Faculty course designers may proceed with course development with the assistance of the Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) staff and their assigned Online Faculty Mentor (OFM) after:
It is also highly recommended that, prior to development, course designers spend adequate time planning the design of their new course using resources described on the Planning section of this website.
MTSU offers the following services to assist faculty course designers.
Instructional Design Specialist
First-time and experienced course designers are encouraged to discuss the design or redesign of their courses with MTSU Instructional Design Specialist, Paula Calahan. Paula is located in Room 348 of the James E. Walker Library in the Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technology Center, and may be reached at 615-494-7671 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC)
The Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) staff, located in the Telecommunications Building, is happy to instruct course designers on the use of various course development and instruction tools. Appointments may be made for one-on-one consultations by calling 904-8189. The FITC also offers workshops for which faculty may register.
D2L course development shells are provided by the FITC following workshop registration, scheduling a one-on-one training session, or by completing the Request for Course Development Shell Form.
Online Faculty Mentor (OFM)
An Online Faculty Mentor (OFM) is assigned to each course designer after the Course Proposal Form is received in Distance Education Faculty Services. OFMs serve as resources during course development, review, approval and initial course delivery/instruction. Course designers may request OFM expertise as often or as little as needed during these processes.
Course designers should develop their new online or hybrid courses according to these requirements and guidelines.
MTSU Online/Hybrid Course Guidelines
All MTSU online and hybrid courses must be developed in accordance with the MTSU Online/Hybrid Course Guidelines, which have been approved by the MTSU Distance Education Committee.
Peer Review Form
The Peer Review Form serves several purposes in the course development, review and approval processes.
PDF or HTML Content
Online and hybrid course designers are required to create content in, or transfer content from Word, PowerPoint, and/or Excel, to PDF or HTML, unless the course is dependent upon the use of such software. In D2L this may be accomplished by selecting "Add Single Topic".
"Word, PowerPoint, and Excel send security messages when linked to/from the Content area of D2L. Content that is translated to HTML or PDF opens up inside the D2L content frame instead of trying to pop up a new window or making the student deal with a security message." (If it is necessary to give students Word, PowerPoint, or Excel files, ITD suggests they link to these files from a drop box. Students with disabilities should not have problems accessing these files from a drop box either.)
Student Authentication Requirements
To be in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act and SACS Policy and Principles of Accreditation, MTSU must "demonstrate that the student who registers in a distance or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using, at the option of the institution, methods such as (1) a secure login and pass code, (2) proctored examinations, and (3) new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification."
This verification is accomplished by requiring the MTSU online student to:
1) use a secure login and pass code into the MTSU-supported Learning Management System,
currently Desire2Learn (D2L) and/or;
2) sit for proctored examinations.
Instruction by Other Faculty
Department chairs may assign the instruction of approved online and hybrid courses to other professors. It is recommended that courses be designed accordingly.
Development of original content is required in order to receive compensation. Students must be able to complete the course requirements and satisfy learning outcomes using the content within D2L without relying on a supplemental, external website.
MTSU online courses are to be designed for asynchronous learning. Students cannot be required to be on campus or online at specified dates/times, but may be given the opportunity to attend optional meetings.
Use of Supplemental/Publisher Websites
Course designers must create their online and hybrid courses to include the use of an MTSU-assigned email account—preferably within D2L. To comply with FERPA requirements (see section below), discussions regarding educational records between instructor and student must never take place outside an MTSU-assigned email account.
Student Communication and FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Per this Act, MTSU faculty must communicate with and provide course feedback (including grades) to their distance education students within an institutionally-assigned email account. Use of the MTSU email within D2L is preferred for online course instruction for archival and security purposes. However, distance instructors may respond to student emails received via the MTMail account.
Educational data (such as class schedule, grades, GPA, academic standing, test scores, academic transcripts, student employment, class lists, and email between the student and MTSU) and personally identifiable information (Social Security Number, driver's license number, account number, and credit or debit card number in association with the person's name or access code) must never be sent to or from a non-institutionally-assigned email account (http://www.mtsu.edu/records/docs/Best_Practices.pdf).
D2L Shared Content Repository Procedures
Lead designers are responsible for updating their online and hybrid courses and transferring the content to each sectional instructor's semester course shell. Sharing approved course content may be accomplished two ways:
Currently, instructors can freely move their own material between courses to which they're assigned as "Instructor" using D2L's "Copy Components" function. When an instructor wants to share course materials with a colleague, however, the instructor must first request that the colleague be enrolled as an "Instructor" in the D2L course before the colleague can access, review, and copy the desired material. (Please see "Moving Course Content" section below.)
Use of the D2L Content Repository, however, offers a new method that permits the authoring instructor (aka "course designer/master instructor") to export the entirety of their D2L material for a given course into a single "course package" file using D2L's "Export Components" function, and place the course package into a network folder which can be accessed and downloaded via hyperlink by the colleague instructor. The colleague instructor would subsequently import the course package into their own course using D2L's "Import Components" function on their terms and time schedule.
In addition to the availability and accessibility advantages, this new method inherently provides the means to effectively manage online course curricula by designating course designers/master instructors for selected courses who can easily ensure the availability and currency of their respective master course packages.
To preserve intellectual property rights, instructors are, of course, not obligated to share their D2L course material and, hence, not required to implement this shared content method. In specific instances where D2L course material has been developed under contract with University College, or as directed by departments and equivalent organizations, this method would be mandatory to ensure availability and accessibility of the master course package. The FITC highly recommends this method for those instructors who simply want to share their course material easily and swiftly with their colleagues. For all other cases where an instructor just wants to copy D2L course material between their own courses, this method would not be applicable, and the instructor would continue to use the "Copy Components" function.
Moving Course Content
If the D2L Repository is not used to store online course content, faculty may use these instructions to move content from the development shell to the semester shell.
When the course is complete, refer to the Course Approval section for peer review and course approval instructions. Please keep in mind that incomplete courses are not peer reviewed. All course elements must be developed in order for students to complete all requirements and learning outcomes when the Online Faculty Mentor conducts the peer review. Course developers may refer to the Peer Review Form for baseline elements required for course approval.