Principles of Online Learning
Fundamental teaching and learning standards for undergraduate education also apply to teaching online and hybrid courses. This means that the following components, based on California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative, should guide Distance Education courses:
Component 1 - Course Design
Course design addresses elements of instructional design. Course design includes such elements as structure of the course, learning objectives, organization of content, and instructional strategies that foster student-centered learning.
Component 2 - Interaction & Collaboration (Regular and Effective Contact)
Interaction and Collaboration can take many forms. These criteria place emphasis on the type and amount of interaction and collaboration within an online environment. “Interaction” denotes communication between and among learners and instructors, synchronously or asynchronously. “Collaboration” is a subset of interaction and refers specifically to those activities in which groups are working interdependently toward a shared result. Students should have a sense of belonging to a group, rather than each student perceiving himself/herself studying independently.
Regular effective contact is a California requirement for distance learning which states that instructors must initiate contact with students on a regular and timely basis both to ensure the quality of instruction and to verify performance and participation standards.
Component 3 - Assessment
Online assessments should measure progress towards learning outcomes, and provide feedback to students and instructor. Instructors should use assessments as an ongoing means of measuring and assessing student learning.
Component 4 - Learner Support
Distance education instructors should engage all types of learners by providing content and assessments that respect and accommodate the different needs, learning styles and strategies of each student. In addition, instructors should address the support resources available to students taking the course. Such resources may be accessible within or external to the course environment.
Component 5 - Accessibility
Instructors should make certain that their courses meet all the necessary accessibility requirements (508 compliance). They should also create course content and assessments that are user friendly in terms of technology and provide alternate means of access to the course material should there be problems with the Learning Management System.