Quality Standards of Online Courses

Welcome! The Seven Core Essentials are simply a condensed form of Quality Matters; they do not address or restrict content delivery or knowledge in any way, thus Academic Freedom as defined by the Bowie State faculty handbook and USM in general is maintained and preserved. No one has ever tried to say Quality Matters runs counter to the principle of academic freedom.

The Provost's Office emphasized that the DEV must be compliant with the Seven Core Essentials checklist before a semester shell is created for those courses using the DEV shell. 

Seven Core Essentials Criteria 

Core Essential and Criteria Met?  
Core Essential 1: Full and complete syllabus for entire length of course  
Instructor Information Present (name, contact info, student hours/how to access them)    
Course Information Present (course name, section, number of credits, format, meeting times, location, how to access course, pre-reqs, required materials)    
Measurable Course Learning Objectives Present    
Course Calendar Present (with all topics, learning activities, and due dates)    
Policies and Expectations for the Course Present (both student and instructor)    
Grading Policy Present    
Attendance and Participation Policy Present    
Late Work/Make-up Work Policy Present    
Description of Major Learning Activities for Course Present    
Academic Integrity Policy Present    
Communication Policy Present    
ADA Compliance and Information About Seeking Course Accomodations Present    
Information about Accessing University Resources (health, academic, technology)    
Core Essential 2: All assignments associated with the course are complete and present.  
All graded work and due dates are included on the syllabus course calendar.    
All graded work is located in the appropriate folder or module in the course LMS.    
Core Essential 3: All graded activity for the course is properly tied into the Grade Center (submitted by students and graded by faculty within the Grade Center).  
All graded work is submitted in the LMS and graded within the Grade Center.    
All graded work is properly set up in the Grade Center per the stated grading policy.    
Core Essential 4: All instructions for successful completion of the course are explicitly written out and easily located.  
Course calendar that with due dates for graded work is present in "About This Course".    
Written instructions are included for all graded work.    
Written instructions for all graded work are clear and complete.    
Core Essential 5: Course scheduling is incorporated explicitly and succinctly and located for students in an obvious place.  
"About This Course" includes course meeting times and how to access class sessions.    
Topics for each class session are listed on the syllabus course calendar.    
Due dates for all graded work are included on the syllabus course calendar and within each assignment/work file.    
Core Essential 6: "Guided Tour" information about how to navigate through the course and navigate through the left margin tabs for ease-of-student navigability.  
Course tour (written or video) fully explains how to navigate through all tabs and folders    
Course tour is located on the "Start" page for the course, which is set as the entry page.    
Core Essential 7: Contact information for the faculty of record located at the end of the guided tour on the "Start" page.  
The following are present on the "Start" page: Instructor name, contact information, student hours and how to access them.    

Click the Self-Assessment Checklist to self review your course.

Why a Minimum Presence in Blackboard Learn?

The general purpose of the Provost’s initiative is to increase graduation rates by enhancing the overall success of students in the courses. According to many contemporary research studies, teaching presence is a key factor of students’ success in courses, leading to increased graduation rate. Obviously, instructors have actual presence before the students but how long and for how many? The advantage of using Blackboard is that the presence is extended 24 hours/7 days and technically all students in a class have access to it.

What is a Minimum Presence in Blackboard?

The Provost’s General Announcement includes four elements of virtual presence summarized below.

Elements of Virtual Teaching Presence in Courses

Minimum Presence Element -> Related College Success Factors

1.      Post the Course Syllabus ->  Students do better when they have Clarity of Expectations about what to learn, when to learn, which resources are available and how students will demonstrate learning. A well-structured course syllabus contains all these elements.

2.      Take and Report Attendance -> Attendance is an objective way of checking Time on Task; i.e.: assuring that students participate in activities designed to facilitate learning such as lectures, labs, class discussion, field experiences, etc. Attendance can be taken through the ICAN application and reported in Blackboard Grade Center.

3.      Report Grades in Grade Center -> Opportune and Continuous Feedback is universally recognized as a major learning factor. The Grade Center allows not only to report grades but also qualitative comments to students on every assignment.

4.      Use ICAN Early Warning System -> A common strategy of student retention and improvement of outcomes is Early Report and Intervention.  The instructor needs to know information about students, detect signs of academic distress and reach out to provide help. All this is facilitated through the ICAN building block in Blackboard (Top right tab in the Home page).

Tutorial Links