Policies and Guidelines

Online Teaching is important at Kent State

According to 2012 IPEDs data, Kent State’s UG and Grad student headcount was 8767 students. That puts Kent State in the top 13 of ALL public university SYSTEMS.

We have had a consistently large increase in online course enrollments. From Spring 2009 to Spring 2014, we had a 900% increase in student enrollments. Kent State was an early adopter of distance learning and has been increasing and improving our online courses for over 15 years.
 
We now have 27 fully online graduate programs12 fully online undergraduate programs and 19 fully online certificate programs.

As technology and research about online learning has progressed, so have our efforts to improve both teaching and learning opportunities online.

FlashLine

FlashLine is the main portal to systems and tools you’ll need to access while teaching. You access the Flashline portal by going to www.kent.edu and clicking on the FLASHLINE LOGIN button found in the top left corner. Note that your FlashLine username/password are used for many software services across Kent State University. View support information for FlashLine

Expectations for online instructors

Online instructors are expected to be engaged and active in their online courses. The instructor is expected to actively give feedback, interact with students, monitor student progress and clarify and/or add context to existing content and assessments and create and post content where needed. View a suggested timeline for course activities.

According to the United States Department of Education, a distance course should include “regular and substantive interaction between these students and the instructor.” section § 600.2 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

Faculty, as members of the university, are required by federal law to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. The office of Student Accessibility Services coordinates all aspects of accessibility for Kent State University. SAS provides a variety of services to faculty and also provides resources for creating accessible course content.

Using Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn (Bb Learn or Learn) is the course management system supported at Kent State and is the expected delivery platform for online courses. You can access Blackboard Learn from the FlashLine portal or directly at learn.kent.edu. When you log in to Blackboard Learn, you should see your current course listings. If you do not, you should contact your department scheduler and let them know you are unable to see your sections in Blackboard.  Learn more about support for Blackboard Learn.

Student Orientation

This getting started page provides a list of comprehensive support services, including tips and tricks for getting your computer ready, strategies to be a successful online student, policies, and direct links to student academic services.

Faculty members interested in offering a course in an online format should first discuss and seek approval from their department chair/school director and/or college dean, as applicable, through the academic unit’s established curricular processes.  

Courses that are new to the KSU course catalog should consult the established curriculum process and curriculum deadlines located on the Curriculum Services website. 

New online course development or major revisions to an existing online course require the approval of the department chair or school director and college dean. 

  • New Course Development. Development of an online course that is either new to the university course catalog or currently exists in the university catalog as a traditional face-to-face course and will be offered online for the first time. 
  • Extensive Course Revision. Revision of an existing online course that includes either change equal to or greater than 50% of the course learning materials, or substantial changes to course structure, course goals, and/or learning outcomes such that the essential nature of the course is changed. 

When developing an online course, academic units should consider the following: 

  • Coordinating resources and developing high-quality foundational courses for use by all instructors, especially courses which are shared between multiple programs or are part of the Kent Core.
  • Coordinating between the Regional campuses and Kent campus departments to ensure that students have access to online courses where appropriate.

Delivery Modes for Distance-Education Course Sections 

The delivery modes for distance-education course sections at Kent State include web-based, room-based video conferencing, and PC-based conferencing (see additional details on the Curriculum Services website). 

Web-based courses are taught via the Internet, and courses can be either asynchronous or synchronous. Content is presented in multiple formats, which may include text, recorded or live-streaming audio or video; and interactive presentations. Communication tools include live chats, discussion groups, and e-mail. Some web-based courses have hybrid online/on-ground delivery and may require students to come to campus for several class sessions. In Banner, the following codes define a web-based course section:  

  • V1: Course is 100 percent online, requiring no face-to-face or online live sessions (asynchronous). 
  • V2: Course is 100 percent online, with one or more concurring online live sessions (synchronous). 
  • V3: Course is a blend of substantial online sessions (asynchronous or synchronous) and one or more required face-to-face meetings. 

Note: The online course must be delivered exactly as advertised and listed in the Banner registration system and KSU course catalog. 


Requesting University Support 

Faculty or administrators of academic units may submit a request for assistance with new course development or extensive revision to an existing online course via the university's online course support service catalog

Requests for university-supported course development assistance are prioritized according to the availability of university resources. Priority is given to fully online degree program courses and strategic individual initiative courses (high enrollment, high D/F/W, Kent Core, Transfer Module). 

University-supported course development assistance may require a signed Agreement Letter establishing the terms and conditions of course development and expectations for faculty course developer participation. 


Funding 

Faculty requesting compensation for online course development should discuss and seek approval from their department chair/school director and/or college dean. 

Limited funding for online course development during the summer term when faculty are not on contract may be available from the Office of Continuing and Distance Education (OCDE).  

Requests for OCDE funding should be submitted by the department chair/school director and/or college dean. Priority consideration for OCDE funding requests will be given to degree program courses and high enrollment, high D/F/W, Kent Core, and Ohio Transfer Module courses. 


Timeline and Scheduling 

Developing a course for the online environment requires a significant investment of time. A rough estimate for a 3-credit hour course is 10 working hours per week of development time over a 15-week term. It is strongly recommended to begin course development no later than one semester prior to the next scheduled delivery date of the course. 

Requests for university-supported course development assistance should be submitted a minimum of one academic term prior to the requested development term. (See the table below). 

Scheduled Delivery 

Development Term 

Submit Request 

Fall term 

Preceding summer term 

Preceding spring term 


Distance / Distributed Learning Agreement 

Kent State University policy requires a signed Distributed / Distance Learning Agreement (DDLA) for all new online course development or extensive revision of an existing online course prior to the start of course development. 

The Distance / Distributed Learning Agreement (DDLA) is a university document that establishes the intellectual property rights of online course materials and the final resulting work and the terms of compensation for online course development and the extensive revision of online courses. The DDLA is not a substitute for an approval process that is part of an established curricular process. 

University-supported online course development requires a signed DDLA of Type II or Type IV. 


Course Design Standards and Quality Assurance 

The quality of online courses is critical to student success and for meeting federal regulations tied to students’ federal financial aid.  

The Office of Continuing and Distance Education has created the following resources to help guide the creation of high-quality online courses: 

Kent State University is both a member of Quality MattersTM and of the largest QM state consortium in the nation, the Ohio QM Consortium. As such, low-cost training for QM's foundational workshop, Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR), is available to interested faculty and academic units. 

  • Faculty can use the QM rubric as a guide when they design their online courses.
  • Faculty can do a self-review of their online course using the Self-Review tool on the QM website. 
  • Faculty may request an informal QM review of their course by a trained QM Peer Reviewer from the Office of Continuing and Distance Education.

State Authorization

State Authorization at Kent State University works with programs and departments to ensure compliance with state and federal law when offering any out-of-state activity (such as online courses, field experiences, recruiting or marketing, and professional licensure certifications).

Professional Licensure and Certification Disclosures

If your program leads to a professional certification please visit the State Authorization website for access to the form that will need to be completed, a link to the Code of Federal Regulations, and additional information.

A professional licensure program is an academic program that is designed, marketed, and/or advertised to meet the educational requirements for a specific license or certification and is required for employment in an occupation.


Course Maintenance and Support

In instances of succeeding assignments to teach distance education courses, faculty are expected to demonstrate a level of technical competence that would enable them to prepare and teach the course. 

Online course support from distance learning support staff is available for all colleges and campuses: 

Additional faculty resources: