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Distance Learning Courses

policy and support for faculty teaching distance learning courses


As Ohio Northern moves forward with developing distance learning programs that are intended for students who do not interact with the faculty member in a face-to-face meeting, it is important that the courses offered reflect the excellence and rigor of all of ONU’s other instructional modes and schedule types.

To support these outcomes of rigor and excellence, faculty must have a working knowledge and understanding of how to create a quality online course. The ONU Educational Technology staff provides a series of professional development activities designed to prepare faculty to effectively teach online. ONU also must verify student identities in an online course and take reasonable steps to protect student privacy. To meet these federal guidelines, ONU’s Moodle portal is required for all courses operating with a schedule type of “distance learning”. Thus, prior to scheduling a course offering with a schedule type of “distance learning (DL)” in the registrar’s office, each faculty member teaching a distance learning course must complete the following trainings and evaluations:

  1. Complete ONU’s “Designing a Quality Online Course” seminar, offered by the Educational Technology staff.

  2. Complete ONU’s “Moodle Basics Trainings” seminar, offered by the Educational Technology staff.

  3. Submit the designed course for an internal course peer review. The course will be evaluated using the Quality Matters’ Course Review Management System (CRMS). The CRMS gathers reviewer feedback and recommendations and produces a final report of the review’s outcome. Faculty must submit the final report to the Office of Academic Affairs. An online course that has been offered at least twice may be submitted for an Official Quality Matters Review and Certification.

Upon completion of these three items, the Office of Academic Affairs will notify the registrar’s office that the course can be scheduled with a schedule type of “distance learning (DL)”. Summer course offerings should be posted by March in order to support advanced registration. Alternatively, faculty may demonstrate proficiency in these areas by submitting current teaching materials for internal peer review coordinated by ONU’s Educational Technology staff. 

The ONU seminar descriptions are:

Designing a Quality Online Course
This workshop series is intended to guide faculty through the process of creating an effective online course. Participants will gain a significant and lasting course design experience that will continue after the workshop is over, and applicable to any course format. By the end of the workshop series participants will have a course designed that meets the Quality Matters Standards. Participants also will receive a copy of Creating Significant Learning Experiences by L. Dee Fink (2013) and a copy of the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric Workbook (2014).

Topics will include: best practices in online learning and course design, writing measurable objectives, formulating assessment and feedback procedures and creating learning activities to assist students to meet course learning objectives. A certificate will be awarded by the Office of Academic Affairs upon completion.

Moodle Basic Training
This series of workshops will assist faculty in setting up their Moodle course and how to use the tools available in Moodle to enhance student learning. Topics include Getting Started, Adding Resources, Creating Assignments and Assessments, Using the Gradebook, Calendar and Communication Tools, Forums, Chats, and Course Management. A certificate will be awarded by the Office of Academic Affairs upon completion.



Ohio Northern University subscribes to Quality Matters (QM), a national organization that provides a benchmark for quality online course design through its Rubric, faculty-centered peer review process, and training workshops to encourage and support faculty development.

Under the terms of the ONU Quality Matters subscription, all faculty and staff may set up an account at Quality Matters at no cost. By setting up an account, you will have access to the fully annotated QM Rubric, the self-review tool, and other free resources, in addition to discounted prices on a wide range of training sessions (see instructions on How to Create a QM Account).

Besides the courses offered by the Educational Technology Staff, facuty may participte in QM offered workshops. Throughout the year QM offers a variety of fully online training workshops designed to support faculty professional development. ONU faculty and staff may sign up for a workshop through the QM website. The cost for each workshop ($150 - $200) will need to be funded by the individual or his/her department. It is recommended that you first register for the Applying the QM Rubric. Other courses to take include; Building Your Online Course, and Design that Welcomes Your Students.

See information on QM Workshops, Course Description and Registration

Internal peer Course Reviews

Prior to submitting your course for QM review, the Office of Information Technology will provide an internal peer-review at no cost. To request a review,  please e-mail your course information including the link to the Moodle course site to ONU Quality Matters Coordinator, Joseph Blankson, PhD, The internal peer review provides the opportunity to receive feedback on your course before it is submitted to Quality Matters. The review process may take between 4- 6 weeks. 

QM Peer Review Process

ONU may submit an online course for an Official QM-Managed Course Review. Please note that Quality Matters course reviews are designed for courses that have been offered at least twice and include all evaluated components (see Quality Matters Rubric).  After ensuring that your course is ready, send course information to ONU QM Coordination, Joseph Blankson, PhD at

Other informal opportunities to review your course prior to an official QM review include:

QM Self Review Tool:  You can use the self-review tool at no cost to gauge the design and structure of your own course by following these two steps.
1.  Set up your Quality Matters account at
2.  Watch the short video (5:37) for an overview of how to use the QM Self-Review Tool

Review the guidelines and steps for Preparing for a Quality Matters Course Review

For questions please e-mail the ONU QM Coordinator, Joseph Blankson, PhD,

Listen to a faculty member's experience with the Designing Quality Online Course workshop.