Instructional practices at CCCOnline are based on the “Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs” developed by the Western Cooperative of Higher Education (WCET). These standards have been adopted by most higher-education accreditation agencies in the US.
Community of Practice
The WCET Best Practices document states that “Education is best experienced within a community of learning where competent professionals are actively and cooperatively involved with creating, providing, and improving the instructional program” (WCET). Our goal is to support best practices among our instructors. Supporting and honoring excellence in teaching remains the central value of our organization.
A best practices “community of learning” is built through the interactions between students and instructors, students and their peers, and students and the content. Instructors engage students through interaction and course content. For purposes of instructor evaluations, the CCCOnline Teaching Excellence Program focuses primarily on student/instructor interaction. See the Teaching Excellence Rubric for more information.
Supporting Teaching Excellence
CCCOnline’s formal Teaching Excellence Program was developed following interviews with instructors, students, and a review of the research on quality practices in online learning. Our goal is to support student learning and honor excellence in teaching. All CCCOnline instructors are expected to strive for excellence in teaching, including meeting or exceeding Teaching Excellence expectations.
In summary, CCCOnline instructors are evaluated as follows:
- The Program Chair reviews each course the Thursday before a term begins to ensure that all courses are ready for the new semester.
- The Teaching Excellence Specialist reviews the course based on the following: News tool accessibility, student introduction responses, instructor presence, grading feedback timeliness, and appropriate engagement within the course.
- Program Chairs review the course based on: instructor guidance, acknowledgement and encouragement, appropriate use of expertise, comprehensive feedback, the willingness to share expertise, professional development participation, and administrative skills.
- Students complete course evaluations near the end of each term. Results are available to instructors via the CCCOnline Portal after the term ends.
Student evaluations and research into adult learning make it clear that discussion is one of the most valuable online learning tools. We have learned that sense of community can be very important to online retention. Instructors may develop discussion management and engagement skills through the required Managing Discussions workshop.
Teaching Excellence Ratings
Instructors will be rated either “Best” (Highly Proficient), “Good” (Moderately Proficient), or “Needs Improvement” (Not Proficient) in the categories shown in the table below.
- The Program Chair will discuss the rating with the instructor and recommend that the instructor receive mentoring and/or additional training, and may direct the instructor to the Closing the Loop Closing the Loop is a tool Program Chairs can use to provide specific tips and resources for instructors who face challenges in a particular area as specified by the rubric.