Distance Education Addendum to the Faculty Handbook
The purpose of this handbook is to provide you with relevant information, policies, and procedures for teaching distance education courses for Central Texas College. For general information relating to administrative organization, employment, professional development, compensation, grades and other student-related matters, curriculum, facilities, and forms, please refer to the Faculty Handbook at http://www.ctcd.edu/f_staff/fac_toc.htm or explore the CTC website.
The Distance Education and Educational Technology (DEET) Division at CTC is charged with developing, delivering, and evaluating courses and providing technical services and support for students, faculty, and staff. Distance Education courses, regardless of delivery method, are developed from the approved departmental syllabi, incorporate the prescribed course materials and content, and impose the expected rigor and standards for student performance. To learn more about DEET, please visit our website at http://online.ctcd.edu. We recommend that you view all items at the tabs and the quick links. For questions about courses, email email@example.com.
To offer flexibility to its unique student population, CTC offers courses in these formats:
- face-to-face or lecture
Refer to the Course Information tab at the DEET website for descriptions of these formats.
*Multimedia courses are designed for students who have limited or no Internet connections and are offered primarily through CTC's NCPACE contract and the Pacific Far East Campus. Students must purchase CD or SD cards containing course content along with the standard textbooks. Teaching assignments are by individual student, and you may or may not have contact with the student via email. An authorized person onboard the student's ship will serve as the facilitator, collecting assignments and proctoring exams. The student's packet will be sent to you after the student completes the coursework. Refer to the Navy Campus information at the CTC website (http://www.ctcd.edu/navy/index.htm) or the Navy College Program site at https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/ncp/ncpace.aspx for further information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CTC uses Blackboard as its Learning Management System (LMS) for online and blended courses. Face-to-face courses began being phased into Blackboard in January 2012, starting with Central Campus in Killeen. Because the majority of the courses utilize this LMS, this document will concentrate on Blackboard. If you cannot find the answer to a question you have, please contact us at email@example.com.
The URL is http://ctc.blackboard.com. The login screen supplies the format for determining your username and password. It is repeated here for your convenience. Please note that students use the last six digits of their SSN while you use only the last four digits of your SSN. Information is encrypted, so there is no security risk in using portions of your SSN.
Your User Name is the first letter of your first name,
the first letter of your last name, and the last 6 digits of your social security number.
EXAMPLE: Name is John Smith, Social Security Number is 123-56-7890. User Name would be: "js567890"
Your Password is the month, day, and last two digits of the year in which you were born, in numeric form: mmddyy
EXAMPLE: Date of birth is May 10, 1978 Password would be: 051078
Because CTC utilizes an integrated, automated file run system, students and instructors may not change their usernames or passwords. All sensitive data is transferred via secure systems, preventing unauthorized use of the data.
DEET offers training on using Blackboard and implementing various teaching techniques designed to engage the learner. Check the online Faculty Forum for dates and times. If you don’t see what you want, submit a training request form. Frequent Professional Development opportunities are also provided.
You can view a Sample Course for Faculty in Blackboard and get help and tips from the Blackboard resources, which include OnDemand videos. Check out the Faculty Resources and the Tech Support tabs in Blackboard, as well as the box on the My Institution page for details and links.
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Course Development and Revision
Part of DEET’s responsibility is to work with the departments to develop, update, and maintain master courses. The process is outlined below.
- Department Chair submits form requesting development of new courses or revision of existing courses. Form lists
- Reason for development/revision (often new textbook or new edition)
- Content Developer (CD) or Content Reviewer (CR) assigned to task. CD or CR is a qualified, experienced faculty member in that particular field.
- Effective date for deployment of new master course
- Master courses are developed or revised based on the departmental syllabus.
- Indicates what must be covered (chapters)
- Specifies any required grading policies, assignments and activities, etc.
- Master courses are deployed (copied for faculty) when they are completed and approved by the department chair or his/her designee.
- Courses are copied and available to faculty approximately one month prior to the course start date.
- You will receive an email stating that the course is ready for review/update.
- DO NOT make changes to course until your receive this email.
- If your course does not have content or does not have the proper content, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
- When you teach the course again, your previous course is copied so that personal changes are retained. The exception is if a new master has been developed and deployed.
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CTC Online Faculty Members
Faculty must meet the same basic requirements for time, resources, and skills as a distant learner.
Try this quiz to test your readiness: Am I Ready to Teach Distance Education Courses? With the initiative to provide Blackboard access for all courses, it is important that even a face-to-face instructor have some knowledge of Blackboard in order to effectively utilize the various tools to enhance and optimize the learner's experiences.
Please see the Technical Requirements for Distance Education courses.
We recommend that distant learners determine their preferred learning styles so they can use them to their advantage. As an effective instructor, you should be aware of different learning styles and provide a variety of activities to accommodate them. Try this brief survey: What's My Learning Style? Think about how you can adapt your teaching for people with learning styles different from your own.
Distant learners have a number of decisions to make once they decide to register for courses. See the Course Information page for the types of Distance Education courses offered at CTC. It would be worth your time to go through the resources on the Student page as well.
If you are interested in joining our distance education faculty, see the CTC main website for employment opportunities. If you are already a faculty member, check out the Faculty Forum in Blackboard for essential information and training, and refer to it frequently for updates and important announcements. If you don’t yet have Blackboard access, you can check out the Sample Course for Faculty by going to http://ctc.blackboard.com and entering bbfaculty as the username and password.
As a CTC faculty member, you have support when you need it through the Distance Education and Educational Technology (DEET) Department and 24/7 technical support for Blackboard. Contact email@example.com regarding any questions or concerns about your courses. Explore this CTC Distance Education Addendum to the Faculty Handbook and the CTC/DEET Course Checklist for important information and guidelines.
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There are three phases to course management: preparation, implementation, and wrap up. These phases are outlined below.
When a new master is developed, all faculty teaching that particular course receive the new or revised content from this master. Once you have taught the course, your previous content will be copied into your next course to minimize changes and updates you must make.
Attention face-to-face faculty: what you see in Blackboard is based on decisions made by your department. Options range from a minimal shell with instructions for filling in content to a complete course that is based on an online or blended master. Either way, you must decide what you want to provide students online and what you want to present in the classroom. The online component does not replace classroom time/contact hours. Contact your department if you have questions.
The following checklists are based on online/blended procedures and should be adapted as appropriate for your situation. You may choose to use some of the tools and recommendations for a face-to-face course.
Prior to course start date
- Review course for accuracy and completeness.
- Update course information.
- Ensure that your contact information is provided. Include your CTC email account and your department's toll-free phone numbers.
- Remove old announcements and change date of announcements that remain valid.
- Enter deadlines into the course schedule. (These are recommended deadlines for self-paced courses.)
- Verify that the grade center reflects the grading policy in your syllabus, e.g., points and totals are correct.
- Check course materials with CTC Instructional Materials website at http://www.ctcd.edu/im/im_main.asp.
- Ensure that items you may have edited in or added to your course meet ADA, copyright, and usability regulations.
If you are using SafeAssign, a plagiarism tool for written assignments, be sure to synchronize for your new class. While in the class, expand Course Tools under Course Management. Then select
- SafeAssignments (View SafeAssignments for this course).
- The Synchronize This Course button.
- Synchronize any publisher products, such as McGraw-Hill's Connect, or create a course, such as for Prentice Hall's MyMathLab. Include any required access codes or course IDs, instructions on how to use the product, and sources for technical support in your course.
- Check proctored exams for
- At Proctored Exams in course menu
- Non-Proctored Exams should be at a Non-Proctored Exams link in the course menu or within the appropriate lesson
- Test information (administration instructions).
- Proctors don't go back and read the course syllabus; they go by what is on the test. You will need to indicate time restrictions, resources that may or may not be used, etc. In general, proctored exams may not last more than two hours and may not use open books.
- Ensure that everything, content covered, number and type of questions, and points agrees with the course syllabus.
- Test availability
- Force completion
- Set timer (No more than two hours)
- Display period (Must provide testing window of several days)
- You must enter the departmental password for the proper course start date. Log into http://soarapp.ctcd.org/testing/index.cfm and click on Get Department Exam Passwords to find the correct password for the start date. Do not post these passwords for students to see. The passwords and other relevant test administration instructions are provided to approved test proctors. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
- DO NOT use the departmental password for non-proctored exams. If you want to use a password, you will need to make one up and ensure that it is distributed to your students at the proper time.
- Test feedback (choose what you want the students to see)
- Submitted answers
- Correct answers
- Test presentation (one question or all)
- Ensure that your online course is comparable to corresponding face-to-face courses. If you have ideas but don’t know how to implement them, contact email@example.com.
- Ensure that you are complying with any departmental standards regarding number and/or nature of exams, written assignments, etc.
- Prepare welcome announcement/email.
- Send students a brief email that explains how to get into Blackboard. Once they are in Blackboard, you may switch to announcements and messages.
- Suggest that students view the two part Student Orientation recording created by Professor Deets. This recording is available at the DEET website.
- Set up Early Warning System (EWS) rules for grades and/or participation.
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- Make your presence known right away, and communicate often throughout course.
- Offer a course orientation using Wimba (Blackboard Collaborate) and schedule periodic “live” lectures.
- Advise students of resources
- Post frequent announcements.
- Send weekly messages or emails.
- Check into your class at least three non-consecutive days each week.
- Respond to inquiries within 24-48 hours.
- Grade submitted coursework within one week of receipt or within one week after the due date.
- Provide meaningful feedback on assignments and tests.
- Monitor student participation in class.
- Set up assignments that students submit throughout the course so that you can monitor their activities.
- Keep grade center current.
- Consider using the adaptive release function to make items available only at certain times or under specified conditions. This can help you to provide accommodations, such as extra testing time, for students with documented learning disabilities.
- Use the Blackboard tools
- Last Access in grade center
- Performance Dashboard and Course Statistics at Bb control panel
- Early Warning System
- Set up EWS rules the first day of class and on a regular basis thereafter.
- Send reminders to students via grade center or EWS.
- Know withdrawal policies
- Encourage interaction and collaboration.
- Discussion board
- Group projects
- Consider using Wimba and other tools for regular interactive sessions (and to address accrediting and regulatory agency contact hour concerns).
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Course Wrap Up
- Remind students to submit a course evaluation.
- Address any IP requests.
- Check against IP requirements on Page 1 of the Course Syllabus.
- Allow only sufficient time to complete the one or two assignments that may be outstanding. (We do not recommend IPs exceeding one to two weeks.)
- Specify IP conditions and monitor student progress.
- Place IP deadline in column in Bb grade center.
- Change IP to course grade as soon as requirements are met or IP deadline has expired.
- Compute and submit course grades.
- List letter grade in Bb grade center.
- Enter letter grade in WebAdvisor at https://webadvisor.ctcd.org/.
- Download and submit initial Bb grade book. See the DEET website for instructions.
- Download and submit final Bb grade book when IPs have been resolved.
- Reflect on course to identify areas of improvement for next time.
- Recall student questions and confusion.
- View course evaluations and analyze data.
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Resources and References
CTC and DEET websites
Become familiar with both the CTC (http://www.ctcd.edu) and the DEET (http://online.ctcd.edu) websites. Explore both the faculty and student resources. This will allow you to answer student questions or refer them to an appropriate area as well as ensuring that you are complying with faculty requirements.
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Check out the My Institution page in Blackboard. In addition to the list of the courses you are teaching and any organizations in which you participate, you will find
- Library Services
- Student Center
- On Demand Blackboard Help
We recommend that you make sure that students are aware of these online resources:
- Library Services
- Student Center (static information and online Student Orientation)
- Tutoring (for math and English—supported by qualified and experience online faculty)
- Student Success Room.
Note the tabs in Blackboard and the information they provide. As faculty, you have these tabs:
- My Institution
- Student Resources
- Organizations and Tutoring
- Faculty Resources
- Tech Support
These are the tabs available to the students:
- My Institution
- Student Resources
- Organizations and Tutoring
- Tech Support
What’s the difference between courses and organizations? Students are automatically put into courses when they register for them, but they are given access to these courses approximately 72 hours before the start date of the course. Students (and faculty) can self enroll in organizations by following the steps listed at the My Institution page and at resources within the courses themselves.
A Sample Course for Faculty explains how an online course should be formatted and describes the source for some of the sections. The Faculty Forum presents policies, procedures and information related to your job and provides opportunities for communication with supervisors and other faculty members. You should have access to both of these as a faculty member, but if not, you can log into Blackboard using the generic bbfaculty log in as the username and password. Access the Sample Course for Students by logging into Blackboard using bbuser as the username and password.
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You have an immediate supervisor or “go to” person for any questions or concerns as you teach your class. This may be an Online Faculty Coordinator (OFC), who is a qualified and experienced faculty member in the area to which he/she is assigned. If there is not an Online Faculty Coordinator, you would report to the appropriate Department Chairman (DC) or his/her designee. Points of Contact are listed in this table:
The Online Faculty Coordinators should not be confused with the Online Mentors. The Online Mentors provide assistance to students, and you may refer students to the Online Mentors (firstname.lastname@example.org or X1296) for help on these types of issues:
- Military TA Rates
- General Academic Advising
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CTC’s students and instructors are worldwide, and the majority of the students are affiliated with the military in some manner. If you haven’t been exposed to military personnel, you might not understand some of the jargon, such as PCS, TDY, MOS, etc. Fortunately, there are several websites that can help you with these acronyms:
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Time Zones and the 24-Hour Clock
Because you may interact with students in various locations, you might want to become familiar with time zones and the 24-hour clock to ensure that deadlines and meeting times are clear to all parties. Here are a couple of sites to get you started, or you can search for others.
- Times from midnight to 9:59 are written in this format:
- Midnight = 0000 hours
- 1:00 a.m. = 0100 hours
- 2:00 a.m. = 0200 hours
- 3:30 a.m. = 0330 hours
- Times from 10:00 a.m. to 12:59 p.m. are written in this format:
- 10:00 a.m. = 1000 hours
- Noon = 1200 hours
- Times from 1:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. are written in this format (basically, add 12:00):
- 1:00 p.m. = (1:00 + 12:00) or 1300 hours
- 11:59 p.m. = (11:59 + 12:00) or 2359 hours
If this is too complicated, let an online conversion site do the math.
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Accreditation and Regulation
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools—Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
Central Texas College is accredited by SACS. Some links to SACS publication on distance education are provided below:
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) also offers best practices and other recommendations for distance education (if this link doesn’t work, go to the THECB homepage and search for distance education): http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=8CD15E35-FE02-F186-0ECC9484F010B8AC
The course development team uses a Course Development Checklist as each master course is being developed or revised to ensure consistency of format, completeness of content, creation of engaging activities, etc. This checklist can also guide you as you prepare and teach your course.
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Best Practices for CTC Online Faculty
To ensure that standard and consistent services are provided to all CTC students, online faculty are required to follow Institution policies as outlined in the CTC Catalog, the CTC Faculty Handbook, the online Faculty Forum, and communications from your supervisor and CTC administrators.
To assist you in this effort, the following checklist, pulled from instructional policies, outlines minimal responsibilities. This list does not include specific departmental requirements and is not inclusive.
Prior to course start
- Be aware of any course assignment limits and notify your supervisor immediately if you are approaching a limit.
- Check the instructional materials list to ensure that you have the proper and current items for the course. Be aware that new editions or different textbooks are sometimes adopted.
- If not, request or order them within four weeks prior to the term start date.
- If you have questions about materials, consult your supervisor.
- Properly update courses three weeks prior to the start date after notification that your course is ready for updates.
- If you believe the content is incorrect or incomplete, contact email@example.com.
- Check your contact information, adjust due dates, confirm links, etc.
- To ensure that your course complies with CTC and accrediting agency standards, regulatory requirements, and best practices, refer to the CTC/DEET Course Checklist for details on how the master course was created and how your course should be set up.
- If your course is subject to a quality assurance check, respond with the recommended corrections or changes or an explanation as to why they were not made within the specified time period (generally three days).
During the course
- Sign and return PTEAs as requested.
- Send a welcome email to your students on or before the first day of class to optimize their ability to find and log into your class. Remember, some students may not know anything about Blackboard. Suggested content for this email is available upon request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Use your CTC email for all CTC business, to include communication with students. You may provide an alternate email for emergency situations.
- Return certified rolls within five days from the date they were sent. If you do not receive cert rolls documents (paper or digital) within two weeks after the start date of your course, email email@example.com to request a resend of the documents.
- Maintain a presence in your class. Enter courses a minimum of three non-consecutive days per week (or as specified by your department) to monitor student progress, provide timely responses and feedback, and identify and address any student or administrative issues.
- Encourage student engagement and provide opportunities for collaboration throughout the course.
- Suggest resources, such as the online Student Center, Student Success Room, Writing and Math tutoring, and tech support, as needed.
- Maintain a frequently updated replica of the Grade Center records between the start and end dates of all courses in case a backup is required. This may be either a hard copy or digital copy on your computer’s hard drive.
- Provide correct and complete student success (retention) input as requested.
- Respond to student emails and other communications within 48 hours. After the welcome email, consider initiating and maintaining contact with students through the Blackboard Message System. Do not delete messages as they are part of the course history and can be useful in resolving student complaints.
- Respond to CTC’s administrative emails within 48 hours (two work days) unless otherwise specified. Saturdays, Sundays, and CTC approved holidays are not included in this time period.
- Respond to CTC’s administrative telephone calls within 24 hours (one work day) unless otherwise specified.
- Respond to GoArmyEd cases within 24 hours (one work day). This is a contractual requirement.
- Evaluate graded written assignments and provide feedback to students within seven calendar days following the due date for the assignment or, in the case of self-paced courses or when extensions have been granted, within seven calendar days after submission by the student. If you require that graded written assignments be submitted at less than a two-week interval, evaluation and feedback must occur not later than the mid-point between the two assignments to permit students to learn from the previous assignment and make corrections.
- In case of emergency or major curriculum or testing change, post announcements in classes, email students, and contact (email or phone) supervisor immediately, if appropriate.
Ending the course
- Remind students to submit the course evaluation.
- Submit gradebooks (see the instructions on the Faculty and Staff tab of the Distance Education website) and enter grades into WebAdvisor within the five-day deadline.
- If a student requests an IP and meets the qualifications, determine whether you will grant an extension.
- Remember that extensions are a privilege, not a right.
- Base any extension on the amount of work left to submit, not on the maximum days that can be awarded.
- Provide student with a plan for completing the work as scheduled.
- Grade IP coursework within seven days of receipt.
- Submit a “final” gradebook and change the grade in WebAdvisor upon completion of the IP requirements.
- Complete all administrative required paperwork according to instructions.
- Complete any required training and notify your supervisor of completion.
- Maintain records for a minimum of one and one-half (1 ½) years in case of student disputes.
- Blackboard Grade Book/Center.
- WebAdvisor Gradebook.
- Certified/Census Rolls.
- Change of Grade Forms submitted.
- Correspondence about and copy of contract/plan for satisfying extensions.
- Provide your supervisor with current contact information, to include a phone number and alternate email address. Update your personal contact information immediately, if changes occur, with the designated staff member, and copy your supervisor.
- Continue to check your CTC email account weekly even when not actively teaching. You are responsible for all information disseminated by the College during any leave of absence.
- Continuously check Blackboard for training opportunities, active courses, and courses scheduled for future terms.
- Maintain adequate competency in technical ability and technological advancement to perform job duties and requirements.
- Periodic training and updates will be offered. We recommend that you take advantage of these opportunities, some of which may count as professional development.
- After several months of absence from teaching, you may be required to update your skills and knowledge.
- The period of the absence and type of skills requiring updating will be determined by your supervisor.
- If you have not taught for six months, a termination may be done, and access to CTC email and other accounts may be ended.
Habitual or blatant violation of any of the above mentioned guidelines may result in appropriate disciplinary action as prescribed in CTC policies and procedures.
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