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Faculty Resources

Missouri Online is committed to providing faculty and online program leaders with program and course quality information as well as processes focused on improving student outcomes and program growth. Visit the Missouri Online Teaching website to learn more about Missouri Online and request support for program coordination, instructional or media design, marketing or student support services. To request academic technology support, visit the Teaching Tools website.

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Quality standards

The UM System Administrative Policies for Missouri Online – Quality Standards were developed as a result of collaborative effort among faculty, staff and administration system wide and at the behest of faculty representatives across the UM System. These representatives requested clear, uniform standards that would serve to improve the quality of our students’ experience and help address federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines, as well as meet accrediting body requirements. 

Several representative groups were involved in the effort, including the UM System Online Faculty Advisory Committee, the Academic Council and the Oversight Committee. The latter is composed of provosts and their delegates, the UM System Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the UM System Vice President for Finance, in accordance with the governance structure for the systemwide online learning initiative. 

These quality standards apply to all courses being offered online, including semester-based, synchronous and asynchronous courses, as well as online programs (defined as >75% online courses in the program) throughout the UM System. The quality standards are based on the nationally-recognized Quality Matters approach for online courses and programs and incorporate aspects of the quality review processes that were historically in place at each university within the UM System.


Program quality

Part of program quality is ensuring programs have well-defined, clear outcomes for students and that individual course outcomes, assessments and student learning objectives are well-aligned and directly support program outcomes (i.e., curricular alignment). Reporting on curricular alignment is also necessary for accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. To that end, the UM System uses Coursetune to map curricular alignment and to facilitate communication among administration, faculty and Missouri Online.  

  • All online programs should have their curricula mapped through Coursetune.  
  • All online programs should have a student academic plan that articulates the pathway to the program completion. For example, undergraduate degrees should have a four-year academic map.
  • Instructional designers are available to assist academic units in mapping their curriculum through Coursetune and/or connect academic units with institutional-specific resources.

State authorization

States require that Mizzou, UMKC, Missouri S&T and UMSL be authorized to deliver university-level distance/online education to their residents. Each state handles this process differently. See our state authorization page for more information.

For programs that lead to licensure or certification, the Department of Education’s Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668.43 (a)(5)(v) mandate that each institution inform students of whether their program curriculum, both distance education and face-to-face programs, meets the state requirements for each program that leads to a licensure or certification. See our licensure and disclosures page.

To learn more about State Authorization, check out our State Authorization Guide for faculty, staff, and administrators.


Online course quality

Faculty are required to develop or refresh each online course either in a course development program offered by Missouri Online (and run by instructional designers) or in consultation with an instructional designer. 

All online courses will be reviewed through the Quality Course Review (QCR) process, which is run through Missouri Online.

  • Courses designated as having instruction modes of 75% or higher, either asynchronous or synchronous, are required to be certified. To learn more about the course instruction mode on your campus, visit the Missouri Online | Instructional Mode webpage. Following are the course instruction modes for each campus that require QCR: 
    • MU: Online (OL) and Elearning (EL)
    • S&T: Primarily Online Synchronous (OS), Primarily Online Asynchronous (OA), Wholly Online Synchronous (DS) and Wholly Online Asynchronous (DA)
    • UMKC: Online Asynchronous (OA), Online Synchronous (OS) and Online Campus (OC)
    • UMSL: Online (OL) and Partially Online (PO)
  • Courses designated as blended are not required to be certified at this time.
  • MU’s Self-paced courses are defined by the Higher Learning Commission as correspondence courses, and therefore, do not need to be certified by the QCR process. 
  • New online courses must be reviewed through the QCR process before the course opens to students. 

The Quality Course Review process uses the 5 Pillars Quality Review form to conduct reviews. 

  • Courses must successfully complete all required items on the 5 Pillars Quality Review form.
  • Courses will be reviewed independently by two reviewers.
    • If both reviewers agree that the course successfully completed the required items, then the course is considered to have met quality standards and completed the Quality Course Review process. 
    • Faculty Peer Reviewers are not involved in the development and teaching of the course they review, but are trained to evaluate courses using the System’s quality standards. For more information about the Faculty Peer Reviewer Corps, including how to become one, please visit the Missouri Online | Quality Course Review webpage
  • Quality course review of online courses occurs on a 5-year cycle to ensure that online courses meet the University of Missouri System’s quality standards and to ensure continuous improvement.


Online Teaching Certification

The Academic Council and the Online Faculty Advisory Committee were charged with providing recommendations to the Oversight Committee regarding what fulfills the existing, UM System-wide requirement that instructors teaching online courses be certified to do so prior to teaching online.

Deans and Chairs have access to a Tableau dashboard that tracks certification; if you have questions, please contact your Chair.

  • All primary instructors who teach an online course (i.e., faculty, adjunct, graduate students) must complete certification prior to teaching.
    • Guest lecturers, TAs, graders, class managers/coordinators do not need to be certified.
  • Recertification will occur every 5 years, from the date of the last certification
    • Faculty/instructors may sign up for/take the recertification sooner than that, and then the clock will start over at that point
    • The recertification will be a shorter course, focused on updated tools and technologies
  • New faculty/instructors will be given a one-semester grace period to become certified or recertified if they are assigned to teach an online class during their first semester as a faculty member/instructor and if they do not meet the certification requirements listed in the following “Online Teaching Certification Options” section. 

Online Teaching Certification Options

  1. Faculty/Instructors who have completed the following historic development opportunities are considered certified:
    1. MU
      1. Completed Online Teaching Foundations (OTF) from June 2015 – August 2020
      2. Designed Online from January 2020 – August 2020
    2. UMSL
      1. Online in 9 from June 2015 – August 2020
      2. Resilient Course Design
      3. Blended in 9
    3. S&T
      1. N/A
    4. UMKC
      1. Faculty Certification (self-paced) – Completions from June 2015 through September 2020
  2. Faculty/Instructors who have successfully completed the UM System-wide Online Teaching Certification Seminar will be considered certified
  3. Faculty/Instructors who have obtained online teaching certification through national organizations, such as ACUE, the Online Learning Consortium, and Quality Matters will need to take the recertification program
    1. Participants who completed the Effective Teaching Practices or Effective Online Teaching Practices courses as part of the 2020-2021 ACUE Cohort through the UM System Academic Affairs will be considered certified
  4. For faculty/instructors with advanced degrees in online teaching:
    1. If the faculty/instructors received one of the following degrees within the last 5 years from the UM System, they will be considered certified; if their degree is older than 5 years, they will need to take the recertification program to be considered certified:
      1. MU
        1. Online Educator Graduate Certificate
        2. Masters in Learning Systems and Design
        3. Educational Specialist Degree in Learning Systems and Design
        4. PhD in Information Science and Learning Technologies
      2. UMSL PhD in Teaching and Learning Processes with an Emphasis in Instructional Technology
    2. If the faculty/instructors have received one of the following from outside the UM System within the last 5 years, they will be required to take the recertification program or go through a transcript audit before being considered certified; if their degree is older than 5 years, they will need to take the recertification program to be considered certified:
      1. Grad Certificate, Masters, or PhD in:
        1. Educational Technology
        2. Instructional Technology
        3. Learning Technology
        4. Instructional Design
        5. Online Learning or eLearning
      2. If faculty/instructors have questions about whether or not their degree falls within these categories, they should contact the Chair of the Online Faculty Advisory Committee
      3. The Chair of the Online Faculty Advisory Committee will arrange audits with an ad-hoc group of Education faculty with representation from each of the four universities within the UM System
  5. For faculty/instructors coming into the UM System from external institutions:
    1. If they received training at another institution, they will need to take the recertification program
    2. If they have not received training at another institution, they will need to take the Online Teaching Certification Seminar
  6. For faculty/instructors who have not participated in the above options for certification, but have extensive experience teaching online (online teaching for 3 or more years), they will take a reflective self-assessment to route them into either the Online Teaching Certification Seminar or the recertification program.

For faculty/instructors who successfully completed any of the external training mentioned above, they should submit documentation of those completions to Missouri Online for our records.

Reviewed 2022-05-11