I.  Purpose and Scope:
This policy identifies the necessary components of LMS courses.

VCSU has adopted an official learning management system (LMS). All courses have a LMS component created each semester. At minimum, faculty members are expected to utilize the VCSU adopted LMS course templates, post the course syllabus and use the grade center regularly to post student grades (see policy V605.16). The LMS course will serve as the primary container for the majority of the online content and interaction. All content posted should adhere to policy V480.05 Copyright Guidelines.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) oversees all courses at Valley City State University.

A. Resource Approval
Online resources, requiring account or login registration outside the official LMS for instructional activity purposes, need to be approved in accordance with policy V1901.03 Information Technology Approval Process and policy V1901.06 Social Media Policy. In consideration of students’ personal information security, students must be given an alternative activity for resources that are not approved, if they choose not to divulge their personal information to create online accounts outside of the official VCSU LMS.

B. Syllabus and Important Course Information
Faculty will provide syllabi to the Vice President of Academic Affairs that meet universal access expectations, as noted in policy V1912.06. Use of the VCSU LMS course templates, which include the Student Support/Policies link, meets the requirement of providing VCSU student support resources and policy information.

C. Universal Access
Faculty must be knowledgeable about universal access and digital accessibility standards to ensure equal access to their instructional materials for a wide range of users. This is done by applying specific design standards that offer alternative forms of access and that enables assistive technologies to function effectively. Faculty are expected to comply with policy V1912.06 VCSU Accessibility of Digital Information and Services which provides further information regarding digital accessibility standards. All course materials should meet WCAG 2.0 AA standards. The standards ensure accessible content for all students and courses, while other methods of compliance may be required to provide specific accommodations for students with documented disabilities when faculty receive notice from Disability Support Services.

D. Online Faculty and Student Engagement
According to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), online courses must have regular and substantive interaction among the instructor and students. VCSU has defined this as including, but not limited to, interaction initiated by the instructor on a recurring/regular basis, at least once per week, and should be of an academic nature in the form of feedback or instructional guidance.
Faculty must be able to demonstrate the course meets these expectations.

E. Online Course Start Time
All online courses that begin in the first week of the semester must be made available to students by 5:00 pm Central Time Monday of the first week of classes. Any online courses that do not meet the full semester must be made available by 8:00 am Central Time on the first day of the session in which it is offered.


References
V605.16 Faculty Responsibility: Reporting Grades and Academic Progress
V480.05 Copyright Guidelines
V1901.03 Information Technology Approval Process
V1901.06 Social Media Policy
V1912.06 VCSU Accessibility of Digital Information and Services
WCAG 2.0 AA The International Standard for Web Accessibility and Inclusive Design


Sponsor: Online Standards Committee  Teaching and Learning Committee (2019)
Effective: May 2013
Revised: May 2019