Distance Education Course Expectations

Contents: Mission StatementsOnline Leadership CommitteeForms of Distance EducationTraining RequirementsPrinciples of Learning through DEDE Course ExpectationsProctoring in DEAccessibility in DE CoursesReview & Revision Process for DE FacultyIntellectual Property Rights for DE

Course Orientation

A course orientation is a critical component of Distance Education courses that establishes the student’s path to success.


  • Each distance education course (online, hybrid, and synchronous) must include a course-specific orientation.


  • Contact enrolled students early to explain course access. Hearing from you will improve the number of students who complete the orientation correctly and quickly.
  • Be ready with a thorough and clear syllabus.
  • Make sure your contact information is complete and correct.
  • Make expectations clear for deadlines, response times, and participation.
  • Finding the orientation should be easy for the student. Providing directions to the orientation is a good option. Remind students that the orientation should be completed first.
  • Encourage students who are new to online courses to review the resources available on the Distance Education website.
  • Personalize the learning experience by getting to know students and letting them get to know you.
  • Get contact information from each student.
  • Reinforce that students are required to use Pellissippi email and/or Brightspace messaging for college communication.
  • Guide students through your course organization to help them learn to navigate your course.

Scheduling of Assignments

Distance education faculty have the flexibility of scheduling due dates and deadlines as appropriate.


  • Assignment deadlines must be clearly stated in the course.
  • All courses must adhere to the College-published start and ending dates of the semester. Courses may not end early.
  • No deadlines are permissible during holidays when the entire College is closed (ex: Labor Day or Thanksgiving break).
  • If proctored assignments have deadlines during an irregular College closure (ex: weather closure), the assignment deadline will be extended to accommodate students impacted.


  • All assignment due dates should be established and communicated at the start of the semester.
  • Faculty should have academic work assigned at least once a week.
  • Courses should be designed and facilitated in such a way that there is substantial and meaningful work that aligns with student learning outcomes throughout the entire semester.

Reporting Student Attendance

Class Attendance in Distance Education courses is determined by the active participation of the student through the completion of class activities, such as the submission of an assignment, completion of an exam, attendance in an online chat, or the posting to a discussion forum. Hybrid or Synchronous courses with scheduled meeting times before reporting is due may use student presence. The act of logging in to the course in the learning management system is not considered attendance.


  • Distance Education faculty must report student attendance as specified by the College.


  • Monitor student participation often and attempt to reengage any students as quickly as possible.
  • Utilize appropriate College resources to reengage students.

Faculty Role in the Course

Distance Education faculty are expected to interact with students to promote engagement and success in their courses.


  • Distance Education faculty are expected to log into their course at least 3 times per week (Online courses) or meet with students at the scheduled course times (Hybrid and Synchronous).
  • Distance Education faculty are expected to engage with the class in some meaningful way at least once per week (ideally more often).
  • Distance Education faculty are expected to respond to student messages within 48 hours. For periods of time during the semester when replies are expected to exceed 48 hours, faculty are to clearly communicate the time frame for response.
  • Distance Education faculty are expected to submit feedback (including grades) on all graded item within two weeks of the assignment due date.


  • Check in to your course every other day, including at least once on the weekend, replying to any student messages and dealing with course business.
  • If there are predictable times when you will not be available in the course, let students know so they are aware your responses might be delayed.
  • Let students know when you plan to grade assignments. 

distance education logo

Dr. Paul Ramp, Director



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