TO:            Faculty Senators

FROM:       SEC

DATE:       March 5, 2010

RE:            Online Course Policies


After the February 11th, 2010 Senate Discussion of the Online Course Handbook, Senate reached a consensus that a committee needed to be assembled to look more closely at what new policies (if any) are needed in relation to online and hybrid courses. The SEC determined that initially a small group of faculty, including representatives from the Online Advisory Council (OAC) and Faculty Senate, should attempt to work through this issue, using the policies given in the Online Course Handbook as a starting point.  The group consisted of Steve Brokaw (OAC and FS), Kerrie Hoar (FS), Kenny Hunt (FS), Adrienne Loh (FS) and Jodie Rindt (OAC).


The group met on February 18th, 2010. They discussed the need for definition of online and hybrid courses. It was later discovered that the Faculty Senate had previously approved definitions for online, hybrid and distance education courses. These definitions were part of a recommendation from UCC that was approved by Senate on September 28, 2006. You can view this report at .


After the group met on February 18th, 2010, they brought the following recommendations to SEC:


1.      Faculty Senate should vote only on new policies that would be incorporated into the Faculty Senate Articles and Bylaws. The content and layout of the Online Handbook should be determined by the Director of Online Education and the Online Advisory Committee.  Faculty Senate has no purview over this handbook and should not vote to approve or endorse the document.

2.      Some suggestions on layout and verbiage for the Handbook should be forwarded to the Online Director.

The SEC agreed with these recommendations.


The group is forwarding four new policy recommendations as separate motions to be discussed and voted on at FS.  It should be made clear that all policies that govern face-to-face courses also apply to online, hybrid and distance education courses, with the following exceptions/additions:

  1. The department should determine the format (e.g., face-to-face, hybrid, online) of courses offered through that department.
  2. Required courses offered in an online format must also be offered face-to-face during the academic year.  Should a department wish to request an exception to this policy, they should seek approval through the Committee on Academic Policies and Standards (CAPS).  This policy does not apply to courses that are part of an online degree program.
  3. Any electronic course management system used must comply with all applicable statutes and laws.  (e.g., FERPA, copyright)
  4. Instructors teaching their first online course at UW-L are required to complete an online training program on how to design and deliver quality online courses.  Instructors who have completed a similar training course at another institution can request that this requirement be waived by their department.