Procedures

Picture of Books and a Pen

Online Course Designations - What do they mean?

F (95-100% = Fully at a Distance) The course requires only one face-to-face meeting and perhaps a proctored exam; it uses DE technologies for more than 95% of instruction time; it will impact the student's fees and residency requirements and is marked with an N in the Section Code in the bulletin on BanWeb. As of SP09, the eTuition rate is $40 above the base tuition, but the students only pay the one-time tech fee (unless they also take on-campus courses). Out-of-state students pay the same as in-state students. As of SP09, 40% of the $40 goes back to the offering department, 40% to the DDEC, and 20% to the Deans.

P (51-94% = Partially at a Distance) These courses meet at least 51% - 94% through videoconferencing, online, or other technologies, instead of face-to-face and are marked with a D in the Section Code in the bulletin on BanWeb. There is no price difference.

H (1-50% = Hybrid) Technology is used to deliver 50% or less of class sessions, but at least one class session is replaced by technology. There is no price difference and no section code in the public Banweb, although the information is collected and reported to the BOR in a hidden field.

T (Technology Enhanced) Technology is used in delivering instruction, but no class sessions are replaced by technology. (Ask yourself if the students could perform well in the class without technology. If not, your class is a T.) There is no price difference and no section code in the public Banweb, although the information is collected and reported to the BOR in a hidden field.

How to Get Started Teaching Online:

1. Know Your Stuff.
Familiarize yourself with the resources provided, the examples, the research, and decide just how far online you want to go. See: http://uwgonline.westga.edu/.

Know what others are doing. Search http://www.georgiaonmyline.org for offerings and http://www.ocwconsortium.org/ for free online courses.

2. Let People Know.
If you plan on teaching a course that is more than 50% online, discuss this with your department to ensure that the proper information is provided to the Registrar. The required form can be found at http://www.westga.edu/~distance/courseRequest/courseRequest.php. You should also familiarize yourself with the policies and guidelines that are linked from this form.

3. Contact UWG|Online for an initial consultation or training.
Contact our office at online@westga.edu or 678-839-6248 (specify if you are new to online teaching). We have a full menu of training resources, including self-paced tutorials on various topics at http://uwgonline.westga.edu/tutorials-and-faqs.php.

4. Get Going.
Refer to our 5-Star Rubric for Online Instruction: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/webct1/Rubric/.

Map out your course on paper and decide how you will meet course objectives and assess learning. Decide which tools will work best for you.

Call UWG|Online during any point in this process, sign up for our online self-paced courses on designing and teaching an online course, or use any of our other resources. Ask to see our adaptable templates, example courses, and join in the many opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing.

5. Check Yourself.
Give students a means of providing feedback about the course, which could be through a formative evaluation a few weeks into the term. Since you don't get the same visual or auditory cues from your students in an online environment, it is best to find out what is working or not working well in the class as soon as possible.

6. Learn from Mistakes.
Review your formative and end-of-term student evaluations, and make changes as needed. A first online course is rarely perfect.

7. Share Lessons Learned.
Research has shown that the ideal way that faculty learn to teach online is from experience, from one another, and from lessons learned. With that in mind, please share your knowledge with others!

Policies, Procedures, & Tips: What You Need to Know

Before offering your course online, please understand:

  1. Communication regarding your course delivery method is key. Instructors are responsible for ensuring that their courses are listed properly on BanWeb, including the correct section code (see sidebar on next page) and any pertinent comments:
    • When possible, communicate with your department before course sections are determined and specify whether your course is to be an F, P, H, or T.
    • For accreditation documentation, acceptance of minimum responsibilities (as well as the department’s), the DDEC’s, and the Registrar’s records, this form is required each term for each course section:
      http://www.westga.edu/~distance/courseRequest/courseRequest.php
    • Once courses are posted, check http://banweb.westga.edu to ensure that your course section code and comments are correct.
    • If you want course sections grouped together in one CourseDen class, please request that they be cross-listed. This has to be done well in advance of the term start date and must be done before you start building the course or you could lose all of your work when the change takes place. The form can be found at:
      http://www.westga.edu/~distance/webct1/faculty/crosslistform.php
    • Info from BanWeb is extracted and posted on USG’s GeorgiaOnMyLine.org
    • Failure to properly market a course’s info and delivery method could negatively impact accreditation, student billing, and financial aid.
  2. Faculty minimum responsibilities. The course request form linked above currently articulates some of these additional minimum responsibilities:
    • At least 2 hours of training on developing and teaching an online course. Certification Courses and workshops are offered continuously by the UWG|Online Faculty Development Center. For more information, visit:
      http://uwgonline.westga.edu or call 678-839-5289.
    • Instructors are responsible for maintaining final course grades and records. Backup your grades often by exporting the gradebook.
    • Instructors are responsible for reviewing campus security and privacy guidelines, as well as providing them to their students, grad assistants, or anyone to whom they may give course access. See: http://www.westga.edu/policy/index_3706.php
    • Accreditation, BOR, and campus guidelines may require that instructors include certain student services information in their course and that a copy of the syllabus be included in the CourseDen course site. A template for this info as well as other helpful materials can be found at:
      http://www.westga.edu/~distance/webct1/faculty/syllabus_checklist.html
  3. CourseDen (formerly WebCT, powered by GeorgiaVIEW) is the official USG-course management system providing 24-hour year round support, security, back-up, disaster recovery, and documentation of student info, course records, and content. If instructors use tools hosted on alternate servers through which neither USG or UWG has a service level agreement, the instructor is responsible for the security and maintenance of student records and course content, student support, and making sure that the use of the outside tool is in compliance with all university policies covering data security, records retention, etc., along with any legal requirements such as FERPA.
  4. Program planning is important.
    • Whether a program can be offered to a particular state's residents depends on the state and the program. In most states, our programs would be okay, as long as the program does not trigger a physical presence rule.

      Our unit, UWG Extended Learning, has information and a spreadsheet available to help ascertain whether it is safe to admit students from specific states in our online programs. The states can change their rules at any point in time and without sending notice to us. Therefore, it is advisable to check for updates before admitting an out-of-state student and to consult with us if you have a question.

      Generally speaking, UWG Extended Learning has applied for, been granted exemption for, or been granted authorization for all currently approved (approved by UWG Academic Affairs' processes, BOR, SACS) UWG online programs as of September 2013, in nearly all states. However, these exemptions and authorizations come with qualifiers. In many cases, for example, it is okay to admit a student from a particular state as long as the program does not trigger a physical presence rule.

      Physical presence (P.P.) rules vary from state-to-state, but most often dictate that we cannot (1) require students to take a practicum, clinical, student teaching, internship, etc; (2) directly market to state residents; (3) hire faculty who are residents of their state; or (4) have staff or agents in the state. Our website provides a visual: https://sites.google.com/site/uwgstateapprovals/.
    • Be careful not to offer a degree program more than 50% online without campus, BOR, and SACS approval; eCore and partially online (D section) courses count toward program totals. What this means is that if a student can take more than half of their courses/credit hours required of your program, as either N, D, or G sections, then pre-approval is needed. See: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/programs/
    • As a group, the faculty and administrators of the degree program should articulate the degree-specific policies, procedures, and best practices in designing and teaching online courses within the program. A sample of new SACS guidelines, expectations, and best practices, from the documents is linked at:
      http://www.westga.edu/~distance/programs/sacs.html
      • There is a logically sequenced course development schedule involving faculty input and ensuring availability of courses as students need them. A schedule of course offerings is available so that students can plan their programs.
      • There is consistency in course format.
      • Course design takes into consideration the need for and importance of interaction between faculty and students and among students.
      • There are policies concerning expectations of full and part-time faculty planning for, designing, and teaching distance education courses…
  5. Tuition & fees for online classes are different and may change.
    For example, students currently taking courses designated with an N or G section pay a different (higher) eTuition rate but pay less student fees. Also, non-residents taking online courses do not pay the out-of-state tuition, they pay the same eTuition rate as GA residents (this makes online courses more competitive and attractive to out-of-state students). However, there is talk of changing this current structure by adding additional student fees. The Bursar’s Office posts fees here:
    http://www.westga.edu/bursar index_4082.php
  6. A portion of the eTuition that your course generates goes back to your department. Out of the $90 eTuition charged per credit hour, half ($45) is currently retained by the VPAAs office to be used to supplement general funds. The remaining $45 per credit hour is divided as follows: 40% to the offering department, 40% to the DDEC for centralized services and licenses (like Wimba, Turnitin, etc.), and 20% goes to the offering college’s Dean’s office.

As you are designing the course:

  1. 5-Star Rubric/ Checklist. Consider using our rubrics or one specifically designed to meet the specific needs and guidelines for your degree program:
    http://uwgonline.westga.edu/best-practices.php
  2. Syllabus checklist and boilerplate info. Remember to include the required info in the syllabus or elsewhere in the course (see previous minimum requirements). If you use an alternate CMS, students must still authenticate through CourseDen and a syllabus must be provided there (for accreditation & security guidelines). The following checklist also links to, or provides, standard boilerplate info for your course:
    http://www.westga.edu/~distance/webct1/faculty/syllabus_checklist.html
  3. Decide if you will have proctored exams, how they will be implemented, and be sure to include detailed info in the syllabus or course. See:
    http://uwgonline.westga.edu/exams.php
  4. Consider requiring student orientation work during week 1. We provide two versions of a ready-made student orientation module, either of which can be imported into your course and edited to your liking. Requiring some sort of introduction discussion may also be a good idea to ease the students into the online classroom and build a sense of community. Retention research shows that the more comfortable online students are with the online tools, his/her classmates, and approaching an instructor with questions, the more likely they are to succeed. Here is a sample instructor bio/ introduction:
    http://uwgonline.westga.edu/best-practices.php
  5. Note: Students do not get access to the course the minute they register in BanWeb—it can take up to 48 working hours. As a result, it’s advisable not to require a substantial assignment or exam until at least 72 working hours after the last drop/add date or build in some flexibility with early deadlines.
  6. Other boilerplates, samples, free content, and best practices are also linked from the FACULTY link on the http://webct.westga.edu login page. A direct link can be found here:
    http://uwgonline.westga.edu/best-practices.php
  7. Remember copyright and ADA guidelines. See:
    http://www.westga.edu/~distance/webct1/help/copyright_ada.html
  8. Note: Students are not loaded until 1-2 days prior to the course’s official “term” start date, as programmed in Banner. For summer, this could mean that students get access in May. Even if you deny student access, the nightly data reloads could allow them back in. If your course is not ready, either post a disclaimer in the course header or hide all content. Students are denied access to courses according to the term end date in Banner (typically 2-3 weeks into the next term). There is one exception: students are not denied access to cross-listed sections unless you request it manually (this is a known bug).

After your course begins and ends:

  1. Note: myUWG/Banner and CourseDen rolls do not auto-synch and may not match.
    • When a student registers or adds a course in Banner, the course may appear in their “myCourses” tab on myUWG immediately. However, the student may not be able to login to CourseDen for 24-48 hours because the two systems must be synchronized through a manual process.
    • When a student drops a course in Banner, they are not dropped in CourseDen. Instructors must compare the two systems and manually un-enroll students as needed. We advise that this be done after the last drop for nonpayment. Students are typically reinstated a week past the last drop/add day and every few weeks during the semester.
  2. Note: You may be able to add missing students, other instructors or teaching assistants (if they are in the Desire2Learn database).
    • To add missing users: Click Roster > Add Participants > Add Existing Users > Search for desired user > Select the role you wish to assign and place a check in the box next to the user > Click Enroll Selected Users
  3. Banner is the official course record. If you want a student dropped for non-participation, a student wishes to withdraw, etc., do not un-enroll them in CourseDen until this action is first done in Banner. Even if you do un-enroll students in CourseDen, when the database updates and pulls info from Banner, they will be re-enrolled in CourseDen if the students are still in Banner.
  4. Backup your Grades often. This can be done in Desire2Learn by clicking Grades in the course navigation bar and then Export Grades.
  5. For more infor on preserving other course data, more tips, FAQs, bug reports, and help 24/7 365 days/year, go to:
    https://D2Lhelp.view.usg.edu
  6. Formative evaluations/ End-of-term evaluations: If you need help conducting a formative evaluation during your course, we can help. During the last week of the term, the DDEC conducts its own online student survey. In addition, provided that it is allowed by campus policy, the DDEC can also put your SEI online. Our evaluations are conducted outside of CourseDen, in CourseEval, and can be accessed online any time. Specific results are shared with the instructor, the Chair, and the Dean. All distance faculty are sent a form along with the results of their distance course surveys. The Evaluation Summary for Distance Courses form requires that the faculty provide written documentation reflecting on their DE course evaluation results and how the students' feedback will be used for improvement. Aggregate results are made available online at:
    http://www.westga.edu/~distance/data/eval/

Students: Proctored Exam Information for Online Students | Student Exam Request Form
Instructors: Proctored Exam Information for Online Instructors | Instructor Exam Request Form


Proctored Exam Information for Online Instructors

Your online sections may include students who do not live near Carrollton. Proctored tests can be facilitated on the campus by the instructor or department (free to students) and/or optionally provided at any approved testing site (for a fee paid to that site). Any single testing office may not be staffed or prepared to handle an influx of students all required to take an exam within the same time frame. Since a high proportion of UWG's online students may live in the Carrollton or Newnan area, it is imperative that instructors discuss their exam dates with the Carrollton and Newnan testing centers, to determine availability. If you have any questions about this process, please contact UWG Online (online@westga.edu/678-839-6248).

In order for your students to take proctored online or proctored written tests at one of our approved testing sites, detailed instructions and information on possible related testing fees should be noted in your syllabus and in the online course bulletin (Banweb) notes that are available under each course listing, before a student registers. The dates during which students may take the proctored tests should also be provided.

Depending on the approved testing site, site fees may vary (generally anywhere from $10 to $50). See the student instructions above.

Best Practices and Considerations

a. Based on what others in the USG are doing, proctored tests can be facilitated on the campus by the instructor or department (free) or optionally taken at any approved testing site (for a fee paid to that site).

b. Best practices & considerations:

  • Any single testing office may not be staffed or prepared to handle an influx of students all required to take an exam within the same time frame. Since a high proportion of UWG's online students may live in the Carrollton or Newnan area - this is especially true of the Carrollton and Newnan testing centers. If you encounter difficulty when trying to schedule an appointment with a testing office, please contact UWG Online (online@westga.edu/678-839-6248) so that we may do our best to accommodate your needs.
  • Instructor posts testing dates and options in Banner comments, before student registration begins. The same information is also provided in the course syllabus.
  • For those allowing an optional off-site proctor experience, a minimum of a three day testing window (including a Saturday) is set. (Some instructors add an additional requirement that the off-site proctored experience must occur before or during the on-site proctored one).
  • At least two weeks prior to the start of class, the instructor submits online proctored exam request form, notifying UWG Online of anticipated exams, dates, and specific processes to be followed. See the Instructor Exam Request Form.
  • At least two weeks prior to the exam window, the student submits online proctored exam request form, notifying UWG Online of scheduled test site, exams date and time, and specific processes to be followed. See Student Exam Request Form.
  • All proctored exams are either conducted online or submitted to UWG Online as a PDF that can be forwarded to the proctor via email.
  • Requests for original completed exams to be returned via postal mail will put an added burden on the student who may be asked to provide the self-addressed stamped envelope to the testing center. Additionally, the turn-around on these requests is not always fast. Tests have been lost through this method.
  • vConsiderations include time differences, back-up plans, support issues if the online exam is conducted in any LMS other than CourseDen (D2L)
  • In cases of insurmountable technical or logistical issues, UWG Online may have to provide the exam in an alternate format. Staff may also have to adjust quiz settings, dates, or times. Instructors will always be notified of any changes.
  • Communication is key. Students should perhaps be quizzed over the text dates and process, at the start of the term (UWG Online can provide a template). Instructors should provide reminders often.

Required Steps

  1. It is highly recommended that you use CourseDen's Assessment tool, if you are going to require an online exam. If instructors use any other tool, the distance education helpdesk and administrative staff may not be able to provide this testing service (get advance permission no later than two weeks prior to the first day of the course):
    • We may be able to help with the scheduling of your exam but we will not be able to provide any technical support;
    • The instructor alone is responsible for ensuring the alternate online host provides required security and course backups;
    • The instructor alone is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the gradebook and maintaining backups.
  2. Complete this linked form for each test (limit two proctored online tests per course) no later than two weeks prior to the first day of the course, notifying the Distance & Distributed Education Center that you plan to offer these proctored tests. Remember, your course must be an "N" course (95% or more online) to use this service. Please note the required fields. The form will not be processed without this information.
  3. The information entered into this form will automatically be emailed to UWG Online's Director, Janet Gubbins. You will receive an email confirming that the server has processed this input form.
  4. Make sure that the following is clearly stated in your syllabus:
    • Students will need to sign up for their proctored exam, both through the Distance and Distributed Education Center and at an approved testing site (located throughout Georgia and other areas of the United States). The student online exam request form must be submitted online no later than 2 weeks prior to their test date.
    • Students may be assessed a testing fee ($10 at University of West Georgia - but fees may be $50 or higher at other testing sites)
    • Most testing centers are only open during daytime hours; normal business hours (8-5)
    • Provide this link to students so that they may sign up: http://uwgonline.westga.edu/exams.php
  5. Please remind your students to sign up for the test at least two weeks prior to their test date. If they haven't taken the appropriate steps, a proctor will not be available for them.
  6. A copy of your test with an instruction sheet will be mailed or emailed to the testing centers that students signed up for.
  7. You will be able to access the grades through CourseDen, if you use CourseDen.
  8. If you have questions, please contact Janet Gubbins at the Department of Distance and Distributed Education (jgubbins@westga.edu) or 678-839-5296.
  9. If you need help developing your test in CourseDen or creating a password for a CourseDen test, contact David Lloyd (dlloyd@westga.edu) or 678-839-6248.

Proctors will be required to submit this Verification Form.