There are several resources available to help you facilitate your online class. This section details those resources and provides tips for managing your online class and supporting your online students. To download a copy of this content see Class Facilitation (Google Doc – must be logged in to employee account).
Student Email Overview
Each matriculated student at Boise State University is assigned a BroncoMail account upon their acceptance to the University. This secure account is used by faculty and staff to officially communicate with students. Email messages sent through Blackboard go to students’ official BroncoMail account. The format of a student BroncoMail address is email@example.com.
Email as Primary Communication
Students who are not fully familiar with BroncoMail may not realize that email is the primary communication tool the University uses and may forget to log in and check their accounts. You can help educate students on the use of their BroncoMail accounts by including a statement in your syllabus that outlines expectations for email usage. For example, here is a statement you can include.
Example Syllabus Statement
BroncoMail is the official communication channel through which all university business is conducted. It is expected that you access and read university communications on a regular basis. For more information see the University Policy on Student Email Communications (http://policy.boisestate.edu/student-affairs/policy-title-student-e-mail-communications/).
Federal law requires that academic institutions provide accommodation for students of differing abilities, and this includes online courses. Universal Design for Learning (or UDL) is a set of guidelines often used by educators to ensure their lessons and activities are accessible to all their students.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which is a guiding directive for how online courses should be designed and delivered, defines universal design for learning as “a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that:
- (A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and
- (B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.” (Higher Education Opportunity Act, 2008, § 103, Stat. 3086-3090)
Creating accessible content, activities, and assessments during the course design and development process is much easier than retrofitting a course later. Plus, federal law requires educators to ensure content is accessible to students with disabilities. In fact, a recent clarification from the Office for Civil Rights interpretation states that a university violates its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act when it responds only on an ad-hoc basis to individual requests for accommodation. In recent years, universities including Penn State, Arizona State and Louisiana Tech University have been the subject of federal complaints or lawsuits over charges of inaccessibility.
If you choose to use new/emerging technologies and/or other software/hardware as required components of the course, those must be accessible, too. The bottom line: Online course content must be accessible, and accessibility must result in an educational experience that is equitable to that of students without disabilities.
Additional ResourcesSee Boise State University Policy #8140, Information Technology Accessibility. In addition, the eCampus Instructional Design Services has created a set of suggestions for meeting accessibility requirements. For these suggestions see Suggestions for Making Courses Accessible (Google Doc) in the Resources section of this guide.
Faculty are responsible for initiating contact with students by sending out a “class startup email.”
This initial contact provides you and the University with assurance that students have the correct information to access and start the class.
It is important for establishing first contact, orienting students to the course, sharing your syllabus, setting expectations, and explaining how students access course information and support resources.
Since Blackboard limits students to using only BroncoMail email accounts, you can send your startup email through Blackboard. Otherwise, you may retrieve your class roster from my.BoiseState and send your startup email through your Boise State email account, using the emails listed in the roster.
Please send the startup email to the students’ BroncoMail email accounts no later than the start date for the session in which your class is listed. When students contact us with questions, we will refer them to this email in their BroncoMail account.
Additional AssistancePlease send the startup email to the students’ BroncoMail email accounts no later than the start date for the session in which your class is listed. When students contact the eCampus Center with questions, we will refer them to this email in their BroncoMail account.
If you have not yet accessed your class roster or are experiencing difficulty doing so, please call the myBoiseState Help Desk for support at (208) 426-4357.
Additional ResourcesThe eCampus Center has developed a template for an initial welcome email. See Startup Email Template (Google Doc).
Since the syllabus is often seen as a contract between you and your students, it’s important to state clearly the policies and procedures for both your classroom and the university. Below are some recommended topics and policies we encourage you to include in your syllabus.
These recommendations are based largely on the Quality Matters(™) (QM) standards. You can learn more about Quality Matters(™) in the Faculty Development section of this orientation.
Additional ResourcesThe eCampus Center has developed a syllabus template with recommended language for some of the suggested content in this section. You can access an electronic version of this template at http://bit.ly/Syllabus-template (Google Doc).
According to Boise State University Policy 4190, faculty members may administratively drop students from a course for:
- Nonattendance, including nonattendance due to course schedule conflicts.
- Failure to satisfy entrance requirements, such as:
- unmet prerequisites
- failure to register for a co-requisite,
- or inadequate class standing required to take the course.
Nonattendance that can lead to a faculty-initiated drop is defined as failure to attend the first class session of a class that meets once weekly, or failure to attend one of the first two sessions of a class that meets more than once a week.
Faculty-Initiated Withdrawal in Online Classes
Since online classes meet asynchronously rather than at scheduled times, it is important to clarify within your syllabus how that policy applies to your course. Your syllabus and initial email should clearly state:
- How the first week’s attendance will be verified—by such activities, for example, as students logging in, posting to a particular discussion forum, and confirming they have read the syllabus, etc.
- What the consequences are for failing to attend class during the first week as you have defined it: that you may (or will) administratively withdraw them from the class
Additional AssistanceWe strongly encourage faculty to drop students who have not logged in during the first week. It is usually in the best interest of both the absent student and the class.
Sandy Howell in the eCampus Center is also available to assist you with the faculty initiated withdrawal process if needed.
Consider a statement similar to this:Boise State University values course participation enough that nonattendance can lead to a faculty-initiated drop, defined as failure to attend the first class session of a class that meets once weekly. In an online course, the first week’s attendance is verified by other means that show a student has at least logged in to the course.
To avoid being dropped for nonattendance you must…[outline activities and requirements].
Requesting a Faculty-Initiated Withdrawal
After your course begins, verify what students have completed the required activity you outlined in your syllabus. Identify the students who have failed to meet the criteria and notify the Registrar’s Office by the deadline.
You may fill in a Faculty-Initiated Withdrawal Form (PDF) using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Deadlines for regular session courses
The deadline to administratively drop students is usually four working days after classes begin (Friday if classes begin on a Monday, Monday if classes begin on a Tuesday, etc.).
Deadlines for shortened or condensed session courses
The deadline to administratively drop students is the same as the last day to add without permission.
The Academic Calendar provides the exact deadline dates.
Additional AssistanceThe Faculty-Initiated Withdrawal form can be sent directly to the Registrar’s office for processing or (for eCampus courses only) printed and faxed to Sandy Howell in The eCampus Center at (208) 426-3467.
Students are expected to perform according to the standards of academic honesty and integrity as outlined in the Boise State University policies. Consider including a specific paragraph about academic honesty and refer to the Student Code of Conduct. Here is an example statement.
Example Syllabus Statement
Boise State promotes Academic Excellence as a core Shared Value upholding the virtue of honesty in the pursuit of knowledge. Behaving with integrity and honesty is a hallmark of a Boise State University graduate. The conferring of a degree represents the University’s indication that the recipient has engaged in academic work that is representative of her/his own efforts and that was completed with integrity and honesty.
Upholding academic integrity in all assignments provides students with the opportunity to engage with the material being investigated and assert their evidence based findings. This behavior demonstrates the commitment to learning and preparation necessary for a successful future. All work you submit must represent your own ideas and effort or be cited including any material you wrote for another course; when work does not, it is academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty in any form may result in failure in the course or dismissal from the Program and/or the University.
See Boise State’s Academic Integrity page for further information.
Additional AssistanceQuestions or concerns about, or assistance with the Academic Integrity process can be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students.
All Boise State courses must comply with copyright laws. This presents special challenges in online courses. However, the university has some excellent resources to guide faculty and students in following copyright law.
Boise State Resources
All copyright information is now kept on the Boise State General Counsel’s website. There you will find several topics related to copyright compliance including:
- Fair Use
- Other Copyright Issues
Each of these categories has extensive information. If your course includes assignments in which copyright could be an issue, please refer your students to this website as well.
Copyright Clearance Center
Downloading Course Content
In keeping with copyright compliance, students are not allowed to use course materials for any other purposes. Should they want to do so, they need to seek your permission. Notify students of this in the syllabus. Here is an example of a statement you could include.
Example Syllabus StatementSome of the materials in this course may be copyrighted. They are intended for use only by students registered and enrolled in this course and only for instructional activities associated with and for the duration of the course. They may not be retained in another medium or disseminated further. They are provided in compliance with the provisions of the TEACH Act. For more information, visit Boise State’s page about copyright.
Course materials may be saved or printed for use in this course only. For use beyond this class, permission must be obtained from the instructor.
As it relates to online education, a proctored exam is any exam, test, quiz, or assignment that requires students make arrangements to physically go to a testing center or otherwise verify their identity prior to and be monitored during the exam. Students may use the online testing center located on the Boise State campus, or they may make arrangements for a remote proctor. Remote proctoring is any proctoring that occurs away from the main Boise State campus.
In either case, if you require proctored exams, you must:
- Notify students at the time of registration through Class Notes in PeopleSoft
- Disclose any fees that may be involved
- Include instructions in your syllabus for scheduling a proctored exam>
- Work with students to locate an approved proctor
Boise State Testing Center
The Testing Center at Boise State offers course testing for Blackboard users as well as some other specialized tests. Their goal is to promote students success while also providing computer based testing in a proctored environment. Learn more about the Testing Center.
When students live a distance away from the Boise State campus and are unable to come to the Testing Center, they will need to identify a proctor or approved proctoring service that is available to them. Some of the options for remote proctors include but are not limited to:
- In-person Testing Centers
- Remote Proctor Testing Centers
- Virtual Proctoring Centers
Additional ResourcesSee the Boise State Proctored Test Guidelines
Additional AssistanceThe eCampus Center Instructional Design Consultants may assist you by discussing ways to assess your students and incorporate proctored exams into your instructional design. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. The Boise State Testing Center is available to assist with remote proctor options.
First Time Online New Student Support
Do you know which of your students is taking their first online class? We do! The eCampus Center can run a report from PeopleSoft that identifies which students are taking their very first online course this semester.
You can use this information to reach out to your new students, or just keep an eye out for signs of struggle. The eCampus Center will send you are reminder about this service prior to the start of each semester.
Orientation to Online Learning
The eCampus Center has developed an Orientation to Online Learning for new students to learn about concepts important to succeeding online including:
- Learning online basics
- Finding your learning style
- Communicating online
- Using Blackboard
- Computer literacy
We reach out to all new online students and invite them to complete this orientation. If you’d also like to encourage your students to complete this orientation prior to starting your online course you can provide the following information for students either in your welcome email, syllabus, or a course announcement.
Example Syllabus StatementTo be successful in this course you must manage your time, study independently, and be comfortable using technology. You are expected to know how to use Blackboard; I will not teach this as part of the class.
If you’ve never taken an online course before, or are unfamiliar with Blackboard you can request access to the eCampus Introduction to Online Learning orientation course within Blackboard.
The purpose of this introductory course is to help potential online students:
- Develop clear expectations of online learning
- Identify personal learning strengths and weaknesses
- Review best practices for Internet use
- Understand basic computer literacy
- Increase comfort with Blackboard navigation
To request access visit https://secureforms.boisestate.edu/ecampus/intro-to-online/ or you can review other getting started topics online at https://ecampus.boisestate.edu/students/.
Academic Alerts and Care Reports
The Academic Alert service is for situations where students are struggling academically (e.g., missing assignments, poor attendance, needs tutoring) and require additional support. For more details and to submit an Academic Alert see https://aasc.boisestate.edu/academic-alert/. Here is a sample statement you can either include in your welcome email, syllabus, or post as an announcement in your class.
Example Syllabus Statement
If I see signs of academic distress (missed/late assignments, lack of engagement, need for tutoring), I may reach out to your academic advisor for additional support. Your academic advisor will help connect you to people, programs, and resources designed to support student’s academic and personal needs.
CARE stands for Campus Assessment Resource Education and the CARE Report service provides assistance to assess and find solutions for managing students who exhibit distressing, disturbing, disruptive, and dangerous behavior. For more details and to submit a CARE Report see http://care.boisestate.edu/.
The Advising and Academic Enhancement office provides support for Academic Alerts and the Dean of Students provides assistance for CARE reports. If you are unsure what service you should use, start with an Academic Alert. Staff will escalate the request to a CARE report if it is needed.
The process for evaluating online delivered courses is consistent with university policy for all course evaluations. Online course evaluations are conducted each semester through CollegeNet, and the Office of Institutional Research.
The evaluation templates include the standard questions used by each academic department, in addition to questions from the eCampus Center that relate to online learning. Students enrolled in a course are notified of the evaluation survey on a predetermined date associated with the semester or session, and instructors also receive a notification asking them to announce the evaluation and encourage participation.
Instructors can send reminder emails to students in addition to the ones that are sent through CollegeNet to encourage them to provide feedback. The emails go out to students who have not yet completed the evaluation for your course.
Additional AssistanceFor information about Boise State’s course evaluation program, see Bronco Course Evaluations or contact email@example.com.
Additional ResourcesA mid-semester assessment is a process that allows the instructor to assess his/her teaching and gauge how and what students are learning in a particular course. Typically a MAP occurs between weeks 5 and 9 of the semester. For more details see the Center for Teaching and Learning website.
All faculty members, adjunct and full-time, must enter their grades electronically through my.BoiseState. Instructions for entering grades online.
If you are teaching a course within a shortened session (1st 8-week, 2nd 8-week, etc.), grades are due no later than five days following the last day of the session.
If you are teaching a regular 16-week class, your grades are due by the date indicated in the Academic Calendar found on the main myBoiseState page. Please make sure your grades are submitted by the appropriate deadlines.
As the Instructor, you may enter a grade of I—for incomplete—if all of the following conditions are present:
- The student requests a grade of incomplete before the last day of class instruction.
- The student’s work has been satisfactory up to the last three weeks of the semester.
- Extenuating circumstances make it impossible for the student to complete the course before the end of the semester.
A contract for completing the class should be created by you in collaboration with the student that meets the following criteria:
- work to be completed;
- time in which it must be completed to receive a grade in the class.
- May not exceed one year.
- Must be in writing and show an acknowledged agreement by you and the student.
- Must inform the student that the incomplete cannot be removed by re-enrolling in the class.
- Can be a simple email or written form to be kept by you.
The final decision to assign an incomplete grade rests with the instructor.
Enter the grade of I—for incomplete—on the grade roster in my.BoiseState as shown on the instructions page listed above. Students who receive incompletes will be notified by email that they have Registrar To Do Items on my.BoiseState. This notification will say exactly what you have written on the grade roster.
Granting Student Access to Blackboard Course Sites for Incompletes
Students completing an incomplete must work with the instructor to gain access to either the current or previous semester Blackboard course site.
The instructor must contact the Boise State help desk and request the student be manually enrolled into their current semester course site. The following information is needed to complete this request:
- Student Boise State username
- Boise State ID number
- Current Bb course site ID number
The instructor can make the previous semester course site available to ALL students enrolled in the course site by following these steps in Blackboard:
- Select Customization in your course control panel menu
- Select Properties
- Select Set Availability
- Select YES, to make your course available to your students. NO, to hide the course from your students
Additional AssistanceFor assistance enrolling student in current course, or making a previous course available contact the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 426-4357
Last Date of Attendance
If a student receives an ‘F’ grade, you must enter a “last date of attendance” in the grade roster on PeopleSoft. This date determines the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive when that student withdraws or leaves a program and the amount of unearned funds that must be returned to the Federal Department of Education or the lender.
Boise State is given a short window of time to determine if a student will be required to return any federal funds disbursed to them after they have completely withdrawn from all classes.
For online programs or courses, the last date of attendance is determined by the last day a student participated in an academically related activity. The annual Federal Student Aid Handbook provides these examples of academically related activities:
- student submission of an academic assignment,
- student submission of an exam,
- documented student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction,
- a posting by the student showing the student’s participation in an online study group that is assigned by the institution,
- a posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the student’s participation in an online discussion about academic matters, and
- an e-mail from the student or other documentation showing that the student initiated contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.
Updated from Federal Student Aid Handbook, May 2015, p 5-59.