Skip to main content

Faculty Resources

The Office of eLearning 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. Resources on this page include:

Related resources include:


Quality standards

The UM System Administrative Policies for eLearning – Quality Standards were developed as a result of collaborative effort among faculty, staff and administration systemwide 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 eLearning Academic Council and the eLearning Oversight Committee. The latter is comprised 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 eLearning Initiative. 

These quality standards apply to all courses being offered online, including semester-based and self-paced, 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 incorporates 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 the Office of eLearning.  

  • 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.


Online course quality

Faculty are required to develop or refresh each online course either in a course development program offered by the Office of eLearning (and run by instructional designers) or in consultation with an instructional designer. All online courses will be reviewed through the Quality Course Review process, which is run through the Office of eLearning.

All new online courses must be reviewed through the Quality Course Review process before the course opens to students. 

  • The Quality Course Review process uses a standard course review form and review process to determine how courses meet the 5 Pillars of Effective Course Design standards, based on the Quality Matters rubric and initiative. 
  • Courses must meet or exceed expectations for all question items on the course review form that end with an asterisk, symbolizing the essential elements that must be met in any online course moving into the eLearning initiative.
  • Courses will be reviewed independently by two reviewers (as described below in the General Process section).
  • If both reviewers agree that the expectations for the essential items have been met, the course is considered to have “passed” Quality Course Review and to have met the quality standards.  


Online Teaching Certification

The eLearning Academic Council and the Online Faculty Advisory Committee were charged with providing recommendations to the eLearning 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.

Online Teaching Certification Options

  1. Faculty/Instructors who have completed the following historic development opportunities are considered certified, except for those who have only completed Start Here, which counts as partial certification*:
    1. MU
      1. Completed Online Teaching Foundations (OTF) from June 2015 – August 2020
      2. Designed Online from January 2020 – August 2020
      3. Start Here*
    2. UMSL
      1. Online in 9 from June 2015 – August 2020
      2. Start Here*
    3. S&T
      1. Start Here*
    4. UMKC
      1. Faculty Certification (self-paced) – Completions from June 2015 through September 2020
      2. Start Here*

      * Participants will need to complete Start Here 102: Best Practices in Online Instruction to become certified.

  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
        • Online Educator Graduate Certificate
        • Masters in Learning Systems and Design
        • Educational Specialist Degree in Learning Systems and Design
        • 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:
        • Educational Technology
        • Instructional Technology
        • Learning Technology
        • Instructional Design
        • 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 5 or more years), they will take a reflective self-assessment to route them into either the Online Teaching Certification Seminar or the recertification program
  7. Recertification will occur every 5 years, from the date of the last certification
    1. Faculty/instructors may sign up for/take the recertification sooner than that, and then the clock will start over at that point
    2. The recertification will be a shorter course, focused on updated tools and technologies
  8. 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 above

Documentation

For faculty/instructors who successfully completed any of the external trainings mentioned in items 3 – 5, above, they should submit documentation of those completions here for our records.

Implementation Timeline

  • While the Office of eLearning (OeL) will track/provide an audit of online teaching certification, the OeL should not be enforcing the certification, as that is more properly within the purview of the Provosts.
  • The timeline to implement these recommendations should be decided by the eLearning Oversight Committee, as the Provosts and their delegates would be the entities enforcing the certification and determining the consequences of not meeting the requirements.
    • UMKC: online teaching certification is already required; the new implementation can begin immediately.
    • MU: Beginning on the first day of the Fall 2021 semester, certification for primary instructors teaching online classes will be required by the first day of the semester that those classes are being offered. Instructors who teach online and are not certified will be marked as “unsatisfactory” in myVita in the Teaching category.

Re-evaluation

These policies could be re-evaluated on a yearly basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs to become certified to teach online?
  • Only the primary instructor of an online course. Guest lecturers, TAs, graders, class managers/coordinators do not need to be certified.
  • This applies to all primary instructors, including adjunct instructors and graduate students.
 
What counts as an online course?
  • The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits our universities, states that an online course is any course where 75% or more of the content is delivered at a distance.
    • At MU, this includes classes lists as OL or eL for modality.
 
When do the primary instructors need to become certified?
  1. At MU, starting the first day of the Fall 2021 term, the primary instructors need to be certified before they teach online.
    1. If I am teaching an online course in the Fall 2020 (or Spring 2021 or Summer 2021) term, do I need to be certified before that class starts?
      • No, the requirement does not go into effect until the first day of the Fall 2021 term.
    2. If I am teaching an online course in the Fall 2021, do I need to be certified before that class starts?
      • Yes.
    3. What if I only teach online in the spring or summer terms? When do I have to be certified?
      • The requirement goes into effect Fall 2021, and remains in effect thereafter. So, if you teach online every spring, you would need to be certified before the Spring of 2022.
    4. After the Fall of 2021, what happens if I teach online and am not certified?
      • Your chair will mark an “unsatisfactory” in myVita in the Teaching category.
  2. At UMKC, this is an existing requirement. Online classes will be cancelled if the instructor is not certified.
 
Why do I have to do this?

Because the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits our universities as a whole, requires this for accreditation.

 
But my degree program has its own accreditation. Am I still required to do this?

Yes. The Higher Learning Commission requires it of the entire university. We are responsible both to our discipline-specific accreditation bodies and the Higher Learning Commission.

 
How long is this going to take?

If you are not already certified, the Online Teaching Certification Seminar course takes about 36 hours over 6 weeks to complete.

 
When is the Online Teaching Certification Seminar offered?

A new seminar starts every 6 – 8 weeks. Check here for start dates and to enroll/register.

 
How do I sign up for the Online Teaching Certification Seminar?

Click here to enroll/register.

 
How long does certification last?

Five years from the date of your last certification.

 
Do I have to go through the whole program again to be recertified after five years?

No, you will need to take the Online Teaching Recertification Program, which is a short course designed to familiarize you with the latest technologies and best practices.

It will be available in mid-October, 2020.

 
Am I already certified?

Please refer to the Online Teaching Certification Policy for more information on what counts towards certification; you may already be certified.

The Office of eLearning is working on a dashboard to track certification; if you have questions, please email Heather Hunt, one of our Faculty Fellows.

 

Reviewed 2020-08-07