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CETL Faculty Pages

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Online Course FAQ

What training do I need to teach an online class?

Faculty teaching online classes should enroll in a Quality Matters training course before they teach online. Contact William Crowell at to identify and enroll in the right course for you. For more information about ECU’s policy on online course development visit If you are developing an ECUO course with a Wiley instructional designer, you don’t have to take QM training in addition to that process.

How can I get help designing my course or trying new tools?

Contact William Crowell at for assistance at any stage of instructional design, from building a course map to adding activities and trying new tools and features.

Also, CETL is hosting Ultra Fridays on Friday afternoons from 2pm until 4pm in the CETL Learning Lab (Admin 214A). Ultra Fridays is a drop-in office-hours style session where you can get one-on-one help from William and the rest of the CETL team on whatever problems you're having, be they with the Ultra transition, the current LMS, or just instruction design in general.

How do my students and I get technical help when my online class isn’t working properly?

Send a message to the Help Desk at Describe your problem as specifically as possible, including the course number, any error messages you see, and screen shots if available. Your request will be routed to the person who can help you.

How do I improve my course's accessibility?

Speak to William, or you can find a list to a quick accessibility checklist here.

Does my course need to be reviewed?

ECUO courses: Courses offered as part of a fully online degree program will be labelled ECUO in the course schedule. Those courses will be loaded from the Master Shell and reviewed for technical accuracy (functional links, accurate gradebook settings, etc.) by a member of the Wiley staff.

WEB courses: Other online courses will be labelled WEB in the course schedule. Those courses will be reviewed each semester by department chairs and deans to determine whether they are student ready. The checklist for this review includes course content and assessments loaded, dates for current semester updated, and content checked for accessibility. Deadlines for those reviews will be shared with chairs and deans at the beginning of the previous semester. Online Course Checklist form is available on Etrieve.

Web courses should also go through the Quality Matters review process. For more information about that process, visit or contact William Crowell at

When will my course open to students?

Most online courses open to students one week before classes begin.

How do I get my course content copied from a previous semester or a Master Shell?

If your course is labelled ECUO in the course schedule, it will be copied from a Master Shell by Wiley staff. Contact Dean Kate Lang at or Jesseca Johnson and the Wiley team at if you have questions or problems with ECUO courses. 

If your course is labelled WEB, contact Wendy McKibben at and ask her to copy your previous course or Master Shell (this includes copying QM-approved and Wiley shells).

Can I put multiple classes into one Blackboard shell?

In some cases, two classes can be combined. Because combining sections can cause complications when students drop and add classes, it is recommended that it only be used for fully online courses. Requests for combining sections must come through the department chair to Wendy McKibben in CETL and Elizabeth McDowell in Academic Affairs.

How many weeks are in a term? How do I handle holidays?

Many online courses are designed according to weekly learning modules. Each Fall and Spring semester includes a full 16-week term and two 8-week terms. Summer includes 8-week, 10-week, and 4-week terms. Holidays when the university is closed aren’t counted as part of those weeks. For example, in the Fall B term (the second eight weeks), the university is closed for two days for Fall Break and three days for Thanksgiving. That means there are nine calendar weeks, but only eight full weeks when classes are in session. Instructors should align their classes with the official Academic Calendar, allowing time off for published breaks, but instructors may choose to make activities available and allow students to work on online classes during breaks. Likewise, if the published end-of-term date falls on a Friday, instructors may choose whether to accept work submitted over the weekend, keeping in mind the deadline for grade entry. The final exam schedule doesn’t specify a time for online class exams, so instructors should decide what activities students will do that week and communicate it to students. Each course should have clear due dates for assignments so students can plan when to complete their work.

When should online assignments be due?

Many instructors choose to make weekly assignments due on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. This deadline can be convenient for students who work during the week and finish homework on the weekends. However, that is not the only option—the most important thing is to make sure that deadlines are clear and consistent so students can plan their schoolwork around their many other responsibilities and commitments.