Online Learning @ Nazareth

Online learning at Nazareth should offer the same personalized, supportive, and rigorous educational experience which can be found in any physical classroom on the Nazareth campus.

Faculty have multiple opportunities to learn about excellence in online and hybrid course design with the Teaching & Learning Technologies instructional design team. Our office follows a consultative instructional design model in addition to offering courses and workshops for faculty as they design courses and programs for alternative delivery.

Online Learning Resources

Alternative Course Delivery Guidance

The most important pieces of information faculty should consider when preparing to teach online or hybrid courses is knowing the expectations for online and hybrid delivery at Nazareth. Review our guide to course formats at Nazareth to ensure that the delivery mode matches The University's description.

Then, faculty should: 

  1. Make a plan for the course, following backwards design
  2. Engage students consistently through synchronous & asynchronous course components
  3. Assess student learning frequently

Here are some basic course design resources that support excellence in online instruction at Naz: 


Guidance for Developing Online Courses

Faculty who wish to develop a new online course or to convert a course to online delivery at Nazareth must meet the following criteria to ensure excellence in online course design.

Requirements for faculty who want to develop a new online course at Nazareth University: 

  1. Course delivery must be approved by the appropriate Dean in consultation with the academic department chair and/or program director via submission form.
  2. The Teaching & Learning Technologies (TLT) design team will meet with the faculty developing the online course to create a course design schedule as well as meet to review the course together using the OSCQR rubric prior to delivery.
  3. Faculty will complete* one virtual course, The Essentials of Online Learning @ Naz, facilitated by TLT which guides the development of online courses following best practice in online learning at Nazareth. Deans and Chairs/Program Directors will be notified of faculty completion.
  4. Faculty agree to a re-evaluation of the course design using the OSCQR Rubric 5 years after the first delivery. 

*Faculty who have completed the Teaching & Learning Technologies online course development course(s) within the past 5 years are exempt from this step in the course development process.


Guidance for Teaching a Previously Developed Online or Hybrid Course

Requirements for faculty to teach a previously created online or hybrid course for the first time at Nazareth include:  

  1. The academic department Chair/Program Director will notify the TLT design team.
  2. The faculty member will meet with a member of the TLT design team.
  3. The faculty member may be required to complete one virtual mini-course facilitated by TLT which guides the development of online/hybrid courses following best practices in online learning at Nazareth.

Distance Learning Policies

NEW Regular & Substantive Interaction Federal Policy

The Federal Distance Education and Innovation Policy was recently revised. A key change to the policy more clearly defines regular and substantive interaction (RSI) in online courses in order to differentiate online delivery from correspondence courses. This distinction can impact the availability of financial aid for students taking online courses. 

What is regular & substantive interaction in an online environment? 

Substantive interaction is defined as engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion. 

Regular interaction is defined as instructor-initiated contact with students that is consistent, scheduled, and predictable.  

What does this mean for my online course? 

The policy further explains that RSI should be present in all online courses in the following ways:

1. There must be at least two forms of substantive interaction including but not limited to: 

  • Providing direct instruction
  • Assessing or providing feedback on a student’s coursework
  • Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course
  • Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency
  • Other instructional activities approved by the institution’s or program’s accrediting agency

2. An institution ensures regular interaction between a student and an instructor or instructors before completion of the course by: 

  • Providing the opportunity for substantive interactions with the student on a predictable and regular basis commensurate with the length of time and the amount of content in the course 
  • Monitoring the student’s academic engagement and success and ensuring that an instructor is responsible for promptly and proactively engaging in substantive interaction with the student when needed, on the basis of such monitoring, or upon request by the student

Of course, including regular and substantive interaction in online courses is more than a federal requirement. It is also a hallmark of effective teaching. Research shows that teacher presence is critical to student success in online courses. (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000)

Nazareth adopted the OSCQR Online Course Rubric (v 4.0), and our online and hybrid course design checklists already include RSI components to support successful course design and delivery. We strongly encourage any faculty member teaching online or hybrid courses to reach out to the Teaching & Learning Technologies office for course design guidance.

Attendance & Contact Hours

Students are expected to attend all scheduled meetings of courses for which they are registered beginning with the first day of the semester or class. Departments or individual faculty may set attendance requirements for their courses. Attendance expectations apply regardless of course delivery (online, hybrid, or face-to-face).

According to the New York State Education Department, credits refer to the number of semester hours applicable toward the total required for graduation. Expectations for contact time are met through online interactions with the instructor and engagement in structured online activities with other students (e.g., discussions, assignments, group projects). Online courses must meet the total instructional and student work time required as onsite course equivalents.

For more information, see our Attendance and Credits and Hours information pages.

Authentication of Student Identity

Ensuring the identity of students who complete courses online at Nazareth is a requirement of our accrediting bodies and the Higher Education Opportunity Act. We must prove that the student participating in an online course is indeed the student who we have on record as earning credit for the course. 

Our current policy is to authenticate student identity through the use of an individual, secure login and password issued for each student by Nazareth. MyNaz account users must abide by the Information Technology Services Computing Code of Conduct. A MyNaz account is required to access online coursework through our learning management system. 

Respondus Monitor was implemented in 2019 as one method for re-verifying student identification when an online test is conducted. As tools become more sophisticated, Nazareth will expand our abilities to verify student identity. 

Netiquette & Online Conduct

Interactions in online courses can be easily misinterpreted due to the lack of visual and auditory cues. Students and faculty can benefit from having clear expectations for conduct outlined at the start of each online course. Traditionally, netiquette guidelines usually cover these expectations for behavior. 

Faculty can use the Core Rules of Netiquette developed by Virginia Shea (2004) or develop their own guidelines.

State Authorization & Reciprocity

Nazareth University is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). When students participate in distance learning, it is Nazareth policy that the address submitted on their application/program approval form will be presumed to be the same as the location of the student when completing online coursework. For more information, please visit our Student Right to Know site. 

Nazareth University holds membership in the New American Colleges & Universities consortium. Undergraduate students are eligible to complete selected online courses as part of this partnership. Visit the NAC&U section of the Nazareth website for a list of partner schools and more information about the cross-registration agreement.

Test Proctoring for Online Courses

Onsite test proctoring is not available for students unless they have an approved academic accommodation on file with our Student Accessibility Services office. An alternative for online test proctoring is the Respondus Monitor academic integrity solution. 

By using Respondus Monitor, a faculty member can require students to show their student ID and record their online test session via webcam. This allows the student to complete their test online from home, and provides the instructor flexibility to review the recording to ensure the student followed testing directions.  If you are interested in hearing more about Respondus Monitor, contact the Teaching and Learning Technologies team or visit our support site.

Use of Nazareth Approved Learning Management System

Nazareth University requires the use of our designated learning management system (Moodle) for the delivery of all online and hybrid courses. Using one system offers learners a clear structure, IT support, and consistency in their online experience. Please see the Faculty Senate approved course delivery formats document for detailed information about course types.

Course Delivery Guidance

Nazareth's alternative course delivery guidance is also located on the the Academic Information for Faculty page under the Academic Policies menu. 

Online Course Request Form

Are you interested in developing or converting a course to online delivery? 

Department Chairs must submit the online request form to obtain Dean approval and TLT support.  

TLT online course request form