Institutional expectations for online learning

Any school, district or program that offers an online course must certify that their institution is in compliance with UC's online learning guidelines and policy. This certification is part of the course submission process when an online course is added to an “a-g” course list for the first time and must be completed in subsequent years as part of the demographic information submission required for each annual "a-g" course submission period. It is important that an appropriate representative from the school, district or program complete this certification.

The University's requirements for institutions offering online courses are as follows:

  • All students in the school, district or program have equal access to all courses for which they are qualified, regardless of socioeconomic status, disabilities or other factors.
  • The school, district or program provides qualified teachers who are content experts and are capable of supporting students’ learning throughout the online courses.
  • Teachers of online courses from the school, district or program receive adequate professional development to effectively support students in their online learning.
  • Teachers of online courses from the school, district or program are assigned a number of students that allows for the interaction necessary for positive learning outcomes. 
  • The technology infrastructure at the school, district or program is adequate for effective learning, and students have access to both the necessary hardware and software required to be successful in an online course.
  • Students in the school, district or program who enroll in an online course can expect to receive appropriate advising to ensure that they have the necessary background and technology to succeed.
  • Students in the school, district or program have local access to qualified professionals (teachers, mentors, counselors, etc.) or paraprofessionals who can support their online course participation.
  • The school, district or program has processes in place to ensure that the person submitting material for assessment is actually the student enrolled in the online course.
  • The school, district or program is willing to provide UC with performance data on the students in all online courses.
  • Online courses must provide opportunities for substantial interactions between students and the teacher, and between students and other students. Learning is not merely the acquisition of facts. It is a dynamic, social activity that requires inquiry, dialogue, exploration, and engagement with other learners and feedback from teachers.

In addition, the University recommends that schools, districts and programs offering online courses implement practices and policies found in the California Department of Education (AB 294) guidelines [DOC] and the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Programs [PDF].