Guidelines for Online and Hybrid Course Design and Review

The faculty at Volunteer State Community College is committed to implementing the Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review (PDF). The guidelines assure that distance education courses are designed to promote student engagement and success.

Distance education model courses are online or hybrid courses that are developed by faculty under contract and regularly taught by other full-time or adjunct faculty. Model courses must pass a team review as outlined in Vol State’s Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review before they are added to the schedule in this format. Model courses provide a valuable foundation to help faculty efficiently prepare for and deliver excellent teaching in a wide range of courses within their area of expertise. Model courses are also an important element of the college’s quality assurance program. Existing model courses will be scheduled for routine evaluation on a 3 to 4-year cycle and are expected to meet Vol State’s Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review.

Academic divisions may permit faculty members to deliver online or hybrid courses as long as an approved model course exists. Faculty teaching such courses may do so in a manner that deviates from the model course, but such sections should still follow Vol State’s Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review. Sections varying from the model course design will default to the peer evaluation process for quality assurance. Individual faculty members teaching online or hybrid courses with a design different from the approved model course are encouraged to obtain an instructional design review from Distributed Education, particularly as it relates to verifying the accessibility of course materials.

The course review process is intended to be collaborative and collegial. The following review process timelines have been developed for both new and existing courses undergoing review.

Upon completion, a copy of this final review will be filed in the Distributed Education office and shared to the course developer, the department chair or program director, and review team members.

Overview of the Review

There are two sections to the course review. Part one covers organization, content accessibility, and copyright. The course developer will collaborate with an instructional designer from Distributed Education to complete this part of the review. All guidelines in part one must be met before the course moves on to part two.

Part two of the review is a team and subject matter evaluation of specific guidelines pertaining to outcomes, objectives, assessments, and best practices in course design. A review team will consist of two faculty members and an instructional designer. A faculty member with strong online experience will serve as the team lead, and at least one team member should be a subject matter expert whenever one is available. All review team members will be approved by the academic department and the dean of Academic Support.

Upon completion of part two, the course developer will be provided with an opportunity to meet with the review team lead to discuss findings and respond to the recommendations. Upon mutual agreement, assistance may be provided to remediate any deficient guidelines.

Download a printable PDF copy of the guidelines from the attachment to the right.