Course Standards - Fall 2020

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As we embark on a very different summer and look to the fall 2020 semester for Champlain College's campus, I want to reaffirm a few fundamentals. The Course Standards below provide some important guideposts and stability in these times. They strive to give you clarity about baseline expectations, and to give your students appropriate predictability of access and steadiness of learning opportunities. I hope that as you engage in the important work of preparing in new ways to embed in your courses the flexibility and hybridization that these times require, you will also be attuned to the potentially transformative rewards of this work. Teaching creatively and inclusively remain not only possible, but more compelling than ever. As you prepare, I ask you to hold to our collective values as faculty: putting students at the center of our choices, learning every day as role models, demonstrating as we journey through these changes that we have a north star as a teaching community, namely, the focus on what is best for our students and their learning.

Laurie Quinn

In response to Covid-19, faculty must prepare their Fall courses to run with at least some level of remote instruction. These guidelines describe what a Flex-Hybrid course design is, and lay out both mandatory and highly recommended elements that should be present in Fall 2020 courses. These temporary mandated standards have been initially reviewed by Faculty Leadership and the Academic Affairs Committee, and will continue to be assessed through faculty governance. As faculty design their Fall 2020 courses, the goal is to create the conditions for sound learning to occur regardless of whether individual students or the faculty member can attend any particular learning experience in-person, and to offer flexible learning that can accommodate individual learner needs.


The Flex-Hybrid design gives faculty and students flexibility and uses a mix of formats to ensure that sound learning can continue while we respond to the uncertainties of place and time that the pandemic has created. As faculty design their Fall 2020 courses, the goal is to create the conditions for sound learning to occur regardless of whether individual students or the faculty member can attend any particular learning experience in-person, and to offer flexible learning that can accommodate individual learner needs. The Center for Learning & Teaching (CLT) can serve as a resource for help designing a version of Flex-Hybrid that meets each individual faculty's course goals. For more information, please see the CLT web page.

Definition of Flex-Hybrid:

A course which offers multiple delivery modes of instruction and allows for blended learning (the integration of classroom and online learning), "flipped classrooms," remote synchronous and asynchronous instruction, intentional community building, one-on-one coaching, and other "value added" options.

Mandatory Course and Practice Standards

There are many ways to meet the standards through sound instructional design planning, and collaborative support is readily available through CLT to discuss how individual faculty and courses can best meet them.

  • Courses must continue to meet Champlain College, NECHE, and ADA standards.
    • Follow the official, approved course learning outcomes and description, with equivalent content and assessments
    • Provide opportunities for student-faculty and student-student interaction (including office hours/appointments)
    • Provide prompt feedback; faculty must communicate turnaround times for feedback on different types of assignments to students
    • Make course materials and delivery accessible to any students with disability accommodations as needed (Academic Continuity Standard 6)
    • Upload a Syllabus that meets the syllabus requirements, including a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement (Academic Continuity Standard 1)
  • Canvas must be the "base" for the course.
    • Post all due dates for assignments and discussions so that they show up in the Canvas student to-do list. (Academic Continuity Standard 3)
    • Maintain the Gradebook in Canvas so that the current grade is an accurate predictor of student success. (Academic Continuity Standard 7)
    • Organize course materials, tasks, etc by Modules structured around units of study or weeks for consistency and navigability. It is highly recommended that courses use the CLT template.
  • Include both synchronous and interactive asychronous components: neither synchronous or asynchronous should be the sole mode of delivery.
  • Use clear and consistent means of communication:
    • Canvas is the primary channel for communication with students. Utilize Announcements and Canvas Inbox for communication to the whole class and individual students, respectively (except in rare cases where the course or program relies on a designated communication channel). (Academic Continuity Standard 5)
    • Communication related to assignment grades and feedback will be limited to Canvas or other FERPA compliant systems in limited situations.
    • Reply to student communications promptly (the standard is within 24 hours on business days)
    • Include instructions for students to attend virtual office hours and/or instructor appointments
    • Schedule class meetings using Google Calendar, inviting students so that the event shows up in their calendars. (Academic Continuity Standard 4 rationale)
  • Be visibly present in the Canvas-based course through announcements, feedback, discussion participation and/or other strategies to establish rapport with students (preferably a combination of these). Leave a visible "digital footprint" for your students so they know each time you're engaging, just as you want to "see" them in virtual spaces. Create opportunities for students to interact with each other.
  • Student workload must be reasonable and based on instructional time equivalent to normally-scheduled contact hours:
    • A 3-credit, 15-week course should have three hours of instructional time and roughly six hours of "out of class" work per week, on average
    • Instructional time includes anything that replaces what would happen in the classroom, including lecture videos or presentations, film screenings ordinarily conducted in person, quizzes, student discussions, labs, and synchronous activities. Note that one substantive discussion post is considered one half hour of instructional time.
  • For enrollment verification, require at least one online submission of an assignment, quiz or participation in a discussion by the end of the first week of classes. (Academic Continuity Standard 2; rationale)
  • All virtual classes should be recorded so they can be shared with students who were not able to attend.

Highly Recommended "Level Up" Course Standards

  • Course materials and delivery accessible to all by design (Universal Design for Learning)
  • Complete description of each assignment included in the relevant Canvas Assignment (rather than, or in addition to, separate distribution);
  • Restatement of discussion post requirements with every Discussion
  • Course materials are distributed via Canvas whenever possible
  • Course demonstrates consideration of diversity, equity, and inclusion (evidenced by content choices, aesthetics, assignments, and/or other components) as appropriate to the course subject and outcomes.

A Note About Attendance:

Champlain College does not have a universal attendance policy. Please consider student-specific needs based on their situation before designing Syllabus requirements around attendance. In Flex-Hybrid course design, students have the option of participating remotely with the class. We encourage faculty to build in maximum flexibility around student attendance.

Encourage, but don't require students to have their cameras on. The camera can introduce equity issues for students lacking cameras or living and working in spaces that reveal things about their lives that they should not be forced to air in a class environment. However, being visibly present in the class can help build class community and can help the individual student engage with the class.