Online and Hybrid Course Policies

Policy Approval Authority University Council
Responsible University Office Office of University Council
Responsible Officer(s) Executive Secretary of University Council
Contact Person Pat Erickson,
Primary Audience Faculty
Date Submitted to Policy Library 08-01-2019
Status Active
Adoption Date 01-01-2020
Last Review Date 09-24-2019
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics
Governance / Administration
Information Technology


Below are general policies governing online and hybrid courses carrying undergraduate and/or graduate credit at Northern Illinois University (NIU). NIU defines online courses as those in which 100% of course activity is done online; there are no required face-to-face sessions within the course and no requirements for on-campus activity. NIU defines hybrid courses as those in which online activity is mixed with classroom meetings, replacing a significant percentage, but not all required face-to-face instructional activities.
General Policies:
1. Such courses must have an official instructor of record.
2. Such courses must be academically equivalent to face-to-face versions of the same course in terms of rigor, learning objectives, and material coverage.
3. Such courses must include significant interaction between students and instructor, and among students, when such opportunities would normally be part of the course if offered in traditional on-campus mode.
4. To ensure accessibility to students with disabilities, instruction in such courses is subject to requirements that may be imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended, and the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act 2.0.
5. Such courses will be evaluated for quality on a regular basis using appropriate methods that include but are not limited to student course evaluations.
6. Ownership of such courses (faculty, university, shared) must comply with the stipulations of copyright described in APPM Section I, Item 6.
7. The instructional delivery mode (online, hybrid, face-to-face) must be indicated in the NIU course finder.
8. Such courses must adhere to the same academic calendar and related rules (drop/add, withdrawal, refund policies, etc.) as traditional courses. Fall and spring courses must occur within the established start and end dates for the term, and summer courses must fall exclusively between the last day of spring and first day of fall to maintain federal financial aid eligibility under term rules. Within term boundaries, courses may vary in duration. For modest exceptions to this scheduling policy, contact Financial Aid.
9. Proposals for such courses must include a rationale as to how the number of credit hours per course was determined, in compliance with credit hour policies articulated in APPM Section III, Item 2.
10. Current rules regarding the number of credit hours students can take in an academic term apply to these courses.
11. Persons receiving academic credit for such courses must be admitted to NIU or (for graduate students) be a student-at-large.
12. The identity of students participating in such courses must be verified by NIU to ensure that persons registered in the courses are the ones participating in them.
13. Professional development opportunities featuring best practices in designing, delivering, and maintaining quality online and hybrid courses must be made available by NIU to faculty on a regular basis.
14. Best practices in completing online and hybrid courses successfully must be made available to students by NIU on a regular basis.
15. Technical support staff must be available to faculty and students on a regular basis, and must actively work to prevent and quickly resolve technology-related problems from occurring.

Approved by University Council 12/04/2019. (Replaces APPM Section III, Items 22 and 23.)


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