This section shares instructional best practices; federal regulations related to student privacy and engagement; teaching and lead designer responsibilities; sharing course content; faculty hiring, training, and compensation; and helpful resources.
MTSU online and hybrid courses are taught within a professor's course load, and faculty can see the populated classlist as students register. Students do not have access to their courses until the first day of class.
Lead designers (course developers) are responsible for maintaining their approved online and hybrid courses. Compensation of $50 per course is provided for lead designers who prepare (updating and sharing course content) their approved courses for sectional faculty. Lead designers can verify course preparation each semester by completing and signing the Semester Online/Hybrid Course Preparation Confirmation Form. Fees are paid annually (at the end of April) for the previous three semesters.
It is highly recommended that lead designers meet with faculty new to instruction of their courses to review the content and to assist in revising the welcome page and faculty contact information. New instructors will also need copies of required textbooks.
Note: These services should be provided by the lead designer even if he/she is not teaching a section of his/her own course that semester.
Sharing Course Content
Sharing approved course content with other instructors may be accomplished two ways:
D2L Shared Content Repository Procedures
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 their material 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.
Use of theD2L 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
Course developers who do not wish to store course content in the D2L Repository, may use these instructions to move it from a D2L development shell to a semester shell:
Faculty Readiness for Online Instruction
Faculty who wish to assess their readiness for online instruction may ask themselves these questions:
Will I be able to:
Do I know:
Do I have good writing skills?
"Preparing Students for Online Learning"
The VCU Center for Teaching Excellence discusses practices and provides resources faculty may use to help their students prepare for and be successful in the online environment.
Instructional Best Practices and MTSU Guidelines
Best Practices for Student Success and RODP Policies & Guidelines:
First Day of Class
• Email and post a message on the Discussion Board to students welcoming them to class and encouraging them to actively communicate with their classmates.
• Encourage students to email you regarding any learning problems or issues.
• Direct students to review the course syllabus and 'Getting Started' information which will help students to understand the course organization and requirements.
• Encourage students to review your course expectations and remind them of appropriate behavior in an online environment.
First Week of Class
Studies have shown that instructors who are available online every day during the first week have a significantly higher retention rate, increased communication and bonding, and fewer classroom problems.
Discussion Board Examples
The discussion board is a useful teaching tool and allows for student-to-student interaction. If you intend to grade discussion, provide students with guidelines. All students will post a response to each of the discussion questions. In addition each student will respond to the comments left by at least one of the other students. You may only respond once to any particular student and that student must respond to your comments. You may however respond to as many students as you like, and they may respond once to you.
General criteria used to assess class discussions:
(1) Content Mastery: Students must evidence an understanding of the fact, concepts, and theories presented in the assigned readings and lectures. This ability is the basis for all higher-level skills and must be made evident by comments and/or response to questions.
(2) Communication Skills: Students must be able to inform others in an intelligent manner what he/she knows. Ideas must be communicated clearly and persuasively. Communication skills include listening to others and understanding what they have said, responding appropriately, asking questions in a clear manner, avoiding rambling discourses or class domination, using proper vocabulary pertinent to the discussion, building on the ideas of others, etc.
(3) Synthesis/Integration: Students must be able to illuminate the connections between the material under consideration and other bodies of knowledge. For example, one could take several ideas from the reading or class discussions and combine them to produce a new perspective on an issue, or one could take outside materials (from other classes, personal experiences, etc.) and combine them to create novel insights. Students who probe the interdisciplinary roots of the theories presented or who are able to view the author or the materials from several viewpoints demonstrate this skill.
(4) Creativity: Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic materials and have gone on to produce their own insights. A simple repetition of ideas from the articles will not suffice, nor will simply commenting on what others have said. Students must go beyond the obvious by bringing their own beliefs and imagination to bear. Creativity may be displayed by showing further implications of the material, by applying it to a new field, or by finding new ways of articulating the materials, which produce significant insights.
(5) Valuing: Students should be able to identify the value inherent in the material studied. Furthermore, students should be able to articulate their own positions by reference to basic underlying values. Students must not simply feel something is wrong or incorrect; she or he must be able to state why, based on some hierarchy of values. In either accepting or rejecting a position, the operative values must be explicit.
(6) General Enthusiasm and Interest in the Class: This can be shown by regularity of discussion and bringing in outside, ancillary materials that you read or have passed along to you. The more substance students bring to the discussion, the higher their grades.
Student Engagement in MTSU Online Courses
Simply logging into a course no longer constitutes student participation in an online class. To be in compliance with new federal regulations regarding student engagement and participation in online courses, MTSU "must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically-related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question." For additional information, please review the Attendance Reporting tutorial provided by the Scheduling Center.
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, preferably within D2L. Faculty may respond to student emails received via the MTMail account, but 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-institutional assigned email account.
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.
The MTSU Student Evaluation of Faculty Instrument http://www.mtsu.edu/provost/newinstrument.pdf is used in the evaluation of distance educators. Distance Education Student Services http://www.mtsu.edu/universitycollege/distance/students.php facilitates the student evaluation process by emailing the survey link to all students enrolled in distance learning courses.
All distance learning instructors are evaluated every spring and fall semester. During summer semesters, ITD selects a small percentage of faculty for evaluation.
Hiring and Instruction Preparation
Required Faculty Training
Adjunct faculty are compensated based on their rank (see chart below) within their academic departments per TBR Guideline No. P-050.
|Faculty Rank||Rate Per Credit Hour|
Email and Course Access
a. Go to http://www.mtsu.edu/passwords.php
b. Click "How do I replace my PipelineMT password?"
c. Click the "STAFF/FACULTY" link.
d. Type in your social security number.
e. Click "agree" on the security policy screen, and you are then taken to a screen displaying your username and on which you may change your password.