Teaching Online

Once your course is designed and tested, you need to plan ahead for what will occur before students begin the term. The first step for a student is usually the registration process. They find out about it in a variety of ways; the printed Schedule of Classes, the online web registration system, a recommendation from a friend, or a recommendation from a Counselor. They may only know the course name and number, and might even have the section number to aid them in the registration process. With that limited amount of information, how do they know what to do next? I suggest you cover all the bases with making sure the following information is provided well in advance: (preferably before registration opens for your class)

  • Is there a listing of your course on the distance education website?
  • Does the description in the Schedule of Classes provide students a clear direction on how to access your course?
  • Do you have an outline of your course online so the students who "shop around" will find yours most appealing?
  • Do they know where to login, or the URL (web address) of your course is easy to find?
  • Do you require on-campus meetings such as an orientation or for exams?
  • Do you require students email you to confirm registration so you can get an accurate headcount the first day? Require a login the first day classes begin?
  • What should waitlisted students know? Will you add students after your class begins and how to they add online?

Below are some examples of how to address these questions:

  • The DE program will post your course information on the DE website. If you have a personal website you use for course info, send them the URL.
  • The Schedule of Classes is VERY abbreviated. Generally students are instructed to visit their instructor homepage or the DE site. Make sure you have a webpage containing important "first steps" type of information for students.
  • A professional-looking, styled, clear and concise web page tells volumes about the kind of online teacher your are. You don't have to design it yourself. Get help, but do it right the first time. A poorly formatted syllabus or course outline speaks to the quality of your work in general.
  • Include the URL of your course or course management system. You might want to include a statement about where they can go with login problems.
  • State your requirements for on-campus meetings on your webpage. Students need to coordinate in advance with employers and families time to come on campus.
  • Decide if you are going to drop "no-shows" the first or second day. This policy should be clearly stated on your public web page.
  • Clearly post the add/drop process so you don't end up having to add someone back into your course you dropped the first day!

The add/drop process

Your WebAdvisor faculty menu gives you add codes each term to distribute to students who want to add your class. It's one code/one student and the student can add themselves during the late add period on WebAdvisor. Once the add registration is complete, the student will show up in your roster. Be sure to track who you give add codes to and check the Add Code menu to verify when they registered.

Students are responsible for dropping themselves from a course. It's best to drop no-shows before census.

If students have not applied to the College, they can complete the online application at http://www.cabrillo.edu/services/webreg/index.html

Students who need to add after the deadline will need to submit a petition to add a full term course. Petitions go to Admissions and Records.

Proctoring (test center)

Campuses often have proctoring centers where distance students can arrange to take an exam. Often the responsibility to make the arrangement lies with the student. The faculty member mails or emails the test materials to the proctor, and the proctor provides a testing area, delivers the exam after verifying the student through a photo ID, and returns the materials to the instructor. Cabrillo protoring is by special arrangement with the Assessment Center. The Math Learning Center also proctors for Math students.

Online access to Library services

The Library has a full range of information services including online newspaper and journal subscriptions, online databases, electronic books, and more. The Cabrillo Library has a laptop loan service for students who want to work in a study room and access the web through a wireless connection.

Academic dishonesty

There are many strategies to curb academic dishonesty. Course management systems allow the instructor to randomize test questions and selectively release different versions of the same exam. Online examinations can also be timed. Blackboard has built into it's software the ability to use SafeAssign, a plagiarism detection software program. Courses with writing components will find this a useful tool.

Cabrillo Student Rights and Responsibility Handbook

Student behavior policy

The Distance Education Committee, in conjunction with the Student Affairs Office, has developed a sample online behavior policy. SAMPLE


Where do I turn when things go awry? Cabrillo's Teaching and Learning Center provides technology support to faculty in-person, by phone, email, and has abundant resources on their website. There is also Blackboard support contact information on the login page.

DE @ Cabrillo

Information about class size and office hours are included in your faculty contract. Distance Education

  • Telecourse: A course taught with licensed broadcast video and associated material that may be supplemented with additional assignments created by the instructor. Faculty assigned to teach telecourses will receive the same faculty load credit as the faculty would receive if this course were taught in a traditional method. The maximum enrollment is 150. Faculty will be required to maintain regular effective contact with students.
  • Interactive Video Course: A course taught synchronously at different sites connected by electronic media through which students and instructor can communicate. The workload for interactive video courses will be the same as for courses taught in a regular classroom.
  • Online Course: A course primarily delivered online. The first time a unit member teaches a particular course online, the maximum class size for the online course will be 75% of the standard maximum class size established for the course. However, the maximum will not fall below 28 for any course unless the standard maximum is under 28, then the standard maximum will be used. This provision excludes courses involving on-site labs.
  • Office Hours: Unit members teaching distance education courses may elect to fulfill their office hour requirement for the distance education course in an alternative distance mode away from the office.
  • Regular Effective Contact with Students: The definition of regular effective contact between instructor and students includes group or individual meetings, orientation and review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, correspondence, voice mail, e-mail, or other activities. Regular effective contact is an academic and professional matter pursuant to Title 5, Section 53200.

Professional development

The Office of Instruction encourages all faculty to participate in regular professional development activities including Flex Week, attending conferences, online workshops, etc. A list of activities can be found on the Tutorials page.

Faculty evaluations

The Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers contract outlines a separate faculty evaluation process for instructors teaching in a distance learning environment. The link below outlines what evaluators look for in a distance course. Student evaluations of online faculty are done electronically. Consult your Dean for the procedure to distribute Appendix CC, Student Evaluation of Online Instructor.

Faculty Evaluation for Distance Courses

DE faculty and student satisfaction surveys

The California Community College Chancellor's Office has an online student and faculty satisfaction survey. Both faculty and students may complete this online survey at any time throughout the year. The Distance Education Program collects the results each spring and includes a summary of the data in a report to the Board of Trustees.