College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

University of Maryland

Guidelines for Offering Online Undergraduate Courses in Fall/Spring Semesters

November 17, 2014

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences offers a variety of undergraduate course formats that include traditional lecture, seminar, blended, and online. Each semester, faculty and students are experimenting with new teaching and learning pedagogies and technology-rich tools that are creating an exciting array of new opportunities for student-faculty engagement and student learning.

As we carefully expand the platforms and formats for course offerings in order to enhance teaching and learning and meet student demand, the following guidelines for offering BSOS undergraduate online courses will be implemented, beginning summer 2015. These guidelines will continue to evolve as our students’ needs and educational tools change.

The purpose of these guidelines is not to encourage departments or programs to move toward or away from online courses but rather to guide those units and faculty who are currently offering or exploring online courses.

Offering Online Undergraduate Major/Minor Required Courses

If a BSOS department or program wishes to offer a required course (for a major or minor) in an online format (fewer than one synchronous, face-to-face meeting per week), then the following conditions must be met:

(1) An online course required for a BSOS major or minor must be approved by the Department Undergraduate or Department PCC Committee and by the BSOS Associate Dean, prior to being scheduled. Data demonstrating that student learning outcomes are the same or greater in the online course format will be required. This means that a summer or winter offering of a new online version of a course will be needed prior to the first fall or spring offering.

(2) If an online course that is required for a BSOS major or minor is offered in the fall/spring semester, then a traditional or blended section must also be available in the same semester so that full-time, on-campus students have a choice regarding whether to enroll in an online section or a section that includes at least one face-to-face meeting per week.  The departmental learning outcomes assessment plan should incorporate and report on student learning outcomes across the different course formats.