Guidelines for Online Courses Carrying Undergraduate Credit Offered by Northern Illinois University

Section III. Item 23.

Delivery of undergraduate courses by remote electronic means

  • must include significant interaction (e.g., email, discussion boards, chat lines, etc.) between students and instructor, and among students, when such opportunities would normally be part of the course if offered in traditional on-campus mode,
  • must follow established procedures for instituting any new course into the NIU offerings,
  • must be supervised and assessed by the department scheduling the course, and
  • must be administered consistent with standards of scheduling, notification, prerequisites, and requirements that apply to all NIU courses.

Such courses ought not become the electronic equivalent of correspondence courses.

Instructor Considerations

Limitations regarding who may enroll in a course in a given term, along with any other special requirements, should be announced in the Schedule of Classes and publicized along with any additional dissemination of information about the course. In particular, the fact that the delivery system for a course is the World Wide Web/Internet should be indicated in all announcements. In developing on-line courses, instructors should pay particular attention to and provide explicit plans for assessing the effectiveness of teaching the course on-line and communicate these plans and the results of their implementation when requested to do so.

Ownership and use of online material is governed by the university intellectual property policy.

Departmental/College Considerations

Undergraduate courses offered online are subject to the same approval processes as for other undergraduate courses. It is the responsibility of departments and colleges offering on-line courses to determine when and for what subject matter online delivery is appropriate.

Because the usual criterion of “contact hours” may not be germane, proposals for undergraduate-level courses intended to be offered primarily or exclusively online must include a rationale as to how the number of credit hours for each proposed course has been determined.

On-line courses will count in the student's course load; university rules and departmental considerations regarding number of hours of credit that an undergraduate-level student can take in an academic term apply to online courses as they do to any other.

University Administrative Considerations

Persons receiving undergraduate academic credit for an online course must be admitted to NIU just as would be required for any other course for undergraduate credit.

All online courses carrying undergraduate credit must be assigned an official instructor of record.

Online undergraduate courses will be assigned to an academic term for purposes of drop/add, withdrawal, refund policies, etc.

Acceptance of an undergraduate student's transfer of credit from online courses is subject to the established limits on transfer of course credit with no special limitations on the amount of credit from online courses that may be applied toward an NIU undergraduate degree.

Online undergraduate courses will not be identified any differently than other courses on NIU transcripts.

PERIODIC REVIEW: These Guidelines shall be reviewed every five years by the Academic Policy Committee of the University Council.


Approved by the Undergraduate Coordinating Council October 4, 2001

Last Updated: 10/4/01