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Faculty Resources for Distance Education

Best Practices Checklist Self-Study

The Best Practices Checklist is a self-study based on the Principles of Good Practice for Academic Degree and Certificate Programs and Credit Courses Offered Electronically, as well as on established quality measures for electronically delivered courses affirmed by the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan-C), Quality Matters, THECB, and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Best Practices Checklist is required for all electronic and online courses and serves as an agreement between the university and instructors that the highest quality electronic or online instructional materials are delivered to students.

In addition to being a required evaluation and assessment instrument, the checklist can be a useful tool for faculty in the development online courses. A checklist must be completed for every distance learning course by each faculty member who teaches the course.

Faculty Pre-Assessment

Before developing your online or hybrid course, take advantage of a pre-assessment for online instructors. Penn State’s online self-assessment helps instructors assess their readiness to teach online.

Online and Hybrid Course Development

For high-level summaries of the tasks involved in creating and teaching an online or hybrid course, visit the following pages:

Copyright Policies

Texas State Policy

Government Policies

Additional Sources for Copyright Information

The Alkek Library's Copyright Research Guide provides a wealth of information and further resources on copyright, fair use, public domain, and faculty usage of documents, images, and media.

The University of Texas has information on Fair Use for Educational Media.

Columbia University provides information for Fair Use in Education and Research.

"Defining Fair Use," a 2012 article from Inside Higher Ed, provides some principles and best practices for making copyrighted materials as free as possible while avoiding lawsuits.

Working with Publisher Content

Publisher content presents distance education faculty with a variety of media-rich choices. In choosing which content to incorporate into courses, instructors can employ effective practices to further ensure the success of their students. Refer to the Best Practices for Working with Publisher Content for effective measures in managing publisher content and increasing student satisfaction with your course.

Improving Pedagogy

The Office of Distance and Extended Learning (ODEL) is dedicated to assisting faculty in developing quality online courses. ODEL offers faculty the assistance of an instructional designer. The instructional designer can assist in designing, developing and teaching effective online and hybrid courses; evaluate a current online course, and apply research-based practices to online courses. Additionally, ODEL offers a number of workshops and training opportunities to help faculty improve pedagogy for online courses. The Foundations and Advanced workshops satisfy the required training mandated by PPS 4.05.

Additional Resources

Magna Publications

Magna Publications is dedicated to producing newsletters, journals and seminars that provide advice and insight for instructors who are passionate about teaching and want to improve their pedagogy. 

Quality Matters

Quality Matters is an international organization dedicated to creating quality in online and hybrid education. The organization has a “faculty centered peer review process” to certify programs that exhibit excellence in online and hybrid education. Texas State is a subscribing institution to QM; thus, faculty can use the QM Rubric and participate in QM trainings for faculty teaching online. If you are interested in training with QM, contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. Several QM workshops will satisfy the required training mandated by PPS 4.05.

Online Learning Consortium

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC--formerly Sloan-C) is "the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning worldwide.” OLC "offers an extensive set of resources for professional development and institutional advancement of online learning, including original research, leading-edge instruction, best-practice publications, community-driven conferences, and expert guidance." Texas State is an institutional member of OLC, so our faculty receive discounts for faculty workshops, training, and conferences. Several of the faculty development workshops from OLC satisfy the required training mandated by PPS 4.05.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical guide to achieving higher order thinking. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides active verbs for online faculty to use when asking questions to target some of these higher order thinking skills.

Online Education Communities

Instructors interested in online learning are invited to subscribe to Texas State’s Teaching Online listserv. Subscribers will receive periodic emails from others on the list and may also send emails to the list.


IdeaBook is a repository of ideas for creative instruction. Our instructional designers and course developers use innovative technology tools or teaching strategies to engage students. When they do, we recognize them and ask them to summarize their idea here. Their collected ideas can be an inspiration for assignments, activities, or discussions.

Center for Online Teaching Excellence

The Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE) is a community where online educators from across the world can connect and share ideas in order to create excellence in online education.

Technology Resources for Faculty

In addition to assistance with Canvas course development, Texas State Department of Information Technology (DOIT) provides the following information pages on technology resources available to Texas State faculty:

Resources for Students

  • Student Learning Assistance Center: The Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC) has in-person tutoring for math, science, business, writing, geography, political science, history, and Spanish. No appointment is necessary. Check the SLAC website for specific hours of operation and for tutoring times per subject. SLAC also has various online resources, including an online writing lab with a 48-hour turnover rate and citation guides. Additionally, SLAC provides private tutors for students in nearly all subject areas.

  • University Writing Center: The Texas State University Writing Center has appointment-only in-person tutoring at both the San Marcos and Round Rock Campus, as well as online writing tutoring. The Writing Center also offers veteran-to-veteran tutoring, in which a military service member tutors other military service members.

  • Texas State Math Lab: The Texas State Math Lab offers in-person tutoring for a wide variety of math courses.

  • Texas State Modern Languages Department: The Texas State Modern Languages Department offers in-person tutoring for a variety of languages. Contact the Modern Languages lab for specific times.

  • IT Assistance Center: Students may contact the IT Assistance Center (ITAC) for technical assistance.

  • Alkek Distance Librarians: Alkek distance librarians provide assistance specifically for distance students.

  • Texas State Office of Disability Services: The Texas State Office of Disability Services provides students with disabilities the necessary resources to assist them in being successful in their education.

  • Texas State University Honor Code: The Texas State University Honor Code provides policies and procedures related to academic honesty.

  • Purdue OWL: The Purdue OWL is an online source for all things writing.