Online & Hybrid Course Designation Policies

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NEW: UW Tacoma Online & Hybrid Course Tracking (begins 2017 Q3)

The University of Washington Tacoma has three designations for technology-enhanced pedagogy. The two that create 40% or more reduced seat time must be taught by instructors that have done professional development in the online framework, and taken their course through QM peer review. Instructors that participate in the UW Tacoma iTech Fellows program become certified to do these peer reviews, as well as teach online and hybrid courses without further review. 


Campus Course  - Courses where up to  39% of scheduled in-person class time may be replaced with online learning tools and content.  (Synchronous online content counts as campus time.)

Hybrid Course  - Courses where between 40-99% of scheduled in-person class time is replaced with asynchronous online learning tools. Also, there must be at least one in-person class meeting.  In other words, synchronous online time cannot entirely substitute for in-person class time.

Distance Learning (Online) Course -  Courses where in-person interaction between students and professors is entirely replaced with online learning tools and content, that do not require a synchronous online presence of all students.

Rationale:  This policy takes into consideration the problems that the DL course designation pose for international students and veterans, by restricting the number of courses given that label to those with 100% online content.   It also creates a second designation, “Hybrid” (to be designated by a "B" in the Time Schedule), to indicate courses with substantial but not total, online content (40-99%).   This policy is also more precise than previous ones, and excludes flipped courses, service learning courses, field courses and study abroad courses from the DL or Hybrid categories.   The idea here is to reduce confusion amid the many types of courses that depart from the traditional classroom format, and clarify the nature of those in the “Distance Learning” and the proposed new “Hybrid” designations.  It is also intended to be very clear to students that DL – means all online, and H means something more than 40% online and some campus time. 

 Recommendations in Process

1)  That the Time Schedule have (as it does for online courses) a designation for Hybrid (B) courses, as defined above, and that all B courses include details of the student's time commitment on campus in the Time Schedule. (Currently requested UW data system change)

2)  That every instructor who teaches a Distance Learning or Hybrid course (as defined above) have the opportunity to go through the iTech Fellows initiative.  As a Fellow, an instructor may offer other DL or H courses without further review.   Thus, the review process is now shifted onto instructors, and away from courses. Instructors who have taught online previously will still need to complete iTech Fellows unless they have:  A)  already done so, or B) have previously passed a QM review. 

  • Instructors falling into group B will work with iTech Fellows and the Faculty Resource Center to go through QM review and be credentialed to teach a DL or Hybrid courses for each new course taught. 
  • Instructors falling into Groups A & B will continue to be qualified to teach DL/Hybrid courses and to peer review hybrid/online courses.                     

3)  That teaching of DL or Hybrid courses will be either voluntary on the part of the faculty or included in the written expectations or possibilities of the position at hiring.

4) That units will be responsible for overseeing the credential for assigning instructors of DL or Hybrid courses and not assign non-credentialed instructors to hybrid/online courses.   The Faculty Resource Center will continue to oversee the list of UW Tacoma qualified peer reviewers.

Background & Rationale of Changes in iTech Fellows & Review Process

Over the past five years, UW Tacoma has utilized the standardized assessment tool called Quality Matters (QM) for review of it’s DL courses.  (DL courses were considered those with more than 50% of campus time replaced with online content).  The Faculty Resource Center also created and implemented an optional training called “iTech Fellows” for people wanting to learn about best practices.  The new policy being recommended above shifts the focus of a review to instructors, monitored by the academic programs, and away from courses.  This ensures that in the future, no DL or Hybrid course will be taught by an untrained instructor. 

The Fellows workshop and course development comes with a $1,000 stipend. The first half is paid by the Faculty Resource Center on completion of the workshop; the second half paid by the instructors's academic program on successful completion of peer review. Any director/dean who feels that their $500 share of the stipend would be a burden can request special funding from the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. 

More information on the process to achieve DL/Online/Hybrid designation for your course is available at the Faculty Resource Center.