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Effective Practices


Sloan-C Effective Practice focuses on five pillars of quality assessing the effective practices of online education:

  • Access - Everyone has the opportunity to learn online and achieve success
  • Faculty Satisfaction - Faculty achieve success with teaching online, citing appreciation and happiness
  • Institutional Cost Effectiveness - Providers continuously improve online learning services while reducing cost
  • Learning Effectiveness - The quality of online learning is comparable to the quality of traditional programs provided
  • Student Satisfaction - Students successfully learn online and are pleased with the experience


Rubic Online Instruction (ROI), a committee established by CSU Chico, developed six categories in developing an effective quality online education.

Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning

  1. Course has multiple timely and appropriate activities to assess student readiness for course content and mode of delivery.
  2. Learning objectives, instructional and assessment activities are closely aligned.
  3. Ongoing multiple assessment strategies are used to measure content knowledge, attitudes and skills.
  4. Regular feedback about student performance is provided in a timely manner throughout the course.
  5. Students' self-assessments and peer feedback opportunities exist throughout the course.

Faculty Use of Student Feedback

  1. Instructor offers multiple opportunities for students to give feedback on course content.
  2. Instructor offers multiple opportunities for students to give feedback on ease of online technology in course.
  3. Instructor uses formal and informal student feedback in an ongoing basis to help plan instruction and assessment of student learning throughout the semester.

Innovative Teaching with Technology

  1. Course uses a variety of technology tools to appropriately facilitate communication and learning.
  2. New teaching methods are applied and innovatively enhance student learning, and interactively engage students.
  3. A variety of multimedia elements and/or learning objects are used and are relevant to student learning throughout the course.
  4. Course optimizes Internet access and effectively engages students in the learning process in a variety of ways throughout the course.

Instructional Design and Delivery

  1. Course offers ample opportunities for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor and student to content.
  2. Course goals are clearly defined and aligned to learning objectives.
  3. Learning objectives are identified and learning activities are clearly integrated.
  4. Course provides multiple visual, textual, kinesthetic and/or auditory activities to enhance student learning.
  5. Course provides multiple activities that help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Learner Support and Resources

  1. Course contains extensive information about being an online learner and links to campus resources.
  2. Course provides a variety of course-specific resources, contact information for instructor, department and program.
  3. Course offers access to a wide range of resources supporting course content.

Online Organization and Design

  1. Course is well-organized and easy to navigate. Students can clearly understand all components and structure of the course.
  2. Course syllabus identifies and clearly delineates the role the online environment will play in the total course.
  3. Aesthetic design presents and communicates course information clearly throughout the course.
  4. All web pages are visually and functionally consistent throughout the course.
  5. Accessibility issues are addressed throughout the course.


The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has developed guidelines for good practices with the use of technology in education. Click here for the entire article.

Encourage Effective Contact Between Students and Faculty

  1. Create discussion groups, chat rooms, bulletin boards

  2. Provide students different ways to contact course faculty (e-mail, fax, etc)

  3. Provide course orientation (in person or online or both)

  4. Give regular announcements

Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students

  1. Provide reasonable feedbacks on assignments

  2. Monitor student progress during the early weeks of the semester

  3. Provide multiple means to communicated (e-mail, office hours, discussion forums)

Use Active Learning Techniques

  1. Relate new materials to previous knowledge

  2. Place materials in context to the rest of the course

  3. Anticipate questions

  4. Provide sufficient student assignments, including alternate, hands-on assignments

  5. Give quizzes and test to monitor student progress

Give Prompt Feedback

  1. Timely response to questions

  2. Monitor discussion board

Communicate High Expectations

  1. Perform regular assessment of students' assignments
  2. Maintain same standards as regular, classroom-based course

Respects Diverse Talents and Modalities of Learning

  1. Provide different delivery techniques of materials to accommodate different learning styles.

Use Appropriate Tools

  1. Give students a choice of modalities for a given course.
  2. Assist students who do not have ready-access to be able to get to the technology.
  3. Provide faculty with support to develop new materials in conjunction with instructional designers and software experts.


  1. Schools offer training in the use of technology.
  2. Provide technical support for online instructors.
  3. Ongoing investment in the hardware, software and human resources to maintain and improve the technology in use.

Recognize the Need for Comprehensive Student Services

  1. Students should feel connected to the institution.
  2. Online education providers provide full range of online services to students (registration, bookstore, financial aid, library, counseling, online assessment).