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Nominate an Online Course for Observation


SUNY Online Teaching seeks nominations from campus online instructional designers of well-designed online course exemplars to be used as models for new online faculty and instructional designers in online professional development efforts. The Exemplar Online Courses for Observation program showcases outstanding online faculty, courses, instructional designs, and campuses, and accepts nominations from each SUNY institution via the online instructional designer (or anyone on the online faculty supports team) twice annually regardless of LMS platform. The formal call for nominations takes place during the months of July and November, but nominations are accepted throughout the year. Courses should be OSCQR informed/reviewed and free of accessibility issues.

Criteria to Consider

Use the criteria below as you consider courses for this program. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and no one course is expected to fully demonstrate all the criteria. To be considered an exemplary course for observation by new online faculty, the course will exhibit many of these best practices.

You might select a course that:

  • Demonstrates very strong organizational structure or particularly innovative learning activities.
  • Has amazing online presence.
  • Creates and uses well-detailed methods for giving students feedback.
  • Demonstrates a discussion-centered course.
  • Demonstrates an activities-centered course.
  • Is an experiential course.
  • Uses metaphorical areas to structure content in the course design.
  • Has labs, or is in the math and science disciplines.
  • Is an unusual discipline.
  • Uses role-play or other innovative techniques for engaging students with the content or the course,
  • Creates a strong sense of community.
  • Has strong teaching presence.

Or, the course shows strong alignment with the criteria outlined in the OSCQR, the SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric.

Course Design Criteria

  • Demonstrates a learner-centered approach.
  • Content is presented in an engaging manner using appropriate features, functionality, and tools that are appropriate for the students and to achieve the learning objective targeted by the activity.
  • Interaction and collaboration between and with students is designed and facilitated by the instructor in an engaging manner using features, functionality, and tools that are appropriate for the students and to achieve the learning objective targeted by the activity.
  • Assessments and student feedback are designed to engage the student using appropriate features, functionality, and tools.
  • Well named and numbered content modules, lessons, and documents are present.
  • Well detailed and easy to locate course information documents are present.
  • Uses instructional cues within documents to direct students to and from activities and locations in the course.
  • Good announcements are used.
  • Clearly stated learning objectives are present.
  • The learning activities clearly map to learning objectives.
  • A well thought out, documented, and explained evaluation and assessment plan is in place for all learning activities.
  • Use of a module at a glance/what’s due when area, or some other mechanism to orient students at the module level is present.
  • Explicit dates, milestones, and information for students are available so that students can clearly understand and follow what they are to do and when (and how they will be evaluated).
  • Instructions and models of expectations are provided.
  • There is a diversity/uniqueness in terms of instructor’s personal style and voice in the course.
  • There is diversity in terms of how the course is structured – by topic, by chapters, by timeframes, by metaphor, etc.
  • Multimedia is present that is used to support a learning objective.
  • There is diversity demonstrated in types of learning activities, e.g., small group, student-led discussions, off line activities, self evaluations, etc.
  • The course uses the learning management system effectively.

Course Facilitation Criteria

  • There are high levels of high quality interaction with students or groups of students.
  • There is prompt, consistent responsiveness in all areas of the course.
  • Students are kept informed using course communication tools, announcements, talk with the professor discussion areas, question areas, course email, etc.
  • Evaluations are prompt and keep to the schedule that the instructor sets in expectations.
  • The course uses announcements effectively.
  • The course uses an ice breaking activity.
  • The course uses self tests effectively: to help students self assess.
  • The course uses small groups effectively: facilitates and manages small groups well or for innovative activities.
  • The course uses a culminating activity to bring closure to the online learning community.
  • The course collects feedback from students to make improvements to the design and facilitation of the the course.
  • Facilitates interaction between students.
  • Gives good individualized evaluations and feedback on the progress of the student and how they can improve.
  • Leverages the options in the course to create strong sense of class community in the course or uses innovative ways to achieve community.
  • Demonstrates a strong teaching presence: effective implementation of teaching presence indicators.
  • Facilitates a strong sense of class community: effective implementation of class community indicators.

PROCESS: Nominated online courses are deemed good models for new online faculty by the campus ID. They are OSCQR-reviewed/informed, demonstrate good online teaching and learning practices according to OSCQR instructional design and accessibility standards, and are endorsed by the nominating instructional designer based on online course design and facilitation criteria outlined for this program. Nomination does not guarantee inclusion in this program. Instructors of selected courses will be contacted for their acceptance and agreement to have their online course showcased in the SUNY Online Teaching “Exemplar Courses for Observation” program. In addition to accepting the nomination for the program, instructors must agree to permit adaptation of their online course design & facilitation approaches, instructions, and activity designs w/the SUNY Online community of online teaching practitioners. Instructional designers must provide a copy of the accepted course free of any student work/information.

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