Online Course Development and Review

Section 2 Principles of Good Practice

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Section 2

Principles of Good Practice

From the HLC with some revision:

According to the Higher Learning Commission, all learning-focused organizations should strive to create learning environments supportive of the multiple learning styles of their students, and frequently turn to new technologies to assist in these efforts. The HLC criterion of accreditation draws particular attention not only to the need to attend to learning environments, but also the need to attend to services and facilities that support student learning. The institution’s program quality and learning goals should be consistent across all modes of delivery and all locations (on the main campus, at additional locations, by distance delivery, as dual credit, through contractual or consortial arrangements, etc.). The learning-focused organization also supports the learning of other key constituents.

Principles of Good Practice for Distance Education (APA)
1. That education is best experienced within a community of learning where competent professionals are actively and cooperatively involved with creating, providing, and improving the instructional program;

3. That learning is dynamic and interactive regardless of the setting in which it occurs;

4. That instructional programs leading to degrees have integrity and are organized around substantive and coherent curricula which define expected learning outcomes;

5. That institutions accept the obligation to address student needs related to, and to provide the resources necessary for their academic success;

6. That institutions are responsible for the education provided in their name;

7. That institutions undertake the assessment and improvement of their quality, giving particular emphasis to student learning; and,

8. That institutions voluntarily subject themselves to peer review.

Source: (2002) PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE IN DISTANCE EDUCATION AND THEIR APPLICATION TO PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN PSYCHOLOGY, Report of the Task Force on Distance Education and Training in Professional Psychology, American Psychological Association
Principles of Good Practice: Curriculum and Instruction
1. The course offered electronically is coherent and complete.



Necessary course materials are identified. Information on how to purchase or obtain materials is provided if necessary.

If students are not required to meet on campus, they can complete the course

without physically visiting the institution offering the course. (i.e. all necessary instruction and support infrastructure is in place to serve the off-campus students.)

2. The course includes:

Note: A positive response is required for the following unless otherwise indicated. Most of these items will be present in the MSC Online Syllabus Template provided by the Academic Affairs office.



Introduction (i.e. “Start here” button)

Instructor introduction

Course prerequisites

Course number & title

Instructor name/contact information

Required text including ISBN

Contact information for the MSC Bookstore

Learning objectives

Information on course assessment and grading policy

Information and/or links to learner support services

Policies and Procedures of the course

Calendar of all assignments

Graphical and multimedia elements (optional)

PDF and other downloadable files (optional)

Links to other web sites (optional)

Interactive exercises (optional)

Evaluation instruments (i.e., Connect) (optional)

Link to online conference or chat (optional)

3. Technical Requirements:



Support information or link

Technical requirements for the course

Updated internet browser plug-ins (Adobe Flash player, Adobe Shockwave, etc.)

Technical requirements specific to course:

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft PowerPoint

Adobe Acrobat

Other - Specify below:

4. The course provides for multiple avenues for interaction between faculty and students and among students (minimum of 3 avenues of interaction).



Interaction with and among students is achieved through (check all that


Asynchronous discussion

Synchronous chat

Team projects

Individual email

Group email

Audio conference


Interactive Video (ITV)

Student posting of assignments for review by other students

Other - Specify below:

Feedback for students is provided in a timely manner. Assignments are assessed within 10 working days and questions are answered within 2 working days. Guidelines for feedback are defined or outlined in the syllabus or course menu.

Opportunities for student-faculty and student-student interaction allow for the development of an online learning community that is independent of course assessment (i.e. Open discussions, virtual café, chat room, etc.)

5. Academic standards for all programs or courses offered electronically will be the same as those for programs or courses delivered by other means at the institution where the program or course originates.



The online course provides students with goals and objectives that are equivalent to goals and objectives used the lecture course.

The online course specifies technology, competence and skills that are equivalent to the lecture course

This online course meets the same institutional standards for content, reflective learning, competencies, etc. as the lecture course.

The online course has assessment and evaluation practices equivalent to the lecture course.

This online course demonstrates equivalent rigor and expectation to the lecture course.

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