Web Course Reviews

The DWR requires that all Web courses are reviewed once every three semesters. Even if a faculty member is observed teaching face-to-face, each unique web WRIT or SPCH course must have a review on file. For example, if James is teaching one section of WRIT 101 face-to-face, two sections of WRIT 250 online, and one section of WRIT 310 online, he must receive a review for WRIT 250 and a review for WRIT 310.

Web Course Review Criteria

All online DWR courses are reviewed by experienced online faculty using a common evaluation rubric. The rubric was adapted from the Division of Outreach’s online review program and customized to the needs of DWR faculty and the realities of the courses we teach.

The rubric is divided into 5 categories. There are several evaluation criteria within each category. Reviewers will also provide narrative feedback for each category as well as summary comments at the end of the review.

Faculty will receive a copy of each online course review for inclusion in FARS.

Rubric Criteria Checklist

This checklist explains what online course reviewers look for for each of the rubric criteria.

Course Landing/Getting Started

Creates a “Getting Started” or “Welcome” page that includes critical course information and the syllabus and set it as the course home OR Posts an announcement or send a welcome email to students at the beginning of the term. Provides clear instructions on how to navigate the course, Provides clear instructions on how to access supplementary course content (online textbook, integrated courseware, etc.), including relevant purchase information if applicable. Explains to students how the course works and what they need to do to be successful.

Instructor Introduction

States specific technology and/or software requirements for the course: Required file formats (docx, odt, rtf, etc.), Required cloud storage if applicable, Communication tools (Zoom, Slack, Hangouts, etc.), Collaboration tools (Google Docs, Office online, etc.), Integrated courseware or e-textbook. Establishes communication guidelines and netiquette: Office hours (ftf and online), Email, chat, and videoconference protocol, Student-to-student communication and collaboration protocol Syllabus document is clearly linked from the course landing page and is available in PDF, HTML, or Word format.

Technology Requirements

States specific technology and/or software requirements for the course: Required file formats (docx, odt, rtf, etc.), Required cloud storage if applicable, Communication tools (Zoom, Slack, Hangouts, etc.), Collaboration tools (Google Docs, Office online, etc.), Integrated courseware or e-textbook. Establishes communication guidelines and netiquette: Office hours (ftf and online), Email, chat, and videoconference protocol, Student-to-student communication and collaboration protocol Syllabus document is clearly linked from the course landing page and is available in PDF, HTML, or Word format.

Syllabus Document

Syllabus document is clearly linked from the course landing page and is available in PDF, HTML, or Word format.

Syllabus Content

Includes required DWR Syllabus sections: Required texts and courseware, Instructor contact information and office hours, Course description and learning outcomes, Major assignments and grade distribution, Grading Scale, Attendance policy, Attendance for students on scholarship policy, Academic honesty/plagiarism policy, Accessibility/SDS policy, Writing Centers statement, Library resources statement, Changes/updates clause

Course Structure, Objectives, and Assessment

Course Organization

Divides content into manageable “chunks” and organizes them into distinct units, modules, or lessons, Arranges the flow of content in a logical, predictable fashion, Uses suitable words to label course menus, Labels learning units in a way that helps students understand their location in the course

Course Interface Design

Uses appropriate mechanisms in Blackboard (folders, pages, links, etc.) to present content consistently, Applies consistent information design in each subdivision (weekly folder, learning module, unit, and individual content area) so that students know what to expect, Deletes unused or unnecessary items from course navigation menu, Uses course links instead of copies of content to ensure consistency of information if changes are required, Makes external links open in a new window/tab (target=”_blank”), Uses in-line content areas to display information rather than attached documents where appropriate, Uses PDFs instead of Word documents for read-only information.

Major Projects and Assignments

Provides outcomes, description, recommended process, deadlines, and grade weight for major projects, Uses consistent information design/document format for major project descriptions, Provides links to all major project descriptions in one location (in addition to in the subdivisions where they are assigned).

Formative Feedback

Provides mechanisms for formative feedback to students in the form of graded drafts, revisions, discussion boards, blogs, or other platforms for instructor/student interaction.

Summative Feedback/Rubrics

Attaches standardized rubrics (Blackboard-based or external) to major assignments and ensure students have access to rubric scores or provides other means of summative assessment (tests, quizzes, etc).

Deadlines and Workflow

Provides deadlines for major projects up front and communicate any changes to the deadlines as necessary, Provides timeline/schedule for multi-step projects with several components, Follows consistent pattern for deadlines if possible (i.e. work due on the same day each week), Indicates parameters for timed assessments (if applicable).

Collaboration, Interaction, and Learner Engagement

Student/Instructor Interaction

Schedules minimum number of required conferences with students (for applicable courses), Provides numerous opportunities for individual conferences (online and f2f, if possible), Incorporates a variety of platforms for digital communication and allows student flexibility in methods of communication.

Student/Student Interaction

Schedules peer review/ peer assessment of major projects (where applicable), Includes structured student/student interaction (discussion forums, polls, chats, blogging, etc.), Provides opportunities for students to interact informally (discussion board, Slack, GroupMe, etc.)

Instructor Responsiveness

Explains timeline for returning work with feedback, Provides necessary updates if the timeline changes, Provides a mechanism for students to discuss feedback and/or grades with the instructor. Mark only one oval.

Resources, Materials, and Accessibility

Text-Based Content

Uses adequate font size consistently. Uses styled text for headings to create document structure, Avoids non-standard fonts, Avoids using color as a primary signifier of meaning, Ensures good color contrast when color is required, Avoids images of text, Provides alternative text for hyperlinks.

Image-Based Content

Uses PNG images if possible (instead of JPG), Resizes images to fit content area, Avoids unnecessary or decorative images or graphics, Includes appropriate <alt> tags for all images.

Audio-Based Content

Uses consistent volume settings for recorded audio, Avoids extraneous or distracting noise or errors in recorded audio, Publishes audio in .mp3 or .wav formats or shares via SoundCloud, Google Drive, or other streaming service, Provides text transcript of all audio files.

Video-Based Content

Limits length of videos to 5-10 minutes, Incorporates videos only if they add value to the lesson, Publishes videos with YouTube, Google Drive, Wistia, or other streaming service, Provides closed captioning and text transcript for all video files.

External Links

Ensures that links to external content are functioning and clearly identified, Evaluates the external content using the criteria above for text, image, audio, and video.

Files and File Types

Uses appropriate content types that make navigation simple, Uses items or pages instead of attached files where appropriate, Uses streaming video instead of attached video, Uses PDFs instead of Word documents where appropriate, Ensures that attached files are optimized for the web.

Courseware and eTexts

Adapts LTI cartridges for courseware or textbooks to the structure and format of the course, Uses consistently-formatted web links for non-LTI e-Texts, Uses consistent language to describe assignments and tasks involving courseware or e-Texts, Integrates courseware or e-Texts into the existing curriculum and avoids treating them as add-ons, Verifies that courseware grade center integration is correct.

Copyright Compliance

Obtains permissions to use copyrighted content or conducts fair use evaluation of content, Documents copyright permissions or fair use evaluation.

Attribution

Cites material not owned by the instructor in a clear and consistent manner.

Licensing

Indicates how original course material is licensed (CC, Public Domain, MIT, All Rights Reserved, etc.), Provides standard language on major course pages indicating licensing.

Student Friendly Language

Provides explanation of copyright, attribution, and licensing in language that students will understand, Includes a statement that all copyrighted material may only be used for educational purposes, Includes a statement that all licensed materials may only be used in accordance with the terms of the license.