• Online Learning Faculty Certification

  • Want to Teach Online?

    Excellent!  We are always excited to welcome new faculty members!

    First step is to talk to your Dean and agree on a class and term it will be offered.

    Next you will need to fill out an application to participate in the required Online Learning Faculty Certification the term before the course is offered.

    What is the Online Learning Faculty Certification?

    The Online Learning Department provides professional development for faculty interested in teaching online or hybrid courses at Mt. Hood Community College.  The certification is offered once per term, is a 10 week course, similar to a hybrid class.  This means course development is online however weekly meetings are required.  Faculty will be assigned an Instructional Designer (ID) who will help design and build their course using MHCC’s base universal design structure.  ID’s will help customize it to subject matter and teaching style.  Online and hybrid course development is done using the College supported learning management system, Blackboard Learn.  During the certification process faculty will learn about course design, best practices in course development, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Regular Substantive Interaction (RSI), Quality Matters (QM), accessibility and other accreditation standards, and classroom management. 

    Online course development requires a significant time commitment and can take upwards of 100 + hours collectively between the ID and the faculty member.  The actual amount of time will be different for each instructor depending on online course experience, technical skill level, and subject matter.


    • A faculty member has never taught online, is developing a new course, does not have materials they can adapt from a face-to-face course however they have decent technical skills.
    • A faculty member has never taught online, is developing a new course, has material they can adapt from a face-to-face course but has have poor technical skills.
    • A faculty member has taught online at other institutions but is developing a different course for MHCC.  Has decent technical skills however may or may not use a different LMS.
    • A faculty member already offers online courses at another institution and has been asked to build the same courses at MHCC.  Has decent technical skill however may or may not use a different LMS.

    The first and second scenarios are going to require the most time to develop a course.  Those with online teaching experience, especially at another Oregon community colleges, already understand best practices, UDL, RSI, Quality Matters, accessibility and other accreditation standards.  They will require less assistance making it so the Instructional Designer can focus more time helping new instructors design their course and start building the structure for the faculty member to use.  The Instructional Designer will also help select other technologies and tools and integrate them into the class.  


    • Faculty must be able to dedicate time to develop their course in one term.
    • Faculty must register for the course: OLX10 (Registration will be handled by OL staff)
    • Attend required weekly meetings with your Instructional Designer.  Days and times will be determined between the instructor and Instructional Designer at the initial consultation the first week of the term.
    • Courses MUST be student ready at end of the 10 weeks

    What does “student ready” mean?

    It means a foundational course is complete, including:

    • Syllabus and course schedule are available and well defined
    • All lessons are built
    • Course and lesson objectives and outcomes are clear
    • Clear evidence of instructor-student and student-student interaction
    • Clear evidence of engaging activities
    • Online Learning realizes it takes more work to create high stakes activities than it does to create other work.  Courses can have finishing touches done before term begins and even as the course is active. 

    Technical Skills Needed


    • Copy and paste information between documents and browsers.
    • Navigate between multiple windows, tabs, and applications
    • Install and configure browser settings and plug-ins
    • Recognize and use web-friendly file naming conventions
    • Implement effective file and folder organization
    • Create and edit hyperlinks
    • Zip, attach, and upload files
    • Recognize file types such as .htm, .ppt, .pdf, .docx,.rtf, .jpeg, .png
    • Download, unzip and save files
    • Navigate network vs. local computer vs. portable file storage locations

    Desired but can learn in the process of developing an online course

    • Implement cloud-based content and tools
    • Correctly use elements such as headings, ordered/ unordered lists to structure content
    • Embed audio and video
    • Edit image files
    • Identify and use ADA best practices for all file formats
    • Identify and use principles of UDL


    Upon completion faculty will receive $1000 and a certificate. 

    Additional Opportunities

    Faculty have the ability to continue on through the certification process with a variety of professional development opportunities and/or by implementing MHCC’s textbook affordability guidelines.  You will be able to select from the following choices up to the $2000.00 maximum, including initial certification and build.

    • QM Improving Your Online Course (IYOC)
    • Have course Quality Matters (QM) reviewed and receive certification
    • QM Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR)
    • Develop course using MHCC textbook affordability guidelines

    What is Quality Matters?

    Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. Sponsored by MarylandOnline, Inc. Quality Matters has generated widespread interest and received national recognition for its peer-based approach to quality assurance and continuous improvement in online education.  QM’s goals are to improve student learning, retention, and satisfaction in online and blended courses through better course design and to reflect results of academic research on effective learning.

    Key Features:
    Unique to the QM Rubric is the concept of Alignment. This occurs when critical course components — Learning Objectives (#2), Assessment and Measurement (#3), Instructional Materials (#4), Course Activities and Learner Interaction (#5), and Course Technology (#6) — work together to ensure students achieve desired learning outcomes. Specific Standards included in Alignment are indicated in the Rubric Annotations.

    The eight General Standards of this Rubric are:

    • Course Overview and Introduction
    • Learning Objectives (Competencies)
    • Assessment and Measurement
    • Instructional Materials
    • Course Activities and Learner Interaction
    • Course Technology
    • Learner Support
    • Accessibility and Usability*

    QM Workshops:

    The Quality Matters workshops are actual online courses that require extra time and work.

    APPQMR is two weeks long and takes approximately 7 – 8 hours a week to complete.

    IYOC is two weeks long and requires an already built course to improve, preferably that has been offered, and approximately 8 – 10 hours a week to complete

    QM-Managed Official Course Review, both members and non-members can get outside validation — from an independent third party — of the quality work your organization is doing around online course design. You’ll also receive useful recommendations from the review team that will help you to improve the course. A course can become QM-Certified once it meets QM Rubric Standards at the 85% threshold or better and meets all essential standards. Organizations that want to be recognized for their quality assurance efforts can display and advertise the QM Certification Mark to demonstrate their commitment to quality and continuous improvement.

    If your course does not initially meet QM Rubric Standards, you will be able to submit an amended course with the reviewer-suggested updates during the amendment phase. The reports become part of an organization's QM data, which can be utilized in data analysis and evidence for accreditation.

    Length of time varies

    What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) involves a proactive process of designing learning in order to achieve the highest level of functionality and positive learner experience for the widest audience possible. It guides the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and materials that can be customized to meet diverse individual student needs.  The three core principles of UDL are:

    • Multiple means of representation to give diverse learners options for acquiring information and knowledge
    • Multiple means of action and expression to provide learners options for demonstrating what they know
    • Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation

    What is Regular Substantive Interaction (RSI)

    Faculty often ask this question as they are developing new online courses or online versions of current courses. Indeed, the question is a valid one as the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General has set regulations for what they call "regular and substantive interaction". These regulations were needed to ensure federal financial aid funds were used appropriately. Details and expectations around those regulations are rather unclear, however, which has led many institutions to make their own interpretations based on guidance from Dear Colleague letters and accrediting bodies.

    To understand regular and substantial interaction it's helpful to dispel some misconceptions about online learning. Distance education, in the context of credit-bearing courses in higher education, are not "self-paced" nor should it be a solitary experience for students. However, models of "correspondence education" more closely align with those characteristics. The point is, correspondence education and distance education are not to be confused. Below are two descriptions from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that help to outline the differences.

    Correspondence Education:
    Education provided through one or more courses in which the institution provides instructional materials and examinations by mail or electronic transmission to students who are separated from the instructor. Interaction between the instructor and the student is not regular and substantive, and it is primarily initiated by the student. Correspondence courses are typically self-paced. Correspondence education is not distance education and students taking correspondence courses are provided very limited (if any) financial aid support.

    Distance Learning (Distance Education):
    Education that delivers instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and that supports regular and substantive interaction between students and the instructor synchronously or asynchronously using one or more of the following technologies: the internet; one-way and two-way transmission through open broadcast, closed-circuit cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communication devices; audio-conferencing; or videocassettes, DVDs, and CD-ROMs used in conjunction with any of the other technologies.

    Over time and through the gathering of various interpretations, "regular and substantive interaction" is defined by four elements and required for federal financial aid.

    To sum up the elements:

    Interaction initiated by instructor: While in distance courses students have a heightened responsibility to take ownership of their learning, the faculty presence, guidance, and initiation of contact is critical. In distance courses, the flow, sequence, and deadlines of the course must be directed by the instructor and the timing of the course set through use of learning activities, online discussion, lectures, etc. In comparison, in correspondence courses students submit work when they finish it and initiate questions when they have them with little or no guidance from the instructor.

    Initiation of interaction must be regular and pretty frequent: This element is probably one of the least defined of the bunch. Essentially interaction with students should happen fairly frequently and regularly where students are likely to grow to expect it. A weekly interaction is a good baseline.

    Interaction must be meaningful or of an academic nature: Essentially, the interaction should lead toward increased learning and might consist of things like:

    • Regularly scheduled synchronous activities.
    • Facilitating a study group or online discussion forum.
    • Facilitating faculty-guided independent study.
    • Announcements, email, or social media check-ins initiated by the instructor about aspects of the course, additional guidance, etc.

    Interaction must be initiated by academic personnel who meet accrediting body standards: Essentially, interaction should be initiated by someone who is qualified to do so as it relates to the subject matter. At MHCC, this is the instructor.