Contact the director of the Office of Distance and Extended Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine the viability and demand of the course you are interested in teaching. Then, schedule your self-paced correspondence faculty orientation with the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. You will be given direction in preparing your course content for delivery in TRACS via self-paced correspondence study. Before developing a correspondence self-paced course, you must obtain the approval of your departmental chair and college dean.
The Office of Distance and Extended Learning offers strong support in the production of your online correspondence self-paced course. An instructional designer will assist you throughout the course development process.
Generally speaking, no. The course must be listed in the Texas State catalog. However, if a course is listed in the catalog but is rarely offered on campus, it is eligible for correspondence self-paced study, provided that the department and college approve.
Distance education is different from conventional classroom-based education in that it allows a student to complete courses and programs without attending scheduled group classes in a central location, such as a university campus. Correspondence students
can enroll in a course at any time since courses are not tied to a particular semester;
work from anywhere, such as their home or workplace; and
work at their own pace, on a schedule that suits their individual needs, but must complete the course within 9 months.
The correspondence self-paced course instructor (who likely teaches the same course in face-to-face format) has full responsibility for the course. Faculty members ensure that course content and materials reflect current standards within the discipline and that grading is consistent. Faculty members create learning opportunities through the following:
explicit instruction on goals of the course
a suggested schedule to follow in completing course activities
access to expertise in the content area
instruction organized into activities
guidance in completing activities and assignments
The Office of Distance and Extended Learning strongly encourages all correspondence faculty to offer online or traditional office hours. Instructors may schedule specific telephone office hours or specific times within a chat room when groups of students may go online to have questions answered. Instructors also respond through threaded discussions or individual E-mail, and they make general announcements through the course website. Contact information is available in the syllabus.
This will vary depending on the number of students enrolled for the course. The time needed will also depend on the structure of assignments; for instance, assignments involving essay questions will be more time-consuming, while objective questions can usually be graded rather quickly. You can get an idea of the popularity your course will have based on the interest students show in its on-campus counterpart. However, always plan to devote enough time to promote the success of your students.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which provides accreditation for Texas State, requires that all instructors, including correspondence faculty, have contact with students. The preferred methods of student-teacher interaction for correspondence self-paced courses are within the TRACS course site or via email.
Treat questions with the same respect and consideration you would give to questions from on-campus students. Answer questions students submit to you regarding course material and provide enough feedback on assignments and exams so that students are able to progress through the course material. If you find that a student needs excessive individual help, please direct him or her to SMARTHINKING, the online tutoring service available to Texas State correspondence students. For policy-related questions, direct students to the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.
No. The Office of Distance and Extended Learning tracks all assignments and student grades. We also track students' course completion rates and cannot keep a record of student progress unless assignments are submitted in TRACS, or through our office for hard-copy assignments.
We encourage study groups, but each student is responsible for her or his own work. We subscribe to the Texas State University Honor Code, and follow the same procedures in addressing dishonesty that apply on campus. If you suspect one of your correspondence students of academic dishonesty, contact the director of the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.
Faculty who develop and teach courses via correspondence must host the course within TRACS. Correspondence faculty also need to have a computer with an Internet connection and an active Texas State email account.
The procedure for changing a correspondence self-paced course grade is the same method you use to change a grade for a course on campus. Complete a change-of-grade card, which is available from your academic department. Obtain your chair and dean's signatures for the card, and then make a copy of the card. Send the copy to the Office of Distance and Extended Learning and the original to the Registrar. You may also send only the original to the Office of Distance and Extended Learning, and we will make a copy and submit the original to the registrar.
Payment for course development is initiated once the course content and the exams have been reviewed, an instructional designer with the Office of Distance and Extended Learning confirms the course is complete, and the course has obtained the required approvals from both the faculty member and the department chair.