L&S Foundational Criteria for Online & Hybrid Instruction

The six characteristics below describe how L&S online and hybrid courses should support students and carry forward our long-held values for excellent education.

1. The amount of time a student spends learning (lectures, discussion, reading, assignments, studying, etc.) is parallel and equivalent to an in-person class of the same number of credit hours.

Online and hybrid instruction can be enriching and engaging. The credit hour definition helps ensure students receive a full educational experience without demanding more or less effort than is required.

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2. Students are supported in adapting to the structure, schedule expectations, and technologies used in the online & hybrid course.  

Thorough communication and organized support resources will help students structure their participation in an online or hybrid course. This is especially relevant to support students in navigating unconventional meeting patterns and engaging in classroom and virtual activities. 

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3. The online & hybrid courses include regular and substantive interaction between student/instructor and student/student.

“Substantive interaction” is engaging students in teaching, learning and assessment through at least two of the following: direct instruction, providing feedback on student work, providing information about course content, facilitating discussion of course content, or other substantive interaction. Regular interaction is predictable and scheduled interaction with students consistent with the course length (usually at least weekly but more often in a course of short duration). Regular and substantive student-instructor interaction, as defined by the US Department of Education (Within 34 C.F.R. §600.2), is always a requirement of UW-Madison for-credit learning activities. Find more information including examples of regular and substantive instruction.      

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  • Create predictable and scheduled interactions with students.
  • Define mechanisms for students to ask questions synchronously, asynchronously or both.
  • For classes with online discussion sections, establish expectations and create venues for collaboration and dialogue.
  • Make explicit in the syllabus how this course meets the regular and substantive student-instructor interaction requirement.

4. Lectures and course materials are comparable and appropriately adapted for the online/blended modality. 

Online or hybrid courses offer creative potential for content that is multi-faceted and varied to support student learning. A simple list of readings or lecture slides, for example, with no interactions is not a fully realized UW experience.

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5. Methods for assessment, grading, and feedback are planned and clearly outlined for students.

Just like in-person courses, online and hybrid courses should provide students with specific and descriptive criteria for how they will be assessed. Instructors should support students in understanding how in-person and digital activities connect with the course grading policy, and provide timely feedback to help them track their learning progress.

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6. The learning digital learning environment is accessible for students of all abilities and disabilities. 

Digital accessibility standards aim to reduce barriers and contribute to an inclusive learning environment. This includes providing text alternatives to image-based media, like captions and transcripts for videos, and "alt text" for images in slides and documents.

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We are pleased to have the L&S Instructional Design Collaborative as a resource for building creative online and hybrid experiences that meet your teaching needs. Please collaborate with the IDC in finding creative solutions to any of your course design challenges. 

KeywordsOnline learning, hybrid, modality   Doc ID113708
OwnerCathy Y.GroupL&S KB
Created2021-09-15 08:56:00Updated2024-03-04 10:43:58
SitesL&S KB
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