6,013: Standards and Approval Procedures for Online Courses

Revised: April 2014

Departments shall provide accurate information in the student information system (e.g. MyNEVADA) indicating the mode of instruction that best describes each of their class offerings each instructional term.  Departments are only permitted to schedule class sections of a course that are consistent with the approved modes of delivery for that course.

For all new and revised courses approved by the University Courses and Curricula Committee (UCCC) the allowable modes of delivery shall be recorded in the student information system.   The allowable modes of instruction associated with proposed new or modified courses shall be reviewed by college curriculum committees and the UCCC.  Following the NSHE system of course classification, courses having a "mode of instruction" attribute of WB (completely web-based) or WM (web-based with on or off-campus organizational meetings, labs, or proctored tests) are considered to be "online courses" at the University.   For courses for which WB and WM are allowable modes of instruction, the instructor qualifications and quality expectations for course development, content, retention of intellectual property rights, assessment of student learning outcomes, grading of student performance, security of examination procedures, currency of instructional materials, availability of instructor for student questions, and instructor and course evaluations are identical to those for traditional modes of instruction.   

Expectations for faculty training: Each faculty member assigned to an online course shall receive consultation, training, implementation, and evaluation support from instructional design and delivery staff that will ensure the effective and efficient use of the chosen delivery system, or provide evidence that have previously received such training. Training will typically be delivered in workshops arranged for this purpose by the Office of the Provost.

Course Evaluation:
Student teaching evaluation of an online course shall be no different from the evaluation of that course when delivered by some other mode, but shall also include response items that assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the online delivery systems, access to academic resources, access to faculty, and access to student services.   

Accessibility: The design and implementation of online courses and the supporting technological infrastructure shall take into account and be in compliance with regulations related to ADA accessibility.   

Approval Procedures: The review and approval procedures for proposed new or modified courses which include the WB and WM modes of instruction are identical to those with other modes of instruction, except that there must be an assessment of the following criteria:

(1) Integrity of examination process: Students enrolled in online courses shall take examinations under the supervision of the instructor, an approved proctor, or other techniques that assure the integrity of the process.  Proctors must manage the examination in a secure manner.  Exceptions to this policy must be explained in the course proposal.

(2) Technological infrastructure: The equipment, software, and communications access shall be sufficient to support interaction with students, cooperating institutions, and other faculty.  Evaluation of this requirement shall include a consideration of class size (student headcount) specified in the course proposal.

The course proposal for WB and WM courses shall be accompanied by the ONLINE INSTRUCTION QUALITY ASSURANCE FORM, which documents how these criteria will be addressed.  The criteria will be reviewed by the Online Instruction Quality Assurance Officer (who is appointed by the Provost), and who shall provide on this form a written recommendation on quality acceptability to department and college curriculum committees and the UCCC.  This assessment is restricted to non-academic issues related to the procedural criteria associated with online delivery.

In order to add the WB or WM modes of delivery to existing courses, departments shall submit the ONLINE INSTRUCTION QUALITY ASSURANCE FORM to the Provost's Office for review by the Online Quality Assurance Officer and approval by college curriculum committees and the UCCC.   

Review of Online Courses: Online courses, including those that existed prior to the implementation of this policy, will be subject to systematic review by the Online Quality Assurance Officer on the quality criteria listed above.  The schedule for this systematic evaluation will be posted by the Office of the Provost.  Departments must modify courses to correct any detected deficiencies to the satisfaction of the Online Quality Assurance Officer prior to the start of the next term in which the course will be taught.