Online Program Guidelines

These guidelines identify the issues that colleges should be expected to address in the development of online programs of study to be offered through the Michigan Colleges Online. Approved on July 20, 2001 by the MCCA Board of Directors, these guidelines are an appendix to the MCO Memorandum of Understanding.

Online Program Development Guidelines

  • The program of study is consistent with the mission of the college
  • The program is consistent with faculty and staff expertise
  • A clear need for this program has been identified
  • The outcomes of this program have been clearly identified
  • Completion of this program of study will result in appropriate credentials for students
  • The college will commit to the allocation of resources necessary for program continuation
    • Financial resources
    • Human resources
    • Technology resources
  • All required external approvals have been obtained
  • All required internal approvals (college curriculum approval process & Board of Trustees) have been obtained

Curriculum Design and Development Guidelines

  • The program is developed by academically qualified faculty
  • The program is designed to achieve clear and measurable outcomes
  • Curriculum development and instructional design are appropriate to online programs of study and online courses, and are consistent with current best practices
  • The program is managed and overseen by administrators with knowledge of the issues related to online and distance learning
  • The program is a complete program of study, with all necessary components (clinical, laboratory, skills development, and/or skills demonstration) addressed within the program
  • The program fosters "community" by incorporating interaction, utilizing technologies appropriate to the program and students. The program will provide for both instructor-student interaction and student-student interaction (as appropriate to the curriculum)
  • Program availability over time is clearly described, including the date of initial availability of the program as well as the notification that will be provided to enrolled students in the event that the college needs to terminate the program
  • Appropriate institutional policies are in place to address the following issues:
    • Copyright
    • Intellectual Property
    • Acceptable Use of network and technology resources
    • FERPA and other student privacy and/or confidentiality policies
    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Policies and procedures for complaint resolution appropriate for online students

Faculty Support for Online Programming

  • The college ensures that faculty developing the courses that constitute this program are adequately prepared
  • The college ensures that faculty teaching the courses that constitute this program are adequately prepared
  • Appropriate faculty support services are in place for course delivery

Student Support Services for Online Programs of Study

  • Program development addresses these services for online students:
    • Authoritative program information will be available online:
      • Requirements for program completion (including any activities that may not be completed online)
      • Program costs
      • Technology requirements
    • Program advisement information
      • Name and title of program advisor(s)
      • E-mail address of program advisor(s)
      • Phone number of program advisor(s)
    • Program admission requirements and procedures
    • Access to required software, media and/or other course materials
    • Financial aid for students enrolled in program
    • Help desk for any program-specific technologies
  • Student services that are accessible from the "Home College" through the MCO:
    • Library access
    • Orientation
    • Help desk for general assistance
    • Test proctoring
    • Tutoring services (note that various home colleges may not have tutors available for all the courses included within each online program of study)
    • Placement services

Program Assessment

  • The program includes a clearly articulated program assessment plan that includes assessment of program outcomes identified in program development
  • Program assessment includes a plan for course-level assessment consistent with the institutional assessment plan and appropriate to online courses
  • The program includes a plan for regular program review, including a plan to update and/or improve the program
    • to keep the program content current
    • to maintain consistency with evolving "best practices" in online learning

Last modified:  July 23, 2001