Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Regular Effective Contact in Online Courses

Title V of the California Education Code requires regular effective contact in online teaching. Federal regulatory requirements (ACCJC) require regular and substantive interaction. Section 55200 of Title V says that “any portion of a course conducted through distance education includes regular effective contact between instructor and students, through group or individual meetings, orientation and  review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, correspondence, voice mail, e-mail, or other activities.” All distance education sections are subject to the same local and state approval standards and procedures and should be considered a “virtual equivalent” to a classroom-based course.

Some approaches to satisfying regular effective contact requirements are:
  • Learning activities that foster instructor-student, content-student, and if appropriate to the course, student-student interaction (e.g. e-mail, discussion, phone, online conferences).
  • Instructor responsiveness and availability standards (turn-around time for email, grade posting, etc.) are clearly stated and are commensurate to that of face-to-face class (3 hours for 3-unit class).
  • Requirements for student interaction are clearly articulated
  • Instructor reads online discussions and responds as appropriate.
  • The instructor posts weekly announcements that help students navigate the course.
  • The instructor provides constructive and timely feedback on assignments.
Please note, a part of demonstrating regular effective contact is ensuring that the interaction is faculty-initiated, as opposed to student-initiated.

For more information see:

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