Frequently asked questions
What is an online course?
An online course is a regularly scheduled course where the Internet is sometimes utilized for lectures, homework, labs, and tests. There are two formats of online courses, fully online (asynchronous) and partly online (hybrid).
What types of online courses exist?
- Web Enhanced: In a Web enhanced course, nothing changes regarding how you meet with your students. You simply provide an alternative means to viewing course materials or taking quizzes, etc., through a Web environment like Blackboard.
- Partly Online (Hybrid):In a partly online (hybrid) course, the class meets with the instructor (face-to-face) 30%-70% of the time, in a regular classroom or lab. The other 30%-70% of the time students learn online. Depending on the instructor’s requirements, students may be required to attend an orientation meeting, and/or take tests on-campus.
- Fully Online (Asynchronous):In a fully online (asynchronous) course, the class is taught 90%-100% online. Depending on the instructor’s requirements, students may be required to attend an orientation meeting, and/or take tests on-campus.
What are QCC’s guidelines regarding online courses?
For Web Enhanced courses, simply visit the Web Services Requests page and fill out the application. If you have any questions, please Email the College Webmaster (Webmaster@qcc.cuny.edu).
24-hours after the Office of the Registrar makes courses available to students to register, a course shell is created within Blackboard for every course offered at Queensborough. A faculty member interested in using Blackboard needs to log-in to the CUNY Portal and go to Blackboard. From there they will see a listing of their courses to which they can enter and add content. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to make the course available to students within Blackboard. Student enrollment is a continuing process starting the day the course shell is created and continuing throughout the semester.
For partly online (hybrid) or fully online (asynchronous) courses, you must list the online course in the registration booklet. To list an online course in the registration booklet and subsequently offer the course, please observe the following protocol each semester:
- The faculty member notifies his/her Chair of the desire to teach a course online, prior to the submission of the course schedule to the Registrar. Please include the course, section, and whether the course is to be partly online (hybrid) or fully online (asynchronous).
- If the Chair approves, then the Chair submits the entire course schedule to the Registrar and the online course schedule to the Director of the Academic Computing Center (firstname.lastname@example.org). The ACC Director is the campus coordinator for all online courses. Again, please include the course, section, and whether the course is to be partly online (hybrid) or fully online (asynchronous). The deadline for including materials in the registration book must be observed.
- The ACC staff will coordinate with the Registrar to have the course(s) properly listed (along with the faculty member’s Email address) in the registration book and on the QCC Web site.
- For fully online (asynchronous) courses, the faculty member contacts registered students and arranges for a pre-class orientation meeting. For partly online (hybrid) courses, the orientation should be held on-campus on the first day of class.
- Immediately after registering, students are required to Email their instructor for needed information. For fully online (asynchronous) courses, the faculty member should then contact registered students and arrange for a pre-class orientation meeting. For partly online (hybrid) courses, an orientation should be held on-campus on the first day of class.
Important Note: Online courses are new to both students and faculty, and they can differ greatly in how they are conducted. However, a common key to making this endeavor successful is to establish and maintain strong communication links. Please let the students know (from the outset) exactly what you are going to expect of them in your online course.
What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is an online Course Management System that allows an instructor to post written and visual course materials, topics for discussion, calendar events, assessments, and grades. Course material is generally available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Blackboard can be accessed at: https://cunyportal.cuny.edu/cpr/authenticate/portal_login.jsp
Must I use Blackboard to develop my online course?
Not necessarily, but it is the online Course Management System supported by CUNY.
What are the advantages of using Blackboard for my online course?
- It’s free (licensed and supported by CUNY).
- You and your students only need an Internet connection and a Browser program to access your course
- You and your students can access your course from any Internet connected computer, 24x7.
- There are Blackboard experts on campus.
- There are other teachers using Blackboard on campus.
- There are other experts and users throughout CUNY.
- It is relatively easy to learn.
- It is powerful and feature-rich (Web pages, quizzes, gradebook, etc.)
- You can choose to use as much or as little of the environment as you wish.
- You can include multimedia (images, animation, audio, video) in your course materials.
- There are many publishers developing “course cartridges” for the Blackboard environment.
- You can use just about any product to build your Blackboard Web pages, including: Microsoft Word, FrontPage & PowerPoint; Macromedia Dreamweaver, etc.
What are the disadvantages of using Blackboard for my online course?
- It takes some time to learn the environment (take a workshop! -or- view training videos).
- Developing rich course materials can be time consuming (but it only needs to be done once!).
- Web pages within the Blackboard environment cannot be accessed directly (or indexed by search engines) from outside the Blackboard environment. Viewers must login first. For example, suppose you had a scholarly work that you wanted others to view on the Web. It would not be possible if you placed the work within your Blackboard course. (The solution to this is simple: place your scholarly work on a Web server outside the Blackboard environment, and then point to it from within Blackboard. This way, your students will also have access within the context of your course.)
There really are no great disadvantages to using Blackboard.
How do I get started developing an online course?
There are a number of possibilities:
- Participate in a Blackboard or other workshop
- Make an appointment with the ACC for individual help (call 718-631-6624).
- Adopt a textbook that has an accompanying “Blackboard course cartridge”
Can Adjuncts develop online courses?
Yes, provided that they follow all of the “QCC guidelines” pertaining to teaching online courses. Also see “How do I get started developing an online course.”
Can I get help developing my online course?
Yes, help is available in the Academic Computing Center. Please call 718-631-6624 to make an appointment.
Are there copyright issues with materials that I put in my online course?
It is expected that you will not violate any copyright laws when placing materials into your Blackboard course Web site. Please obtain any needed permissions before posting copyrighted materials.
Can I post multimedia materials (i.e. videos, audios, etc) to my Blackboard course?
Due to CUNY's restrictions and Blackboard's spatial limitation on the CUNY system, any and all multimedia content you wish to post to Blackboard be posted on the Queensborough Media Server. This server is accessible via assistance from the Academic Computing Center. All video files (WMV, M4V, ASF, etc), audio files (MP3, M4A, WMA, etc), and other resource intensive files (PDFs of a large size) are to be posted on the Media server. Posting of resource intensive files will cause a disruption in the Blackboard system and can lead to the loss of data within the system. All faculty who have questions about multimedia and their course are encouraged to contact the Academic Computing Center to discuss options and methodologies in using multimedia content.
What resources are available to help me develop and teach online courses?
- The Academic Computing Center (ACC) – workshops & individual help- you can also book time in the ACC's Multimedia Center.
- Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL)
- CUNY projects and initiatives
- Publisher’s course cartridge
- Workshops at other CUNY campuses
Is a pre-class orientation necessary for online courses?
For Fully Online (Asynchronous) courses, a pre-class orientation is strongly recommended. Students need to know exactly what they will be asked to do during your course. Depending on their experience and your requirements, they may need to practice sending Email, attaching files to Email, posting messages in a discussion list, using a chat room, using a digital drop-box, accessing their test scores, or simply surfing the Web, gathering information, or citing resources.
For Partly Online (Hybrid) courses, an orientation can be done during the first classroom session(s).
Who provides online course orientations?
The course’s instructor provides online course orientations. The Academic Computing Center can assist in the design and/or delivery of the orientation if the instructor wishes. You may also schedule time in the Academic Computing Center to conduct your orientation (please call 718-631-6624).
Should I give on-campus quizzes and exams?
It is up to you. Some instructors give on-campus tests, even in a Fully Online (Asynchronous) course. Other instructors give all tests online.
What courses are currently being taught online?
Please see the online course offerings at: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/qccOnline/classes.html
What is my responsibility as the instructor of an online course?
Certainly this will vary from course to course, but common factors include:
- Robust online communication with students (tip: use Blackboard’s “Announcement”, “Discussion List”, “Chat Room”, etc.);
- Letting students know exactly what you expect of them (tip: post a detailed syllabus and grading policy);
- Making deadlines clear (tip: use Blackboard’s “Calendar” and “Announcement” features);
- Posting grades swiftly (tip: you can use Blackboard’s Grade Book to post both online and on-campus test scores);
Can a student Audit an Online Course?
Yes, by following the usual rules for auditing courses at QCC. Please be aware that:
- They must register and pay for the course they are auditing
- Students must request an audit grade within the first three weeks of the semester from the instructor.
- They may not retake a course to gain credit once they have audited that course.
Who do I contact if I have a problem with my Email account?
Please contact the Office of Information Technology for assistance with Faculty email at 718-631-6273 or go to their office, Administration 3rd floor, Room 303