Online Calendar and Guidelines
The academic calendar for online courses closely follows the traditional academic calendar of the College. However, the nature of online courses requires further guidelines to ensure consistency among faculty in the process of administering online courses at Fisher.
- Online courses within Blackboard may be made available for student viewing prior to the start date of the course. However, only the course syllabus and a welcome announcement message should be posted for students to access during this time. Students should not be required to complete any assignments or begin active participation in the course prior to the start date.
- It is expected that class begin on the start date listed in the online academic calendar. In an online course, this means that the active participation portion of the course begins on this day, unless otherwise noted to be a later date by the faculty member teaching the course. However, the active participation portion of the course should not begin before the start date of the course.
- Assignments that are due during the first week of the course should be limited to the amount of work a student can reasonably expect to complete if they began work on the first day of the course.
- It is recommended to reveal new content to students on a weekly basis. This will prevent students from working ahead and will focus the group on the specific topics of that week, which will results in better discussion and small group collaboration in the course. Creating a cycle for the course and maintaining the sense of online community following that cycle together is essential to successful online course facilitation.
- If a given student is requesting to work ahead based on extenuating circumstances, specific instructions and resources can be handled for an individual to accommodate their need without disrupting the flow of the rest of the class.
- If there is a scheduled College break or holiday during the term, students in the online course should not be required to perform course related tasks during that time. The Blackboard course may be left available for students to access, but is not required to be monitored by the faculty or students in the course.
- Assessment activities should be spread throughout the entire term of the course to ensure that students received frequent updates and feedback on their progression in the course. Large assessments at the end of the term should be scheduled to ensure a sufficient amount of time for grading and submission of final grades by the dates listed in the online academic calendar. It is recommended that students submit larger assignments in the week prior to the last week of the term.
The guidelines presented in this section have been developed as part of the College's pilot online program initiative, the RN to BSN Online program. Individual schools and the faculty governance system have or will be developing guidelines and policies pertaining to online course offerings outside of this pilot program. Faculty members exploring online options need to consult with their Chair and/or Dean to learn of their options and relevant policies. In addition, any plans to pursue an online option must be communicated to the Provost's Office from the outset.