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Frequently Asked Questions

Developing Correspondence Courses

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Instructing Correspondence Courses

  • 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.

    Read the excellent article, “10 Things I've Learned About Teaching Online.”

  • 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.

  • No.

  • 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.

  • You are required to teach a course you author for at least two years from the date the Office of Distance and Extended Learning opens the course.

  • If your course is still viable, we ask that you help us locate a replacement faculty member to assume grading for the course.

  • 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.

  • No; however, you are compensated for each student who enrolls in and completes the course.

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