These academic policies and procedures for online learning are maintained by the Office of the Provost and elaborate on the institutional policy found in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs.
Information for Faculty
Online course material is expected to meet WC3 Accessibility Standards.
Faculty should primarily use the Ithaca College Learning Management system to complete activities specifically approved by the college. Faculty must abide by the policies and procedures described in Section 2.10 Technology Use Policies of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.
Other technological tools integrated within the learning management system can also be used as appropriate. Faculty may use other external technological tools if needed to support specific teaching needs for a course; however, all core course material (e.g., course expectations, syllabus, and grades) must be maintained within the college learning management system.
Faculty should be aware that college information technology technical assistance and troubleshooting may not be available to faculty or students for technologies that are not centrally supported by the college. Faculty should consider the obstacles that managing multiple software platforms may present for student success in a course and use the college learning management system and supported integrated tools whenever possible.
All online coursework and credit-bearing programs must be submitted and approved through the appropriate school curriculum committees and the Academic Policies Committee or Graduate Council, as appropriate.
Course Prerequisites and Restrictions
Prerequisites and other restrictions for online coursework shall be consistent with comparable in-person coursework. However, because online coursework can vary in delivery and technical sophistication, and because students must assume much greater independent responsibility, special restrictions such as technical skills, equipment, cohort requirements, and other expectations could be required as conditions of enrollment in an online course or programs that is not necessary for a comparable in-person course or program. These requirements must be clearly designated in the college course registration system and communicated to prospective students prior to enrollment.
Course Designation and Contact Hours
Online coursework must be designated as either asynchronous or synchronous, and communicated to the Office of the Registrar at the time of course rostering. The definitions of synchronous and asynchronous online instruction are as follows:
- Synchronous – Interactions between Instructors and Students take place simultaneously in prescheduled meeting times.
- Asynchronous – Interactions between Instructors and Students take place at different times as assigned by the instructor.
Faculty must maintain primary course material (e.g., course expectations, syllabus, and grading) within the designated college learning management system. If a program must use a different learning management system to maintain primary course material, approval from their dean’s office is required prior to implementation. Records must be retained in accordance with Section 2.43 Record Retention and Disposition Policy of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.
The College’s plagiarism and academic integrity policies as outlined in the Students’ Standards of Academic Conduct apply in the same manner to online coursework. Faculty should be aware that online programs and courses may present new challenges to academic integrity, which should be addressed as part of the instructional design plan for the course.
Course syllabi, regardless of modality, must adhere to the college syllabus policy. Given that the delivery of an online course differs from face-to-face instruction, course syllabi are expected to include additional instructions to support student success in the course:
- Syllabi for online coursework must clarify any restrictions or requirements (e.g. high-speed internet connection for streaming video content, upload/download of large files, software and file-type requirements, etc.) required by the online format, but not required for students in comparable courses taught in-person.
- Syllabi must provide clear expectations regarding whether students are expected to have their cameras on while the class is in session. Given that completing an online course is a student choice, it is strongly recommended that a ‘camera on’ policy is used.
- Syllabi must provide clear expectations regarding student course-contact, such as regularly logging into the course learning management system to view announcements and engage with class materials, participating in class discussions or activities, completing and submitting all assignments, and regularly communicating with their classmates.
- Syllabi must be clear regarding faculty response times. Students should be aware that responses will not likely be immediate but can be expected within a reasonable timeframe (e.g., 24 hours) as determined by the course instructor and/or degree program. Response times may vary depending upon the course and the standards for a degree program.
Finally, faculty are encouraged to include in syllabi information about relevant college support services that may apply to their course as these may not be as familiar to students without on-campus access. These services could include, but are not limited to the bookstore, student accessibility services, technical help, tutoring, or the library (although access to some library databases and e-resources materials may not be accessible for international audiences due to licensing restrictions).
While the method of instruction may be different in an online course compared to an in-person course, the total learning time must be comparable. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recognizes that distinguishing between “in-class” and “outside-class” time for students is far more challenging with online coursework. Faculty should consider the time that it takes to complete activities below to be included when calculating instructional time:
- reading or watching course presentations or lectures
- reading other materials
- participation in online discussions
- doing research
- writing papers or other assignments
- completing all other assignments (e.g. projects)
Time spent downloading or uploading documents, troubleshooting technical problems, or in chat rooms (unless on course assignments such as group projects) should not be counted.
Other useful information to use when calculating instructional time:
the course objectives and expected learning outcomes
the list of topics in the course outline or syllabus; the textbooks, additional readings, and related education materials (such as software) required
statements in course materials informing students of the time and/or effort they are expected to devote to the course or individual parts of it
a listing of the pedagogical tools to be used in the online course, how each will be used, and the expectations for participation (e.g., in an online discussion, how many substantive postings will be required of a student for each week or unit?)
These guidelines apply even if the course is being offered in a condensed timeframe. The Center for Faculty Excellence maintains resources on this webpage that faculty can consult for guidance in how to adapt coursework in condensed timeframes.
Section 4.6.2: Office Hours of the Ithaca College Policy Manual will apply to online coursework.
In addition, a faculty member teaching an online course, or as an advisor in an online program must offer regularly scheduled office hours in a remote format for students who are not able to be physically present on campus. These office hours may be scheduled at the same times as those offered to students enrolled for in-person classes or residential programs.
Section 2.43 Record Retention and Disposition Policy of the Ithaca College Policy Manual applies in the same manner to online coursework.
Online courses are expected to achieve the same learning outcomes as comparable classroom-based courses. The methods chosen for assessing student learning must be appropriate to the content, learning design, technologies and course objectives and comply with any department or college-wide standards.
Faculty Obligations, Rights, Academic Freedom, and Code of Ethics
Section 4.4: The Faculty’s Obligations, Rights, Academic Freedom, and Code of Ethics of the Ithaca College Policy manual applies in the same manner to online coursework.
Evaluation of Teaching
Credit-bearing online courses are evaluated with methods comparable to those used for in-person classes. Methods may also include questions that are appropriate to the delivery modality. Evaluations for credit-bearing coursework delivered as part of a faculty member’s teaching workload will be considered as part of teaching evaluation of faculty, consistent with Section 4.12: Evaluation of Faculty of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.
The workload associated with teaching online courses will be considered in a manner consistent with Section 4.6.1: Academic Workload of the Ithaca College Policy Manual.