improve their own work. In some cases, a phone conversation, in addition to written feedback and documentation, might help a student grasp a difficult concept. Generally, the educational expectations CDL has for the Instructor include:
1. Set the stage for the study, establish rapport, and clarify your expectations of the students
2. Maintain regular social and teaching presence to create a positive online learning community.
3. Provide substantive and timely feedback on discussions and academic work submitted by the student.
4. Facilitate student-to-student discussion to enhance individual learning.
5. Stimulate reflection and critical thinking on the part of the student.
6. Encourage the student to engage with the material and produce his/her best work.
7. Acquaint students with excellence in the field helping him/her learn to judge quality of his/her own work.
8. Help the student make relevant connections between the course work and his/her personal and professional interests and experience.
9. Extend the learning beyond the course material where appropriate.
10. Satisfactorily bring the study to closure and write an individualized final narrative evaluation of the student’s academic performance in the course which promotes learning and areas for further development.
These guidelines reflect generalized expectations that Center for Distance Learning holds for all of its instructors. Depending upon the structure and content of your course, your Area Coordinator may require slight deviations from these guidelines.
BEFORE THE TERM
Course Preparation – Review course readings/related material, course information, modules, links, and special features, learning activities, etc. Prepare course at least two weeks before students enter the course: make updates to contact information; provide dates to course schedule; add a course announcement and prepare your introduction and ‘Welcome!’ to students. [Note: under special circumstances, a course may not be available the typical 3-4 weeks before the term starts, if there is a special case, it is expected that information will be updated in a reasonable time frame.]
DURING THE TERM
“Virtual” Classroom Activity – Instructor’s time commitment to one course, during the term, should be, approximately an average of 8-10 hours per week for 15 weeks (this may vary depending on course structure, schedule, discussions and assignments and does not include time for preparation before the term begins nor does it include time for submitting final outcomes, evaluations and grades after the term ends). An instructor’s time commitment includes but is not limited to evaluating papers, engaging in the course as described above, posting announcements, providing responding to private folders and/or course mail, answering questions, reviewing course materials, supporting students, etc. An instructor is expected to accommodate and work with students with disabilities; an instructor will receive formal notification of students requesting special accommodations.
• Engagement in the course – Engage in the course at least 3 times a week. Engaging students includes answering inquiries at each log-on; facilitating and monitoring discussions; establishing teaching presence. Many instructors will log in daily to cut down on longer, less frequent logins.
• Feedback to students – Provide prompt constructive formative assignment feedback. How long should it take to return an assignment? Clearly, no single answer can be given since a range of factors affect turnaround — the number of assignments on any one occasion, the time you have available, the need for a considered and helpful response to each assignment. However, we expect a normal turnaround to take place within 7 to 10 days of receipt of the assignment due date. If the assignment is submitted late, then feedback should be provided 7 to 10 days from submission. It is especially important to return the first course assignment quickly since students may otherwise have no sense of how well they are doing and lose motivation. If circumstances arise which prevent your timely return of assignments, contact your Area Coordinator immediately.
• Course Communication – Maintain regular course communication such as: posting regular course announcements; posing questions/objectives and outside resources in discussion areas; responding to student posts regularly; checking emails; in-course email; private folders; and ask-a-question areas. Clearly identify the instructor’s preferred mode of communication.
• Applying learning theory – Using sound pedagogical practices to stimulate a student’s learning and critical thinking through such items as evaluative comments, discussion posts, and other interaction in the course.
• Administer the course- Maintain accurate student course records on attendance, assignments, discussions, special projects, etc.; utilize academic supports (such as SMARTHINKING, peer tutoring, and academic assistance tickets) when needed; responding to queries from student service professionals and other college personnel, etc. When a situation occurs which prohibits your ability to meet these expectations, contact the course AC/AAC or student services as soon as possible.
END OF TERM
• Judgment on student outcome – Complete and submit final course outcomes, evaluations and grades as appropriate for each student no later than the dates identified on the College’s term calendar (www.esc.edu/termcalendar).
• Manage incompletes – Grading completed work, submitting final course evaluations and grades).
Stay connected with your Area Coordinator, the ANGEL CDL faculty website, the GREAT Gateway, and regularly checking your email account for queries, CDL announcements, updates, news, requests, training and development opportunities, etc.
• Respond to any student or college personnel requests within two business days.
• It is good practice to document any student contact outside the course (e.g., phone calls, email)and retain all student/instructor communications in the course for archival purposes;
• Discuss student issues with your area coordinator or a CDL student service professional as appropriate;
• Submit necessary paperwork, reports, or submissions (i.e. attendance) as requested and/or required.
• Keep your contact information updated with the college.
• Complete training, workshops, or professional development as necessary.