University of Nevada, Reno Standards for Digital Instruction explanations
Standard 1. Course overview and information
All necessary orientation, instructor, course-specific, navigation, and policy information that sets the tone for success from the start of the course.
Standard 2. Course technology and tools
University policies, navigation, and help related to all hardware, software, or technology applications that are required for successful participation in the course.
Standard 3. Design and layout
Best practices for an organized, consistent, and easily navigable course design and layout.
Standard 4. Content, activities, and interaction
All necessary instruction, learning, and course components that promote achievement and alignment of course-wide objectives, and meet state and federal standards.
Standard 5. Assessment and feedback
Best practices in online assessment design and feedback methods for students’ mastery of content.
Standard 6. Accessibility considerations
University and federal policies and guidelines related to accessibility in online courses.
The University of Nevada, Reno’s Standards for Digital Instruction are based on research-supported and published best practices and derived from two nationally-accredited standards-based organizations: The Online Learning Consortium and SUNY Online Course Design Review Rubric (OSCQR) and Quality Matters’ Specific Review Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition. The University maintains memberships with both organizations.
The digital standards must be met for every asynchronous online, synchronous remote, or hybrid course offered at the University of Nevada, Reno. Note that in some cases, especially in hybrid courses, some standards may not apply. If you have any questions about the standards and objectives provided, please contact the Office of Digital Learning.
The Federal US Department of Education (DoE) regulatory definitions of distance education require that institutions ensure regular and substantive interaction (RSI) between student and instructor(s) occurs in all distance education modalities, including asynchronous online classes. Standards that help meet and support RSI requirements are noted under the header “RSI Support.”
Table of contents
- Standard 1. Course overview and information
- 1.0: A getting started / start here welcome is provided and easily found when student first enters course site.
- 1.1: An orientation or overview is provided for the overall course and in each module. Students are informed how to navigate the course, what tasks are due, and netiquette guidelines.
- 1.2: An accessible, printable syllabus is available to students.
- 1.3: Course includes links to relevant campus resources and policies on plagiarism, computer use, filing grievances, accomodating disabilities, information technology resources, etc.
- 1.4: Course information indicates how content will be delivered (e.g. vide, text, audio) and describes methods for accessing all course materials.
- 1.5: Course provides contact information for instructor, department, and program.
- Standard 2. Course technology and tools
- Standard 3. Design and layout
- 3.0: A logical, consistent, and uncluttered layout is established. The course is easy to navigate (related content organized together, self-evident titles).
- 3.1: "Locked", timed-release, or mark-as-done pages to access any locked material are explained to students.
- 3.2: Consistent naming and phrasing are used throughout, abbreviations are avoided, and assignments are named/numbered appropriately.
- 3.3: Headers are used throughout each page allowing for the content to be easily viewed.
- 3.4: Instructions are provided for all assignments and assessments and are descriptive, clear, and free of grammatical errors.
- 3.5: Broken links, incorrect due dates, or irrelevant information have been removed/updated.
- Standard 4. Content, activities and interaction
- 4.0: Each module includes an overview or review page, including a checklist or summary of activities that students will need to complete, indicating those that are practice-only, graded, submitted, not submitted, etc.
- 4.1: Course materials comply with copyright laws or fall within the guidelines for fair use.
- 4.2: Materials, activities, and assessments promote the achievement and alignment of course-wide objectives/SLOs.
- 4.3: Adequate time is provided for students to complete and submit activities, and time requirements are clearly communicated.
- 4.4: Frequent instructor communication is present throughout the course, enabling ample opportunities for students to engage with instructors.
- 4.5: Expectations for student interaction are clearly stated, including netiquette, grade weighting, models/examples, and timing and frequency of student contributions or participation.
- 4.6: Course offers opportunities for student-to-student interaction and constructive collaboration.
- Standard 5. Assessment and feedback
- 5.0: Course includes frequent and appropriate methods to assess students’ mastery of content.
- 5.1: Criteria for the assessment of a graded assignment are clearly articulated (rubrics, exemplary work).
- 5.2: Students have opportunities to review their performance and assess their own learning throughout the course.
- 5.3: Students are informed when a timed response is required. Proper lead time is provided to ensure there is an opportunity to prepare a time accommodation for qualified students.
- 5.4: Students have easy access to an up-to-date gradebook.
- 5.5: Students have multiple opportunities to provide descriptive feedback on course design, course content, course experience, and ease of online technology.
- Standard 6. Accessibility considerations