Quality Standards of Online Courses

Welcome! This tutorial will help you to create basic elements of “virtual presence” in your Blackboard course, as suggested by the General Announcement to Faculty sent by Provost Dr. Weldon Jackson on July 15th 2016. The tutorial was designed at a basic level to address a wide range of instructors. If you have taught online or taken any of the LOTTO Institutes of Academic Computing, the concepts  explained here probably will look very simple. You may skip some links and go to the parts containing something new.

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