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This Faculty Guide has been developed especially for to assist faculty members and supporting administrative staff at institutions offering a course. For a printed copy, contact us.
The guide is composed of five principal sections:
The first section, About Distance Education, examines questions generally asked about the instruction at a distance.
The Faculty Role, the second section, is designed for the faculty member who will actually be responsible for conducting the course. This section describes various areas of responsibility assumed by the instructor, and creative approaches that can enrich the learning experience for enrolled students.
The third section, About the Course, describes the development of the course, course goals, and the various elements of the course. Since this section explains the basic facts about the course - what it is, what it teaches, and how it teaches - it should be carefully reviewed by all persons participating in the course.
The Test Bank, the fourth section, contains a complete bank of objective questions for the twenty-six lessons of each course. These questions can be used as a foundation on which to build weekly quizzes, midterms, and final examinations. Additional test questions are usually available from the publisher.
Promoting the Course, the final section, contains suggestions regarding various media that can be used in promoting the course, as well as a sample press release and television/cable guide listings. This information should be of particular interest to those administering the course and the colleges’ public information officer.
The Distance Education Student
Demographic analyses of various programs utilizing non-traditional delivery systems reveal that such programs attract a unique audience:
For many of these people a distance education course represents their first direct contact with college. Success in this initial experience, in the non-threatening privacy of their homes, often provides the impetus for further educational ventures. Frequently the opportunity to meet instructors, observe facilities, and learn of other related courses offered by the college results in students registering for additional courses on campus.
If the course is managed entirely online, the instructor can integrate "community building activites" to engage the students in discussion about educational goals and perhaps other courses offered at a distance.
Although specific responsibilities for this instructional experience should be well defined and shared among administrators, public information specialists, media personnel, and other support personnel who may be available, the course instructor generally retains major responsibility for conducting the course on campus.
Although the elements of a course have been designed as a complete instructional system, each instructor will want to approach course planning as he or she would with an on-campus course–preparing general objectives, supplementary reading lists, and additional activities for the student populations he or she is teaching. How creative and imaginative the campus instructor is in using or adding to the basic elements will, to a large extent, determine whether students enjoy a meaningful learning experience.
Communication with Students
For most students taking a course, written communications from the college will be their primary direct contact with the institution. The initial contact with enrolled students is particularly important.
Unless students receive prompt acknowledgment of their enrollment they may not feel they have completed registration. Immediately upon receipt of the registration form or email, the instructor should contact the student. This communication should include:
Textbook and Study Guide
As the instructor you may wish to require or recommend additional readings, or develop a learning kit that utilizes local, community, or state resources. As with classes on campus, it is important for you to notify the college bookstore of the material required for each course, particularly if additional sources beyond the basic material will be involved. Students need to have the option to order course materials online.
Examinations and Grading
The number and nature of examinations, and the method by which students are evaluated, are entirely at the discretion of the campus instructor. As with any on-campus class, he or she can best determine methods of evaluating student achievement in each class.
A test bank of questions is provided. As instructor for the course you may elect to use the examinations as is, modify it for local use, or disregard it altogether. Remember, if the quizzes are to be available online, the questions and answers will have to be uploaded to the Course Management System (CMS), or your online quiz editor.
Try Respondus Lite to create quiz files which can be uploaded to WebCT and Blackboard.
Consistent with on-campus classes, you may wish to offer alternatives to the objectives quizzes traditionally administered: field projects, research papers, or multimedia projects.
Differences in size and facilities influence the staffing and support colleges provide to distance education instructors and students. The college library should be advised of materials students will need for the course. Any lab with access to the internet can faciltate the use of course materials.
Students should also be given information regarding counseling services, recreational opportunities, and other options available to students enrolled at the college.