FAQ for Deans and Administrators

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About Distance Education

What is the difference between online and hybrid courses?

In short, ONLINE courses meet completely online whereas HYBRID courses have one or more class meetings on campus (such as a lab, orientation or proctored test). For a more complete definition of these courses, please refer to the Types of Distance Education Courses page.

How are distance education courses taught?

All distance education courses at PCC must be taught using CANVAS, the College’s Learning Management System. This is to ensure that there is consistency, reliability and dependability in the delivery of online and hybrid courses. In addition, the CANVAS system has tools that help to protect student privacy, ensure authentication status and aid instructors in creating courses that are accessible to all students.

For accreditation purposes, the College also needs to have documentation that instructors have REGULAR EFFECTIVE CONTACT with their students, that is, that instructors have kept in contact with their students on a regular and timely basis. Regular effective contact is a state requirement to make certain that online and hybrid courses deliver the same quality of instruction as their face-to-face counterparts. While faculty members are encouraged to explore other interactive media and social networking, the starting point for this must originate through the CANVAS system.

For these reasons, a faculty member cannot be assigned to teach or deliver a distance education course that does not use the CANVAS system.

How should I assign faculty to teach distance education classes?

Both full-time and adjunct faculty can teach distance education courses. However, before assigning faculty to a class, you must to verify that each faculty member has completed the required training for online and hybrid instructors and have been cleared to teach by the Distance Education department.

Our department has a course that is face-to-face, but we want to schedule it to be fully online for the next semester, can we do that?

A course that has a current Form D on file (5 years or less for credit/non-credit and 2 years or less for CTE) may be scheduled to be taught in the modality listed on the Form D (hybrid or online) upon review by the Distance Education Department. If a course does not have a current Form D, then according to Title 5 state regulations, (Section 55206), it cannot be taught until a Form D is filed and approved by C&I during the next C&I cycle.

A reminder that best practices and standards in online instruction are different from face-to-face courses and that developing an online class takes about 300 hours. We highly recommend that if you are considering changing a current f2f course to be online/hybrid, you contact us first so that we can make certain that the course meets Federal, state and WASC quality standards, is accessible and uses best practices for online instruction.

Faculty Training

Does my faculty need any training to teach distance education courses?

According to the PCC Policy on Distance Education, all faculty members must have some training and/or experience in the online teaching environment prior to teaching distance education courses.

If a faculty member is new to distance education, they will need to complete four 4-week courses in order to be cleared to teach. This process takes about 2 full semesters. They should check out the New Online and Hybrid Faculty Training page for more information.

If a faculty member has been teaching distance education courses at PCC within the past 5 years, they should check out the Existing Online and Hybrid Instructor Training page, which gives detailed information about which courses or workshops they can take to update their skills and also stay current in new developments in online learning.

If a faculty member is new to PCC but has taught distance education courses at another institution before, they should check out the Faculty Waiver for Previous Teaching page, which gives detailed information about the courses or workshops they would need to take in order to understand distance education policies at PCC.

If a faculty member is new to distance education, they will need to complete four 4-week courses in order to be cleared to teach. They should check out the Faculty Training Waiver for Previous Coursework page to see what the requirements are to teach at PCC.

Course Development & Materials

How do my faculty go about developing a distance education course?

The process to develop an online or hybrid course can take up to a year, and depends on several different factors, such as:

    • If it is an existing course.
    • How much experience and training your faculty have in online instruction
    • If a supplemental Form D is already on file for the course.

It is important to understand the distance education course development timeline and the amount of time it can take to become trained to teach online, develop, and submit a course (about 300 hours per course). For more detailed information, check out the Course Development & Materials section of the Distance Education Faculty Handbook.

What is Form D?

Form D is a supplemental form that undergoes the C&I approval process. It gives more information about how the course will be taught and assessed in the online environment; is required by California state Title 5 regulations (Section 55206 for Separate Course Approval); and shows that courses meet quality standards for best practices in distance education, regular effective contact and accessibility.

Credit/Non-Credit courses need to file or update Form D every 5 years. CTE courses need to file or update Form D every 2 years.

For more information about filing Form D, check out the Form D section of the Distance Education Faculty Handbook.

What are e-Packs and should my faculty use them?

e-Packs, also known as Course Cartridges are electronic publisher courses that can be used in online and hybrid classes. While e-Packs might seem like a simple solution to online course development and do provide a lot of engaging and rich content, they can pose legal, financial, accessibility, privacy, pedagogical and technical problems that might outweigh their benefits.For more detailed information about these issues, check out the e-Packs section of the Distance Education Faculty Handbook.

Before considering an e-Pack, contact the Distance Education Department to make certain it complies with legal, privacy and accessibility requirements.

What are Open Educational Resources and should I encourage my faculty to use them?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are basically free or low-cost resources that have been openly licensed (or licensed under Creative Commons, meaning often instructors can use or modify materials as long as you attribute the author). There is a wide range of courses (called Courseware), eTextbooks, eBooks and multimedia content available.

OER are great resources to use in the online classroom! With the rising costs of educational materials they are an affordable alternative for many students. To find out more about OER, check out the OER section of the Distance Education Faculty Handbook.

Course Login & Access

How do my faculty and their students log in to their distance education courses?

In order to log in to CANVAS, all faculty and students must have a PCC Network/LancerPoint ID and a password. They can use this to log in directly onto the CANVAS system, https://canvas.pasadena.edu/.

What if faculty members can’t log in to their CANVAS course?

Any faculty who has been officially assigned a course in the Schedule of Classes can log in to the CANVAS course they are teaching. Sometimes in the Schedule of Classes there is no specific faculty member assigned to the course. Once a faculty member has been officially assigned to a course and listed as the Instructor of Record, the course will show up on their CANVAS Course List.

If they are still having problems, please have them contact us for assistance.

What if students can’t log in to their CANVAS courses?

If students don’t see their CANVAS course listed on the CANVAS system, it can mean either that the instructor has not made the course available yet or that the student is not yet officially enrolled in the course. If it is a student who has just added the course, their instructor can remind them that it can take up to 24 hours to see their course listed on the CANVAS Course List.

When can faculty access their CANVAS courses?

CANVAS courses are loaded and available to faculty about a month before the first day the course begins.

Can TAs have access to distance education courses?

Courses in CANVAS can have a College/Student Assistant as a TA. In order to do so and to comply with FERPA privacy considerations, faculty members must submit a written request to the Distance Education Department. The TA must be employed by PCC and have paperwork on file with HR. They will only be given the role of TA in the system and not Instructor.

If the course Instructor of Record wishes to add an additional faculty member to their course, the visiting faculty member can be granted an Auditor role.

Policies & Procedures

What is the Add/Drop policy for distance education courses?

The Add/Drop Policies for distance education courses follow the same guidelines as face-to-face courses.

Faculty will need to take into account a few key considerations that are unique to the distance education environment, however.

Drop Policy:

Faculty teaching online courses must create a course Check-In Assignment equivalent to ‘the first day of class’ in the f2f environment. This must be described in the course Welcome Letter and course syllabus. Any student who does not check-in to their CANVAS course will be dropped from the course. (This date is usually 2 days after the course has begun and is noted in the footnotes in the Schedule of Classes.)

Faculty teaching hybrid courses with an on-campus orientation, must drop students that do not attend unless prior arrangements have been made.

Students who do not actively participate in online and hybrid courses must be dropped. New Federal guidelines to prevent financial aid fraud state that student logins no longer count as participation.

Please see the Participation section in the Distance Education Faculty Handbook for more detailed information about what constitutes participation in distance education courses.

Add Policy:

On the first day of class, instructors will receive add codes with their course rosters and can then directly contact students and provide them with add codes.

Students must add the course within 24 hours.

It is important to remember that students must be added in the order they appear on the waitlist.

For more detailed information about add/drop policies, please refer to the Add/Drop section of the Distance Education Faculty Handbook.

What are the policies on faculty course load, office hours, and class cap sizes?

The PCC Academic Senate Distance Education Committee and Task Force has developed recommendations for policies related to faculty working conditions. These recommendations have been approved by the Academic Senate Committee, and the formal policy can be found in the PCC Distance Education Policies and Procedures Recommendations. Once the final proposal is passed by the Faculty Association, the items will be published in the faculty contract.

To get an idea of the pending policies, please refer to the PCC Faculty Policies section of the Distance Education Handbook.

How should faculty be evaluated in distance education courses?

The Distance Education Department is currently working on putting the course evaluation process for distance education faculty fully online. This will be done through Enrollment Management using Scantron Online. Administrative and peer evaluations can also be done on this system. Once this process is in place, training will be available for peer and administrative evaluators of online courses.

What are Distance Education Student Surveys?

Distance Education Student Surveys are different from faculty evaluations. The data from these surveys will be used to assess course compliance with Title 5 and WASC regulations and will not be linked to faculty course evaluations.

Faculty Support

What kind of support is there for faculty members to teach distance education courses?

The Distance Education Department is committed to providing faculty with the support they need to develop and teach their courses. We provide technical support, orientations, and workshops for professional development, and are happy to consult with them on an as-needed basis. In addition to our e-blasts, they can out our Announcements page for current updates, the Training Calendar for upcoming workshops/@One courses and the Learn CANVAS page for CANVAS training.

We’ve also created the PCC Distance Education Faculty Handbook which has a lot of information and many resources about developing and teaching online/hybrid courses.

Last Updated on: August 14, 2014 @ 1:28 pm