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Online and/or Hybrid Instruction

Recommended By: Academic Senate
Approved: Ruben Armiñana, President
Date of Issue: February 14, 2013
Effective Date: February 14, 2013
Contact Office: Academic Affairs

Policy #2013-1

  1. Preamble
    The purpose of this policy is to provide continuity in the quality and climate of the educational environment. This policy shall apply to all academic credit-bearing courses, course sections, and degree programs offered partially (hybrid) or fully online by Sonoma State University.
  2. Definitions
    • Online Course - A course where most or all of the content is delivered online. Typically has no face-to-face meetings.
    • Hybrid Course (Blended) - A course that blends online and face-to-face delivery. Substantial proportion of the content is delivered online, typically uses online discussions, and typically has a reduced number of face-to-face meetings.
    • Web-Facilitated Course - A course that uses web-based technology to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. May use a course management system or web pages to post the syllabus and assignments. This is not considered online or hybrid format.
  3. Principles for Online and/or Hybrid Instruction
    1. Student Support, Rights, and Responsibilities
      1. All course sections that are offered solely or partially through online instruction shall clearly set expectations for appropriate and timely interactions between faculty and students and among students.
      2. Students have the right to know the modes of delivery, including any on-campus meeting requirements, and technological requirements of each course section, program and degree offered by the University. Students will have access to this information before enrolling in a course section or program.
      3. Criteria for student success in online and hybrid course sections and programs will be as rigorous and comprehensive as those used in classroom-based course sections, and these criteria shall be clearly communicated to students.
      4. Students enrolled in online or hybrid course sections are subject to the same academic regulations applicable to students enrolled in any SSU course section. Identification management requires students log in with their unique usernames and passwords for authentication in the online environment. Sharing or use of another’s identification online is subject to sanctions. Academic standards regarding cheating, plagiarism, and appropriate behavior will be clearly communicated to students in online and hybrid course sections and programs. (For example, see Cheating and Plagiarism Policy.
      5. Students taking online or hybrid course sections have the same basic privileges as other SSU students. Each student enrolled in an online or hybrid course section or program shall be informed of available instructional support, student services/advisers, library resources, and support services for students with disabilities.
      6. Technical support consistent with that available to all other SSU students shall be made available to students in online, hybrid or web-facilitated course sections and programs.
      7. In accordance with the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative, accessible design will be incorporated into the creation of all new course sections with online components. Existing online course content will be made accessible as online materials are redesigned or modified or when a student with a disability enrolls in the course. (CSU Accessible Technology Initiative http://www.calstate.edu/accessibility/)
    2. Faculty Support, Rights and Responsibilities
      1. Criteria for student success in online and hybrid course sections and programs shall be as rigorous and comprehensive as those used in classroom-based course sections, and these criteria shall be clearly communicated to students. See course outline policy.
      2. Students enrolled in online or hybrid course sections are subject to the same academic regulations applicable to students enrolled in any SSU course section. Academic standards regarding cheating, plagiarism, and appropriate behavior shall be clearly communicated to students in online and hybrid course sections and programs. [For example, see Cheating and Plagiarism Policy.
      3. In accordance with the provisions of the CSU/CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement, faculty shall have the same control and ownership of the substantive and intellectual content of their online or hybrid course-related materials that faculty have with respect to their face-to-face courses.
      4. Faculty hiring practices, standards, and expected qualifications for online or hybrid courses will remain consistent with current hiring, retention, or promotion practices.
      5. Faculty teaching online or hybrid courses will be subject to the same responsibilities, and will enjoy the same rights, as faculty teaching traditional courses, as outlined in the Sonoma State University “Statement of Professional Responsibility and Faculty Bill of Rights”. The principles outlined in the SSU Academic Freedom policy will apply equally to online and hybrid courses.
      6. Faculty shall follow the guidelines established by the SSU Policy on Copyrighted Ownership
      7. Faculty teaching a fully online course section will use the Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness for Courses as outlined by university policy on SETE’s.
      8. Because online and hybrid instruction involves the use of technologies and teaching methods that require specialized training, the University shall offer training and support to faculty. Any faculty member who teaches online or hybrid courses shall have the adequate opportunity to receive training in online instruction and be encouraged to make use of any university-offered resources and training. Ideally, development of course materials to offer a new online or hybrid course should begin a semester in advance to facilitate instructional technical support.
      9. Each time a new or existing course section will be taught online or with a hybrid format, the Department will communicate with Instructional Technology to ensure that the course will be linked in the online course index to allow time for technical support.
      10. In accordance with the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative, accessible design will be incorporated into the creation of all new course sections with online components (web facilitated, hybrid or online). Existing online course content will be made accessible as online materials are redesigned or modified or when a student with a disability enrolls in the course. (CSU Accessible Technology Initiative)
      11. All online and hybrid courses listed in the Class Schedule shall normally be hosted on California State University servers or other servers approved by the Chief Informational Officer and utilize university approved content delivery tools.
      12. Any course section that uses online or hybrid instruction shall indicate so in the course syllabus. A paper copy of each course syllabus is to be maintained by the Department office. In addition to information specified in the Syllabus Guidelines, the following information is recommended to be included in course syllabi for online and hybrid course sections:
        1. Prerequisite technical competencies
        2. Contact information for technical assistance
        3. Course requirements for participation
        4. Instructor contact information
        5. On-campus meeting requirements, if applicable
        6. Where and how faculty will track online student activity
        7. Standards for online etiquette
        8. Alternative procedures for submitting work in the event of SSU technology problems
      13. Faculty have a right to know, and department chairs and program directors have the responsibility to inform faculty of the modes of delivery, including any on-campus meeting requirements, and technological requirements of relevant course sections, programs, or degrees offered by the department or the program. Faculty shall have access to this information before being assigned any course.
      14. All student work, student grades, and other Protected Level 1 or Level 2 data, as defined in the CSU Information Security Data Classification Standard
      15. Class size and corresponding faculty workload will be determined by the appropriate administrator in consultation with the faculty member, taking into account the level of interaction between faculty and students in the course environment.
      16. Faculty office hours for online or hybrid courses will remain consistent with the current SSU practices and policies.
  4. Approval of Online or Hybrid Courses and Degree Programs
    1. New Online or Hybrid Degree Programs
      1. Departments are responsible for deciding which course (or sections) as well as which degree or certificate programs will be offered in an online or hybrid format. Departments will be encouraged to develop individual policies regarding the process for determining which courses or sections as well as which degree or certificate programs will be offered in an online or hybrid format.
      2. New online or hybrid degree programs or program modifications (including majors, minors, options, certificates and subject matter preparation programs) shall be reviewed in accordance with the usual Program Proposal process. Any department or degree program in which at least 50% of the instruction is offered online shall be required to meet Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) substantive change requirements.
      3. No individual, program, or department shall agree in a contract with any private or public entity to deliver courses or programs on behalf of SSU without prior university approval.
    2. New Online or Hybrid Courses
      1. New online or hybrid courses are approved through the regular curriculum review process, following the same process as any new course. www.sonoma.edu/education/forms/cccourseproposal.pdf
    3. Converting Existing Courses or Sections to an Online or Hybrid Format
      1. In the case of existing courses, approval for the use of online or hybrid instruction is within the purview of the faculty. Consultation with the department and/or program is expected to ensure programmatic concepts are maintained. In addition, the Department will communicate with Instructional Technology to ensure that the course will be linked in the online course index to allow time for technical support.

Updated March 7, 2013 by SSU.policies@sonoma.edu