Online Standards and Principles for Success

Our goal is to help NIU faculty design and develop courses that can be successful in any mode of delivery – face to face, online, or hybrid. These standards and principles guide our work and represent quality online teaching and learning experiences at NIU.

Online and Hybrid Course Definitions

NIU clearly defines what constitutes an online or hybrid course as compared to other in-person course delivery modalities.

View Online and Hybrid Course Definitions

Online Course Design Essentials

These research-based standards are used to design online and hybrid courses and assess online course quality at Northern Illinois University. All new and redeveloped courses are expected to meet essential standards and are strongly encouraged to meet exemplary standards. 

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Online Course Design Checklists

These checklists provide practical suggestions for faculty to follow in designing and developing quality online courses that meet Quality Matters standards for online course design excellence.

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Online Course Policies

NIU's institutional policies govern online and hybrid courses carrying undergraduate and/or graduate credit.

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Online Teaching Principles

Derived from research-based best practices, these principles are intended to supplement the QM Higher Education 6th edition course design rubric and the NIU Online Course Design Essentials to guide effective facilitation of online and hybrid courses at Northern Illinois University. 

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Excellence in Online Teaching Rubric

This rubric is used for evaluating nominations for the Excellence in Online Teaching Award and determining "Accomplished" level of excellence for the Certificate of Excellence in Online Teaching.

View Excellence in Online Teaching Rubric

Regular and Substantive Interaction

Regular and substantive interaction is more than a federal requirement, it is also a hallmark of effective teaching. Decades of research have established that teacher-student interactions are an essential component of learning.

Learn More about Regular and Substantive Interaction

Excellence in Online Teaching Award

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-797-2477
Email: citl@niu.edu

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