Topic 2: Establishing and Incorporating Standards of Good Practice for Distance Learning
Faculty Team Members:   Consultants:
Shirley Davis - Frederick CC Paul Warner - AACC
Bill Charlton - Cecil CC Chris Sax - UMUC
Patricia Selig - WorWic CC Mary Helen Spear - PGCC
Linda May Gerard- Garrett CC  
Analyze the Audience

The level of training is for beginners, intermediate, advanced and trainer. All levels can benefit from this topic. The audience should already have a general knowledge of:

  • online courses
  • asynchronous conferencing
  • the components of a good syllabus in a traditional face to face course
Learning Objectives

At the completion of this training session, faculty should be able to:

  • identify best practices in online education with respect to: student to teacher interaction, course components, communication, interactivity, and course design
  • apply best practices to online course delivery

Presentation of Topic Information

A presentation of this subject should include the best practices of online education from the relative perspectives of students, faculty, and institutions as relates to the areas of technology usage, expectations, assessment, evaluation, communication, and diversity. The trainer should allow 2-3 hours for a presentation to faculty with a working knowledge of best practices as they apply to higher education in general in order to establish an understanding of the best practices in online education and their practical implementation. The following items can be used for such presentations:

~ Standards of Good Practice for Teaching Online, PowerPoint Presentation, Chris Sax - UMUC

~ Implementing Principles of Best Practices, PowerPoint Presentation, Mary Helen Spear - PGCC

~ Online Course Development: Five Easy Steps, PowerPoint Presentation, Paul Warner - AACC

Available Resources

The following online and print resources address various topics in the establishment and implementation of best practices in online education:

Online Resources

~ Quality On the Line: Benchmarks for Success in Internet-Based Distance Education, sponsored by the National Education Association and Blackboard (March, 2000)

~ Quality Issues in Distance Learning, AACSB - The International Association for Management Education

~ National Educational Technology Standards Project, International Society for Technology in Education

~ Online and Distance Learning Academic Standards Models - links to standards and policies in use at various colleges and universities

~ Standards of Good Practice for Teaching via Distance Learning, Mary Helen Spear, Linda Bruce, and PBS Adult Learning Service

~ Some Fundamentals of Good Teaching Practice

~ Net Etiquette Quiz

Print Resources

~ Critical Issues in Online Education, Word Document, FOTTC Team 3

~ Principles of Good Practice in Online Education, Chris Sax - UMUC and Mary Helen Spear - PGCC

~ Web Courses Standards of Best Practice - Frederick Community College

~ Minimum Standards for Online Courses - Frederick Community College

~ "Teaching Online: A Practical Guide" - Susan Ko & Steve Rossen, Houghton-Mifflin, 2001

~ "Faculty Guide for Moving Teaching and Learning to the Web" - League for Innovation in the Community College, 1999

~ "Teaching at a Distance, a Handbook for Instructors" - League for Innovation in the Community College, 1999

~ Peer Evaluation Form, Mary Helen Spear, PGCC - a form allowing students to evaluate peer performance and participation in group projects


The following experiential exercises and discussion topics can be used in a training session, with or without the PowerPoint presentations above:

~ Best Practices Worksheet, Chris Sax - UMUC

~ Implementing Principles of Best Practices, Mary Helen Spear - PGCC and Chris Sax - UMUC

~ Online Academy Workbook: Steps to an Online Course - Stephen Steele, AACC and Mary Wells, PGCC


Assessment Strategies

Responses to the Exercises above can be used to assess faculty's ability to identify and apply best practices in online education. In addition, faculty can be tasked with drafting a "Best Practices" document for their school and course.