Checklist for Online Courses

UNC Charlotte Checklist for Online Courses
The following checklist is an easy tool for creating a basic set of simple guidelines to organize your online course so that students can understand more easily what it is you want them to do to be successful.  It is customizable for your department as desired.

Guidance from the Provost:
During the past year, we have been listening to students about the pros and cons of their experiences with instruction, particularly in online classes.  Over 3,000 students have weighed in on their experiences and identified their challenges.  Over 750 more have told us what helps and which classes are easiest to navigate.  The Center for Teaching and Learning has distilled this information into a checklist for ease of use by departments and faculty.  Although we intend this to be used in all online courses, the checklist principles and practices can be applied to any course.

I recommend that departments discuss the use of the checklist and tailor it to the needs of the discipline. The goal is to create greater consistency and predictability for students.  Faculty who use the checklist in their courses are advised to share their choices with their students to create a sense of mutual understanding and shared commitment. Use of the checklist recommendations can augment end of course student teaching evaluations by demonstrating the adoption of best practices.
 
How to Customize This Checklist for Your Department or College:
1. Open the Google Docs version
2. Go to the "File" menu and select "Make a Copy"
3. Edit your copy as needed.
 
 

Element 1: Clear Course Organization

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Use the UNC Charlotte Canvas Template for Fall 2021

     

Highly recommended; those with exceptional design skills may choose to use a different format

Use the Canvas Syllabus (make link available in course menu)

     

You can add a file attachment to the Syllabus tool in Canvas. 

Use Canvas Assignments for all assignments in the course

     

Put due dates on all Canvas Assignments so that they will automatically appear on the Canvas Calendar and Syllabus Course Summary

Use the Canvas Calendar 

     

Add reminders to course calendars for important dates. All assignments in the course with due dates appear on the calendar automatically. 

Use Canvas Announcements - use frequently (e.g., weekly or more often) to guide students where to focus 

     

Announcements can be created ahead of time, scheduled for specific release days/times, and reused from semester to semester.

Make Zoom session link(s) easy to find if using Zoom (e.g., in Synchronous Courses)

       

Use Suggested Syllabus Language to Clarify Expectations and Communicate Campus Resources and Assistance.

      Available from the Office of Legal Affairs webpage.

Element 2: Scheduling of Class Activities

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Adhere to scheduled class time - start on time, end on time

       

Do not require synchronous meetings in asynchronous courses

       

Make assignments due during regular university business hours (i.e., not midnight or weekends) while OneIT Support is available

     

Encourage students not to wait until the last minute to submit assignments in case they need help.

Element 3: Maintaining Instructor Presence

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Create a welcome message and/or video for course introduction and orientation

     

Use Kaltura Capture for recording course orientation, walkthroughs, and instructor introductions.

Make your contact info easy to find in Canvas; explain how and when students can contact you

       

Respond promptly to students’ emails and other inquiries within a defined period and tell students what that period is

       

Require students to format their email subject line a certain way so that you can sort and filter them easily (e.g., include course code, such as “LBST 2301”)

       

Hold regular office hours online

       

Require each student to meet with you at least once during the semester (or small group sessions in larger classes)

       

Hold small group sessions during office hours for problem solving, feedback, Q&A

     

Add a FAQ page to your Canvas course to add frequent questions you receive from students.

Communicate regularly with students, especially any changes to syllabus & due dates

       

Provide module introductions

     

Each module/week has a written overview or brief video (e.g., posted in Canvas Announcements)

Provide end-of-module/week wrap-up message

     

Written or by video (e.g., posted in Canvas Announcements)

Element 4: Emphasizing Time On Task for Students

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Tell students regularly how much time-on-task they should be spending in your course to be successful

     

To give students more frequent feedback, to help students break down complex tasks into smaller pieces,  and to put in consistent work effort

Create milestones / incremental deadlines for larger projects or assignments 

       

Element 5: Keeping Students Actively Engaged in the Course

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Require some kind of observable Canvas activity on a regular basis - decide this period and communicate it to students (e.g., “you will have something due every week in this course”) 

     

Canvas analytics can detect student engagement when a student (a) posts a new comment or replies to one in an announcement or discussion, (b) submits an assignment, (c) takes a quiz, (d) loads a collaboration to view or edit a document, (e) joins a web conference, (f) or creates a wiki page in Canvas; *of course, there are other activities you do with your students beyond these

Require students to interact with you, the instructor, regularly via such things as announcements, discussions, feedback on assignments, office hours, etc., on a schedule you define (e.g., daily, twice weekly, weekly, etc.)

       

Provide students with opportunities to regularly interact with each other in the course

     

Discussion forums, group work, Q&A discussions, etc.

Provide clear and detailed instructions for online activities for students, including grading criteria and/or rubrics 

       

Show examples of past student work if applicable/available

       

Element 6: Give Students Prompt Feedback on Course Performance

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Make the Canvas Gradebook visible in the course

       

Keep the Gradebook up to date and accurate so that students are always aware of their running course grade

       

Grade student homework within a defined period and communicate to students what that period is

       

Give students multiple opportunities to get performance feedback through multiple means 

     

Mix between low stakes and high stakes assignments/assessments throughout the semester; mix between formative and summative feedback; etc.

Submit Early Alerts in Connect per the university guidelines for 1000- and 2000-level classes

       

Submit unsatisfactory grades at Midterm

       

Submit all grades at Midterm (not just unsatisfactory grades)

       

Element 7: Make Your Course Accessible for All Students

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Use the Udoit accessibility tool built into your Canvas course to check your course and make the suggested easy fixes

     

Udoit runs a simple report within each course and tells how to fix the errors.

Make sure all videos in the course are close captioned

     

Captioning is automated when using Kaltura to upload videos in Canvas.

Provide alternate means of accessing course content / completing assignments for students who have persistent technology or bandwidth issues

       

Element 8: Use University Approved Technologies

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes

Use Canvas for delivery of all course materials, discussions, and assignment submissions

     

Canvas can be used to link to outside materials (publisher content, courseware, etc.).

Use Zoom for web conferencing / live class sessions

       

Use Kaltura in Canvas for videos

     

Captioning is automated when using Kaltura to upload videos in Canvas.

Use Respondus Monitor when an online proctoring tool is needed

     

Proctoring is not required for online tests, but if you do proctor, please use the university approved tool.

Make tech support information visible in course

       

Element 9: Department-, Discipline-, and/or Course-Specific Requirements

Foundational / Must-Have

Extra-Mile / Nice-to-Have

Score (Y/N)

Notes