How To Ensure Online Courses Run According To Policy

Schools without insight into how their courses are being run are at risk of providing an inconsistent academic experience and operating out of compliance without even knowing it.

When your programs are taking place in person, your administrators can easily check on classroom operations by visiting classrooms. Because administrators can drop in unannounced, instructors are motivated to follow policy.

But because administrators don’t have the ability to poke their head into online course sessions, ensuring that courses are running according to policy requires gathering and analyzing data about online course operations.

Pulling Back The Curtain

By utilizing an online teaching platform like CourseKey that gathers data from class like attendance and engagement opportunities, you can be sure that online courses are operating in line with school policies. Through insight into your online course operations, you’re essentially “pulling back the curtain” to reveal how each course is being run and where improvement is needed.

An Unexpected Transition

In the sudden switch to online courses due to the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of teachers transitioned from in person instruction to online instruction, many for the first time. Because online instruction is very new for many instructors, your instructors might still be learning how to consistently execute their course according to policy. By having insight into whether or not classes are in line with school policy, administrators can reach out to instructors and help them resolve issues.

Insight Into Instruction Time

Knowing that students are receiving their full amount of instruction is an essential piece to ensuring your online courses are operating according to policy. When instructors consistently start a few minutes late or end a few minutes early, students can potentially miss out on hours of instruction time they’re paying for per module.

The CourseKey platform gives administrators insight into what time course sessions start and end. By comparing timestamps from student attendance data against scheduled class times, administrators can identify which instructors are habitually starting class late or ending early.

Equipped with insight into start and end times, you can enforce that instructors are teaching for the entire class period. Knowing that each student is receiving the full time of instruction they’re paying for is vital to ensuring a consistent academic experience at your school.

Having documented start and end times for every class period in the cloud will help you easily prove that courses are in line with policy when undergoing an audit and can even protect your school in the case of a borrower’s defense lawsuit.

Insight Into Opportunities For Engagement

Another vital piece to ensuring your online courses are running according to policy is documenting the opportunities for engagement students have during online courses.

The Department of Education ruled in April that online courses classified as distance learning courses would need proof of consistent opportunities for engagement and interaction. Without documentation of interaction, online courses are classified as correspondence courses in the eyes of the ED.

Students enrolled in courses that consistently provide fewer opportunities for interaction and engagement than promised may feel more isolated and disengaged. Without consistent engagement, students’ involvement and academic performance can decline, increasing their chances of dropping out of the course.

The CourseKey platform gives instructors multiple ways to engage the student during online instruction. Instructors can push out polls and assessments, or open up a group discussion using the chat function. CourseKey allows schools to keep records of engagement opportunities provided to students in online courses. Administrators can use this insight to compare the opportunities for engagement from course to course and enforce adjustments if necessary to achieve consistency.

Conclusion

Institutional policies around time, attendance, and engagement vary from school to school. No matter what your policies are, gathering data about classroom operations in online courses gives you insight to know if they’re running as planned. By understanding class operations, you can significantly improve your classroom management to ensure each student is receiving their full education and to ensure consistency from course to course.

To learn how the CourseKey platform can provide your school insight into your online course operations, request a demo below!

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