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Committee on Online Learning (COOL)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is separate approval required for courses to be offered in DE delivery?

Title 5 Section 55206 Regulations require separate course approval for distance education delivery courses. If any portion of the instruction in a proposed or existing course or course section is designed to be provided through distance education in lieu of face-to-face interaction between instructor and student, the course shall be separately reviewed and approved according to the district’s adopted course approval procedures.

Why does each instructor have to submit his/her own proposal?

As required in the current faculty contract (page 10-4), the process calls for all faculty planning to:

  • teach for the first time a course or a section of a course in Online Learning format, or
  • change the approved delivery of a course they are currently teaching in Online Learning format

to present an Online Learning course delivery plan to the COOL Committee.

There are three primary reasons for this.

  1. Faculty have not always been aware of new technologies and successful applications by colleagues that might enhance their Online Learning delivery plan and contribute to greater student success and satisfaction.

  2. We have found that faculty who present delivery plans contribute to the overall knowledge base about Online Learning and, thus, to the quality of all online/hybrid offerings.

  3. To be a successful at online teaching, faculty should be experienced in the technology and medium of online delivery. Faculty should also be aware of the support services offered: Blackboard Faculty Support and Online Learning Student Support.

Where should I begin - Blackboard training or the Online Learning proposal process?

The answer depends on deadlines. Ideally, prior to attempting to teach online, you complete introductory Blackboard training, and gradually incorporate various uses of Blackboard into your on-campus courses for a few semesters.

What do the Statewide Regulations specify as far as the amount and types of faculty-student contact?

Title 5 Regulations specify that "All approved courses offered as distance education shall include regular effective contact between instructor and students, through group or individual meetings, orientation and review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, correspondence, voicemail, email, or other activities." (Section 55376) This language was adopted by the Board of Governors in July 1998, changing the focus from "in-person contact" to "regular effective contact" for credit transferable courses.

Three Key Issues: Content, Interaction, & Access

  • Content Delivery

    • How will the required information be successfully delivered via Online Learning modes?
    • What combinations of media (video, audio, CDs, websites, textbooks, manuals, etc.), instructional modes (lecture, discussion, laboratory, etc.), and assignments are involved in this course?
    • What is the approximate schedule of time allocated to each mode?
  • Interaction

    • How will communications between faculty and students, and between the students themselves, be enabled, encouraged, and managed?
    • How does the instructor define "regular effective contact" for this particular course?
    • What types of interaction will occur, with what frequency?
    • How will these types of interaction be evaluated for their effectiveness?
  • Access

  • How will students participate in the course?
  • What variety of learning options are made available for different students with different learning styles?
  • What technical, academic, and learning resources are required?
  • What about access for students with disabilities?

The College's Obligations:

    • Student support services
    • Faculty Development & Training for technology-mediated courses
    • Responsive Technical Support for faculty and students
    • Timely, systematic planning, preparation, budgeting, and implementation of training and technical support.
    • A commitment to quality. "The greatest strength of the community college lies in the quality of instruction."

What guidelines exist about Access for Students with Disabilities?

For the most updated resources on accessibility, please check our resources page.

The Curriculum Committee Review

"Curriculum committees must make a judgment as to the quality of the course based on a review of the appropriateness of the methods of presentation, assignments, evaluation of student performance, and instructional materials. Are these components adequate to achieve the stated objectives of the course?"

Opportunity vs. Obstacle Course: The curriculum review is intended to assist faculty interested in creating a course of the highest possible quality. There is not a single, "most effective" model for distance education that everyone must follow, but rather an entire continuum of delivery modes. How much the class will rely on technology, videos, on-campus meetings, or off-campus contact depends totally on the curriculum, the instructor, and the students. The questions to be discussed should be made available to all interested faculty and staff, and effective proposals should be shared as exemplars.

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