When preparing to teach a distance education course, there are several steps that must be taken to ensure success for both faculty and students.
First, if the class is being developed or taught for the first time, we strongly recommend that faculty immediately schedule an appointment with the Instructional Designer to receive the specific strategies and recommendations for moving forward. Ideally, this appointment should be scheduled two-three months prior to the semester the course is offered. Faculty that take advantage of this service will be provided with best practices for teaching online, the Southern Regional Education Board's Principles of Good Practice, our "Standards for the Development of Distance Education Courses," and our "Standards for Quality Instruction in Distance Education Courses."
Secondly, if this is a class that has been taught in a distance education format for a while, faculty may find value in a course review and evaluation. Upon request, the Instructional Designer enrolls in the respective Blackboard course(s) to review instructional techniques and activities, and provide structured feedback to the faculty. Faculty may also request to review our "Standards for the Development of Distance Education Courses" as well as our "Standards for Quality Instruction in Distance Education Courses." The SREB's Principles of Good Practice are available by clicking on the Electronic Campus link on the bottom right of the Distance Education home page.
If you choose to deliver the course via videoconferencing, you should consult with Distance Education staff regarding course and location scheduling considerations. You may also find it beneficial to supplement the videoconferencing course with Blackboard. More information about videoconferencing is provided via the Videoconferencing link to the right. You may also find it helpful to read the information provided in the Supplementing Courses section of our site and contact the Office of Distance Education for suggestions and best practices for preparing your supplement.
Additional recommendations for teaching online and via videoconferencing are provided on the respective pages linked to the right. Please note that the individual college or department may have required procedures, so be sure to consult with your department head for permission to offer the course through one of the current distance education formats (online via Blackboard or videoconferencing). You should also consult with your department head regarding listing your course on the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus website. For more information about listing your course with SREB, contact the Director of Distance Education.
Once you have consulted with the appropriate Distance Education personnel and the course has been approved by your department, college, and appropriate curriculum committee, your department is responsible for entering the course into the master schedule. Be sure to use appropriate section numbers, abbreviations, and codes for the specific distance education format and/or location(s).
Your department should notify the Director of the Office of Distance Education that the course has been approved and has been entered into the Master Schedule. If your course is associated with any special programs, such as STEP, please include that information as well.
We strongly recommend that faculty notify students that they will use Blackboard to complete all coursework prior to the first day of class. This is easily accomplished using features built into Blackboard. Students should also be reminded that all Distance Education course formats follow the University's Academic Calendar.