This section describes the roles and responsibilities of primary decision-makers related to course-level issues.

3.1 |  3.2 |  3.3 |  3.4 |  3.5

3.1 The Course Council

3.1.1  Role

The Course Council is the decision-making body for an online course. Course Council decisions are to align with stated policies and standards.

3.1.2  Membership

Whenever possible, a Course Council consists of a course lead, an online course representative (OCR), and a curriculum designer. During development and redevelopment of an online course, the course lead works closely with a curriculum designer and, when possible, an OCR. A course support specialist working for the curriculum designer may also assist the Course Council.

3.1.3  Responsibilities

  1. Meets synchronously once per semester to review assessment and evaluation data and identify opportunities to improve the course.
  2. Meets more frequently during development or improvement projects and has load commensurate with the scope of the project.
  3. Communicates as needed throughout the semester to resolve course issues.
  4. Carefully consider BYU-Idaho’s three imperatives when making course decisions.
  5. Understand and follow established policies and procedures related to improving the course.

3.1.4  Working in a Course Council

Members of the Course Council hold stewardship over different aspects of the online course and approve changes as outlined in the Course Update Policy; however, any member may initiate any discussion about how to improve the course. All changes to a course are made visible to the entire council. Each member of the Course Council represents his or her area of responsibility in the decision-making process. Unanimity is sought wherever possible.

The Course Council structure allows all members to offer their unique skills, knowledge, and experience as they discuss issues in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Council members listen to each other’s ideas with open minds and discuss proposals respectfully and rigorously. While course leads chair the Course Council, curriculum designers serve as project managers during improvement projects and development.

If a Course Council is unable to reach consensus on an issue, the issue is remanded to a council that includes the online associate dean from the course  lead’s college, the course  lead’s Department Chair, and a representative from the Online Learning Council. If  resolution is not achieved, the issue is remanded to the Online Development Council and the online vice president.

3.1.5  Course Council Roles Overview

The diagram below illustrates the different aspects of an online course and relative areas of responsibility.

Diagram showing the roles of the three members of the course council

3.2 Course Leads

3.2.1  Role

Course leads are full-time faculty members who represent their department as they work within a Course Council to develop and continuously improve online courses.

Course leads have primary responsibility for  content, course outcomes, content pedagogy, and key assessments designed to measure course outcomes. Substantive changes made to these areas are approved by the course  lead in consultation with the rest of the Course Council (see  section 6.0). While course leads chair the Course Council, curriculum designers serve as project managers during improvement projects and development.

3.2.2  Responsibilities

  1. Ensure outcomes, content, and key assessments are current and in alignment with department objectives during both the development and  scaled phases of a course.
  2. Facilitate regular and productive Course Council meetings.
  3. Evaluate and improve the assessment strategy, including reliability, validity, integrity, and alignment with outcomes.
  4. Develop and/or facilitate content-specific professional development for online instructors as needed.
  5. Periodically evaluate the quality of content-related feedback provided by instructors to students against a published rubric.

3.2.3  Anticipated Time Commitment

The primary focus of full-time faculty is on teaching and advising on-campus students, service, and professional development (see faculty guide, section 2). Each course lead works closely with the department chair to determine the appropriate load for his or her work with an online course.

  • Development: Course leads should normally receive a three-credit load reduction during the development (or redevelopment) semester for an online course.
  • Scale: Once the course is developed, it is expected that course leads will be responsive, within reason, to the maintenance requirements of the course within the parameters of their primary responsibilities. Assigned load typically ranges from zero to one load hour per semester per scaled course.
  • Additional load: Additional load may be assigned periodically for improvement and redevelopment projects, assignment to multiple online courses, or atypical demands.

For more information about how  load is determined, see “Determining Course Lead Load” in section  2.4 “Department Chairs.”

3.2.4  Definitions

Content: Stand-alone materials to be used by students such as readings, videos, textbooks, etc. Content is separate from instructions and learning activities. Under this definition, content could be used in face-to-face, online, full-semester, block, hybrid, or competency courses without modification.

Content pedagogy: Course leads contribute their experience and expertise regarding which learning activities work well in the face-to-face environment, the sequencing of prerequisite knowledge, etc. In practice, curriculum designers, OCRs, and course leads work together to determine the best online learning activities.

Key assessment: While a course may include any number of assessments designed to measure course outcomes, between one and three key  assessments should be department-approved to report on outcome achievement.

3.3 Online Course Representatives

3.3.1  Role

Online course representatives (OCRs) are online instructors who teach the course they represent. They are selected from the pool of existing instructors. OCRs are selected by, and report through, the Online Instruction Department. Campus departments provide input on the selection of OCRs if desired.

The primary responsibility of OCRs is to represent the ideas, concerns, and needs of online instructors and students to the Course Council. OCRs offer critical perspective relative to student learning on both course design implications and the online teaching role. Substantive changes made to online pedagogy, online design, or online delivery are approved by the OCR in consultation with the rest of the Course Council (see  section 6.0).

3.3.2  Responsibilities

  1. Gather and represent the perspectives of instructors regarding how to improve all aspects of the online course (i.e., the effectiveness of learning activities, teaching strategies, course notes, current content, assessment strategies, clarity of instructions, grading processes, etc.).
  2. Represent the online instructor perspective in regular Course Council meetings.
  3. Review online assessment data to identify opportunities to improve student outcome performance.
  4. Communicate Course Council decisions to other instructors.
  5. In some cases, OCRs may assist in development or improvement projects. This occurs on a contracted basis after approval from Online Learning, the course  lead, and the department chair.
  6. Periodically evaluate the quality of content-related feedback provided by instructors to students against a published rubric.

3.3.3  Anticipated Time Commitment

The OCR assignment is intentionally limited to less than one hour per week. OCRs are expected to be responsive to the needs of the course within the constraints of their contracted load.

3.3.4  Term Limit

OCRs are limited to a nine-semester term limit when all of the following apply:

  • There are  at least two instructors teaching the course
  • The current OCR has been OCR for  nine semesters
  • There is a  satisfactory and qualified replacement available

When an OCR is in his or her  8th semester, the Course Council will receive an email notification stating that the term will be up the following semester.

If the Course Council feels that changing the OCR would be detrimental to the course at present, a petition may be made by either the course lead or designer. If the petition is approved by Online Instruction Management, the nine-semester term limit will be waived for up to three semesters.

3.4 Curriculum Designers

3.4.1  Role

Curriculum designers collaborate with Course Councils to design, develop, and improve online courses within established standards and budgeted time. They report through the director of Online Curriculum Development. They create effective, efficient, and appealing online learning activities and environments that enable and complement excellent online instruction.

Curriculum designers represent the Online Learning Council and participate as Course Council members on substantive issues related to their primary areas of responsibility: online design, online pedagogy, and online delivery. Substantive changes made to these areas are approved by the curriculum designer in consultation with the rest of the Course Council. (see  section 6.0)

3.4.2  Responsibilities

  1. Serve as project managers during course development and improvement processes.
  2. Ensure delivery, pedagogy, and course design decisions reflect BYU-Idaho’s best understanding of quality practices. Actively contribute to the ongoing development of that understanding.
  3. Contribute to the development of quality outcomes, content, and assessment.
  4. Design and determine effective online learning activities in consultation with the OCR and course lead.
  5. Ensure an efficient logistical experience for students and instructors through clear instructions, grading processes, assignment submissions processes, etc.
  6. Review online course assessment data to identify opportunities to improve student outcome performance.
  7. Manage development and improvement projects within the established development schedule.
  8. Connect the Course Council with  library, media, and other development resources.

3.4.3  Definitions

Online delivery: The curriculum designer represents the different applications, limitations, and implications of the minimum delivery requirements.

Online pedagogy and online design: The curriculum designer represents quality practices learned across the Online Learning and Curriculum Development organizations. In practice, curriculum designers, OCRs, and course leads work together to determine the best online learning activities.

Development projects: The creation or redevelopment of an online course, which is a four-phase process including prepare, development, review, and pilot.

Improvement Project: A pre-scheduled, targeted project that involves significant work from a curriculum designer and possibly other members of the Course Council.

3.5 Course Support Specialists

3.5.1  Role

Course support specialists are normally student employees on the Curriculum Development Team. An assigned course support specialist assists the Course Council in processing, verifying, and documenting course changes.

3.5.2  Responsibilities

  1. Make changes to courses as directed by the Course Council.
  2. Conduct quality control checks on changes made to the course, to help ensure courses are ready for section creation.
  3. Help document changes requested by the OCR, curriculum designer, or course lead in the course council agenda.
  4. Assist the Course Council to ensure a healthy Course Council process.
  5. Provide a student perspective in the Course Council.