Standards and Procedures for Planning and Offering Remotely-Delivered (Virtual & Online) Courses and Programs
General Information and Purpose
Ramapo College recognizes the significance of organizing the remote (virtual and online) academic offerings of the institution so that well-coordinated and highly effective learning experiences will be delivered. Coordination of remote academic offerings is required to provide the necessary resources and assistance to faculty, to provide support services to students who are enrolled in remotely-delivered courses and programs or hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components to optimize the use of College resources, and to ensure consistent and fair policies and procedures are established and abided by faculty and students. Organized and well-coordinated remotely-delivered academic offerings facilitate marketing and promotional strategies and strengthen the College’s image as an innovative and technologically progressive institution.
Rapid advancements in technology will create new methods for providing and delivering academic offerings in multiple formats. Therefore, policies and procedures that impact remote teaching and learning will continuously change. As needed, the Remotely-Delivered (Virtual & Online) Courses Policy, Procedure/Manual will be revised to incorporate relevant updates.
The following directives and guidelines are intended to assist with planning, coordination, and establishment of ongoing technological support for participating faculty, administration, and staff. They are built on and support current academic and curricular guidelines, RCNJ Academic and Board Policies, and the College’s Mission Statement and Strategic Plan and shall apply to new remote academic offerings, as well as to existing courses and programs in which the method of delivery of all or some course content has changed significantly from traditional in-person, on-campus instruction. This manual applies to all Ramapo College credit-bearing courses and “developmental” (0-level) courses that include remotely-delivered content.
The terms “remote teaching” and “remote learning” are used here to refer to instruction where the teacher and the student are not together meeting face-to-face in a physical classroom on campus (i.e., on the main campus of the College or at a Ramapo-affiliated off-site location); rather, communication is accomplished through the use of one or more instructional technologies. Some of these instructional technologies are in use to varying degrees in traditional in-person courses, which are not considered further in this manual.
“Course” refers to any learning experience offered for college credit or otherwise required for a degree.
Course Delivery Modes
Not all course delivery modes are well suited for each course. The Convening Group of each academic program should determine whether any modes should not be permitted for specific courses within their discipline. It is also strongly recommended that multi-section courses be offered in a variety of delivery modes when doing so would provide choice to students and not decrease or interfere with student mastery of course material and achievement of course learning objectives. As always, work conditions, assignment of course load, etc. set forth in the AFT Collective Bargaining Agreement and any memoranda of agreement with the local union must be followed.
The course delivery modes listed below are modes that have been offered at the College. Only the in-person mode is not considered a remote delivery mode, as all others involve instructors and students engaging in some degree of remote teaching and learning.
► In-Person: In-person courses will hold all scheduled class meetings face-to-face on campus.
► Hybrid In-Person-Virtual-Synchronous: Hybrid in-person-virtual-synchronous courses deliver course content through a combination of face-to-face, on-campus class meetings and synchronous virtual class meetings. A typical hybrid pattern would include one in-person meeting per week.
► Hybrid In-Person-Asynchronous: Hybrid in-person-asynchronous courses deliver course content through a combination of face-to-face, on-campus class meetings and instructor-created asynchronous learning experiences, which must be completed by the students as per established deadlines. A typical hybrid pattern would include one in-person meeting per week. [Note: The asynchronous learning experiences that replace one class meeting should take the students approximately the same amount of time as one scheduled class meeting to complete. That is, the total amount of face-to-face class time plus asynchronous learning time should equal the number of required instructional minutes per week as per the definition of a credit hour – see Credit Hours Policy at https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/policy/credit-hours/ for further information.]
► Virtual Fully Synchronous: Virtual fully synchronous courses hold all scheduled class meetings virtually. No class meetings are held on campus, but instructors can administer exams, tests, quizzes, etc. on campus under certain conditions and depending on room availability.
► Virtual Synchronous-Asynchronous Combination: Virtual synchronous-asynchronous combination courses hold some scheduled class meetings virtually and also deliver course content through instructor-created asynchronous learning experiences, which must be completed by the students as per established deadlines. No class meetings are held on campus, but instructors can administer exams, tests, quizzes, etc. on campus under certain conditions and depending on room availability. [Note: The asynchronous learning experiences that replace one class meeting should take the students approximately the same amount of time of one scheduled class meeting to complete. The total amount of virtual synchronous class time plus asynchronous learning time should equal the number of required minutes as per the definition of a credit hour – see Credit Hours Policy at https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/policy/credit-hours/ for further information.]
► Online: Online courses require students to independently learn content by completing instructor-created asynchronous learning opportunities. No synchronous class meetings are held, and no class meetings are held on campus. Rather, the student interacts with course material, the instructor, and other students enrolled in the course through Ramapo’s learning management system. Students must meet established deadlines for submitting assigned work, which is to be completed on their own time.
► Synchronous: at the same time, as in during the scheduled class meeting time
► Asynchronous: not at the same time, as in whenever a student is able to complete the work as per their availability (Note: Students must meet established deadlines.)
If synchronous meetings are required, they must be specified in the course schedule and in the course syllabus so that the students will be aware of any/all required meetings upon registration. Instructors cannot add any class meetings outside of those indicated in the course schedule at the time of registration. The course schedule and the course syllabus must also clearly indicate whether students are required to attend any outside-of-class activities or events (e.g., field trips, performances) along with specific dates and times.
The total instructional time – whether in person or remote, synchronous or asynchronous – and student preparation time for the course must conform to Ramapo College’s Policy 300-R Credit Hours (https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/policy/credit-hours/).
Methods of presentation and course content and materials are to be under the control of the faculty member assigned to develop and/or teach the remotely-delivered course or hybrid course component. Oversight by the faculty member’s colleagues within the Unit or academic program shall be subject to the usual norms and responsibilities of supervision and oversight associated with the functions of the Unit, the Academic Dean, and the Convening Group offering the course or program.
Selection of Materials and Effectiveness of the Curriculum
Except where stated otherwise, faculty members and the Dean of the School, which offers the course, assume responsibility for course oversight and adherence to policies and procedures regarding remotely-delivered courses and programs and hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components.
The reasons for remote delivery of courses, programs, or course components may include increasing student access to faculty, educational resources, and one another and providing students with choices of course delivery modes while maintaining (or exceeding) the curricular standards and student learning of a traditional in-person course. Courses may be converted to remote delivery, where possible, to address emergencies. In the event of delivery mode changes caused by emergencies, remote learning experiences should follow the guidelines of this manual. For courses designed to be delivered remotely for non-emergency purposes, the process is as follows:
- Faculty members must obtain consensus from the Convening Group and approval from the Academic Dean prior to offering a course in any remote delivery mode. (Note: Exceptions can be made to accommodate emergency conditions.)
- ARC approval of a remotely-delivered course is only required if it is a new course. That is, if an existing in-person course is being offered in a remote delivery mode, ARC approval is not required.
- Offering 50% or more of an entire program remotely requires approval of ARC and permission of the Academic Dean and the Provost. In addition, external approvals (e.g., from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education or other program accrediting entity) may be required.
Among the factors to be considered in determining the suitability of a particular course or program for a remote delivery mode are the following:
- The use of one of the remote delivery modes improves or at least maintains the effectiveness of the course or program, as measured by student learning outcomes, or is the only possible option in an emergency situation.
- The necessary instructional and student support resources are available to facilitate the use of remote delivery modes (e.g., access to advising and information and academic support sources).
- Not all courses can be successfully converted to remote delivery modes even during emergency situations.
Individual faculty members have the same responsibility for selecting and presenting materials in remotely-delivered courses or in hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components than they have in courses offered in traditional in-person mode in which courses are delivered face-to-face on campus. For team-taught or interdisciplinary courses and programs, all faculty involved share this responsibility.
 Faculty Assembly (FA) voted on 03/09/2011 to change this language to “with notice to the Dean.” However, because this is inconsistent with the role of the Dean, the language was changed back to “approval from the Dean” per Provost’s Council, 03/24/2011.
Instructors who teach remotely-delivered courses and hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components shall comply with all of the standard practices, policies, procedures, and criteria which have been established for traditional in-person courses. A section of a course that is being offered via a remote delivery mode will have the same Course Description and Student Learning Outcomes as any other section of the course. Additional guidelines are as follows:
- Faculty involvement in course development and approval: The procedures for course development, revisions, and approval are outlined in the RCNJ Academic and Curricular Guidelines Manual (ACGM). The current ARC manual can be found at https://www.ramapo.edu/fa/arc/.
- Selection of qualified faculty to teach the course: Conveners develop the semester/term course schedules with the participation of faculty and approval of the Academic Dean. Faculty members may request a particular delivery mode for a course (e.g., in-person, hybrid in-person-virtual-synchronous, online), but the final approval is granted by the Academic Dean. Academic Deans are responsible for the finalization of their School’s semester/term course schedule.
- Pedagogical determinations about appropriate class size: Refer to the Academic and Curricular Guidelines Manual.
- Oversight of course offerings: Remotely-delivered courses are evaluated via the same student opinion survey as is used for courses offered on campus. Remotely-delivered courses and programs are subject to the same assessment and program review requirements as traditional in-person offerings.
Academic Requirements and Effectiveness of Courses
The standards listed below represent important guiding principles for developing, conducting, and evaluating remotely-delivered courses at RCNJ. The guidelines and requirements specified in the Academic and Curricular Guidelines Manual apply to all courses offered in remote delivery modes.
- Ramapo College of New Jersey engages in remotely-delivered courses and programs, which are consistent with the College’s mission and values and aligned with its Strategic Plan.
- Remotely-delivered courses are at least of equal effectiveness as those not offered at a distance (i.e., courses offered in person) and are evaluated for effectiveness by assessment of student learning outcomes. Student opinion survey results and data on student retention may be employed as secondary measures.
- A course may be offered via multiple delivery modes (e.g., in-person, online, hybrid in-person-asynchronous), but the overall goals of the course and the student learning outcomes should be consistent for each section. The course delivery mode is simply the pathway chosen to deliver the course so that students may achieve the specified learning outcomes.
- All courses will identify the course-specific learning outcomes expected of students who complete the course successfully, and these outcomes will be mapped to programmatic or general education student learning goals. Courses delivered via all modes will be assessed to the same extent to determine the degree of student accomplishment of these course goals and achievement of student learning outcomes.
- Credit hours granted for remotely-delivered courses will be equivalent to the number of credit hours for the same course delivered traditionally in person. The delivery mode of each course will be clearly indicated in the semester/term course schedule that is produced by RCNJ’s Office of the Registrar and will align with the School-specific course schedules submitted by the Academic Deans. In compliance with New Jersey regulations, courses offered during “condensed” terms (e.g., winter, summer) will include instructional time equal at least to the required number of minutes as per the definition of a credit hour – refer to Policy 300-R Credit Hours.
- The same policies and procedures related to admissions requirements, academics, and administrative processes apply to remotely-delivered courses as they do for traditional in-person courses.
- Students enrolled in a remotely-delivered course will have access to available academic support. Such support may be offered remotely or may require on-campus attendance.
- All RCNJ courses provide regular and timely interaction between students and instructors regardless of the course delivery mode.
- The instructional technologies used in each course are aligned with course content, appropriate to the objectives of the course, and frequently updated and kept current.
- If a degree program is designed to be offered entirely and only remotely, the enrolled student must be able to satisfy all requirements of that degree program through remote learning.
Information Technology Services (ITS) will inform students via the College website about the general technical skill prerequisites and required hardware, software, and supplementary materials typically necessary for participation in a remotely-delivered course or a hybrid course with a remotely-delivered course component. ITS will ensure the security of the learning management system utilized by the College including ensuring confidentiality of student information, grades, and student work. ITS will advise faculty of measures that are in place to ensure that the student who participates in and completes the course is the same student who registered for the course and will receive academic credit, in accordance with and consistent with federal requirements.
ITS will provide faculty with access to the learning management system two weeks prior to the start of the semester. The default start and end dates for students to have access to the learning management system are determined by the Provost and may be adjusted by course instructors as needed.
The School offering the remotely-delivered course will ensure that the same high standards expected for all courses are maintained and that remote instruction is comparable in effectiveness and content to the face-to-face instruction that occurs in courses delivered in person. Schools and Convening Groups offering remotely-delivered courses and hybrid courses with remotely-delivered course components will regularly assess the instructional technologies and other methods by which they are delivered and their content.
 FA voted on 03/09/2011 to delete this clause. Provost’s Council noted that this is inconsistent with the role of the Dean and re-inserted the clause, 03/24/2011.
 The College fully implemented Canvas as its learning management system in Academic Year 2020-2021.
Verification of Student Identity
Ramapo College uses required and optional methods to ensure that the students who register and receive grades for courses that never meet face-to-face on campus are the same students who participate in those courses. These courses include those delivered via the following modes: virtual fully synchronous, virtual synchronous-asynchronous combination, and online.
Students registered in these types of courses, as well as any course delivered through a different mode that utilizes the College’s learning management system, must access course content by using secure logins. Students may obtain these logins, first, by securing their Ramapo email addresses at https://password.ramapo.edu. This ITS-managed website requires students to enter their Ramapo identification numbers, which are unique, as well as their birthdates for additional security. Once a student receives a Ramapo username, the student must select a password according to specified parameters. Students who need to reset their passwords may do so at https://password.ramapo.edu. In addition, ITS, which provides this help service at no additional cost to students, offers assistance via the helpdesk, e-mail, and telephone. Once a student has acquired a Ramapo email address, the student can login to the College’s learning management system (i.e., Canvas may be accessed via the College’s intranet page).
The learning management system login process requires students to use their Ramapo email account credentials. Students with questions may contact the College’s Instructional Design Center (IDC), which offers this help service at no additional cost to students. Ramapo College’s full policy on electronic communication, which includes information about responsibilities and privacy, may be found at https://www.ramapo.edu/poerd/policies- procedures/responsible-use-electronic-communications/.
Faculty will inform students in the course syllabus about course-specific technical skill prerequisites and required hardware, software, and supplementary materials necessary for course participation, prior to the start of the course. The course syllabus will also provide details about any scheduled virtual synchronous or in-person, on-campus class meetings that students are required to attend. Such information should be included in the “syllabus” section of the course description in the course schedule. Faculty may also electronically distribute the syllabus to registered students prior to the start of the semester (e.g., via email, posting in the learning management system). (Note: This is highly recommended for courses offered during the condensed winter and summer terms so that students are able to obtain or purchase course-required materials in a timely manner.)
Faculty will ensure that the primary portal through which students access remotely-delivered course content is the College’s current learning management system, which is considered to be “the product of record for the course.” The learning management system automatically provides access to course content to all students enrolled in the course. Secondary products should be approved and supported by ITS to insure adherence to privacy and security policies and should be accessed via the College’s learning management system whenever possible. (Note: The College does not endorse or support many/all third-party products, platforms, and instructional technologies.)
Faculty who offer remotely-delivered courses or hybrid courses with a remotely-delivered course component must be available to interact individually and in a timely manner with their students (e.g., via email, telephone, chat room, video conferencing). This interaction should be conducted, as needed, during the faculty member’s regularly-scheduled office hours.
Faculty who teach remotely will acquire sufficient skill with various instructional technologies that allows them to present course content and distribute course material effectively. This skill acquisition may be accomplished and supported, as necessary, by consulting with ITS and IDC technical support personnel and by attending training sessions and teaching circles offered by the IDC (https://www.ramapo.edu/idc/) and/or the Faculty Resource Center (FRC, https://www.ramapo.edu/frc/)
All Ramapo students, especially those who enroll in remotely-delivered courses or hybrid courses with remotely-delivered content, may be required to post or deliver materials electronically and/or during virtual class meetings. Faculty must inform students in the course syllabus whether their participation, presentation, or work submitted for a virtual class session will be video recorded.
Students must also be informed of the circumstances under which those outside the course may have access to any video recordings in which their participation, their presentations, or their work submissions may appear. Faculty must obtain written permission from students whose likeness will be video recorded for use outside the classroom via the form “Release of Information for Academic Course.pdf,” which may be accessed at https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/files/2021/01/Release-of-Information-for-Academic-Course-fillable-form.pdf. If any students are unwilling to be video recorded, the instructor should direct them to turn off their cameras during the portion of the class meeting that is to be video recorded. (Note: Audio recordings of class meetings, which are permitted for certain OSS-affiliated students who have been approved for such accommodations, are allowed with no explicit permission required. OSS-affiliated students who are allowed to record classes are, by default, permitted to audio record – not video record – class meetings.) Content that is recorded via the use of “Shared Content” or “sharing the screen” does not require permission (i.e., unless the presenter’s likeness is recorded or their work will be shared with individuals not enrolled in the course).
Faculty should not grant individual requests from students to audio or video record class meetings. Audio recording of a class as a disability-related accommodation should only occur after a student has been approved for such an accommodation through the Office of Specialized Services.
Faculty should ensure their course syllabi conform to the Syllabus Template found in the Academic and Curricular Guidelines Manual. Faculty should also ensure that students are aware that all policies, including the Academic Integrity Policy, apply to all courses regardless of the course delivery mode.
Faculty must abide by the standards and practices adopted by the College to be certain that the student who participates in and completes the course is the same student who registered for the course and receives academic credit. At a minimum, faculty must confirm that their students are securely logging into the learning management system and using their Ramapo email accounts.
Recording Class Sessions
Instructor-facilitated recording of class meetings may be appropriate (in accordance with FERPA Guidelines – see www.ramapo.edu/registrar/ferpa/), as this allows students to review content outside of class meetings and provides an opportunity for students who are unable to attend class to access course content that was covered during the missed session.
- In-person or virtual-synchronous class meetings may be video or audio recorded and shared with students who are unable to attend, as long as the recording does not share personally identifiable information, which is protected under FERPA.
- No one should post recordings anywhere they may be viewed by anyone who does not have a legitimate educational interest without express written permission of all individuals who are recorded or whose work is recorded.
- Instructors who wish to use a video recording that includes student activity beyond the class in which it was recorded may do so only with the informed written consent of the students involved or if all student activity is removed from the recording.
- Students are not permitted to video record class meetings. Audio recording, which is an OSS-approved accommodation for some students, is permitted only when sanctioned by OSS.
- It is strongly encouraged that faculty who plan to record class meetings held via video conferencing (e.g., WebEx) use the “Shared Content” mode of recording. This mode only records documents that are shared via the “share” function along with the accompanying audio (e.g., voiceover, narration).
- Faculty may also obtain student signatures on waivers (available at https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/files/2021/01/Release-of-Information-for-Academic-Course-fillable-form.pdf), which allows video that is recorded via the “Active Speaker” and/or “Grid View” recording modes to be used/shared outside of class.
Class meetings may be audio recorded, which requires no explicit permission from participants, or video recorded, which requires communication ahead of time and written permission from all participants if used/shared outside of the class. When faculty choose to audio or video record a class meeting, they should communicate this to the students both in writing through the course syllabus and verbally. Audio and video recordings should be shared only with students who are officially enrolled in the course and should be deleted at the end of the course. When possible, recordings should be posted or shared in a way that does not allow downloading of the recordings. This practice will safeguard, to the extent possible, individuals’ intellectual property, prevent posting of another’s likeness or submitted work on social media, etc.
Instructors may choose to stop recording at certain points of the class session in order to protect students’ privacy and eliminate the possibility that recording might stifle discussion, particularly if sensitive content is included in the discussion.
The platform that is used to conduct virtual class meetings typically has various modes of video recording available. For example, WebEx allows the host to video record as follows:
- “Shared Content” – this mode video records only documents, websites, videos, etc. that the host screen shares during the virtual session, as well as audio of the entire session. The College, at present, defaults the WebEx recording mode to “Shared Content” mode so that unwilling participants are not unintentionally recorded. This mode can be changed provided that required written permissions are obtained.
- “Active Speaker” – this mode video records only the active speakers during the session but not anyone who is a quiet participant in the virtual session; and
- “Grid View” – this mode video records everything participants see on screen while participating in the virtual session.
Suggested text for course syllabi where audio or video recording is expected is as follows:
This class or portions of this class will be recorded by the instructor for educational purposes. These recordings will be shared only with students officially enrolled in the course, must be deleted at the end of the semester, may not be posted on social media or the internet, and may not be shared with any individuals outside of the course. The instructor of the course will communicate how students can access the recordings, as well as how students who are willing to be video recorded can provide written consent and how students who are unwilling to be video recorded should proceed.
 Important Note: OSS-affiliated students who have been approved to audio record class sessions, office hours, meetings, etc. as an accommodation need not request and obtain express permission to do so. These students must follow the OSS accommodation notice process, which requires them to sign an agreement stating that the recording of classes is purely for study purposes. Faculty will be informed of this approved accommodation (i.e., audio recording) through the procedure followed by the Office of Specialized Services.
The College will ensure that appropriate support services are available to all students enrolled in remotely-delivered courses and hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components.
Expectations of students enrolled in virtual or hybrid courses may be found at https://www.ramapo.edu/provost/files/2022/07/Expectations-of-Students-Taking-Virtual-Courses-FINAL.pdf
The College is responsible for the technological delivery of the course utilizing instructional technologies, platforms, software, and other products supported by the College; however, the College is not obligated to provide technical support for a product that is not supported or endorsed by the College. The College will ensure that the necessary, College-supported technology and equipment is identified and in place, appropriate training for faculty members is available, and faculty members have access to adequate technical support personnel.
Available Technology and Equipment
The College will provide faculty with access to all College-supported equipment and products that allow for successful instruction in remotely-delivered courses and hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components. The College may adopt a particular product (e.g., a learning management system such as Canvas), which will be considered the “product of record” for all courses that utilize or are built with this product.
Training for Teaching
Training on all College-supported technology and equipment, as well as on best practices, is available to all Ramapo faculty (i.e., part-time and full-time faculty, faculty who teach courses via all delivery modes) through the IDC.
Availability of Assistance
Faculty may obtain assistance from the IDC. Students may obtain assistance through the ITS Helpdesk.
The materials created by faculty members for remotely-delivered courses and hybrid courses that include remotely-delivered course components courses will be treated in exactly the same manner as materials created by faculty members for traditional in-person courses. That is, intellectual property rights to instructor-created course content and materials are the same regardless of course delivery mode.
The current memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the AFT, which may be found on the Ramapo College Employee Relations website at https://www.ramapo.edu/er/files/2020/11/MOA-Intellectual-Property-and-Online-Courses.pdf, provides additional information on the scope and ownership of intellectual property.
Changing and Updating Materials & Re-Transmission of Courses
Courses, course content and materials, virtual class meetings, etc. shall not be audio or video recorded by the College without the prior knowledge and written consent of the faculty member who created or taught the course. Even with consent to record, such recordings are not to be re-used, revised, shared, or distributed without the separate written consent of the faculty member.
The faculty member (or an appropriate faculty body) who creates the remotely-delivered course or the remotely- delivered hybrid course component (including adapting a pre-existing traditional in-person course) shall exercise control over the future use, modification, and distribution of audio or video recorded course content and materials, virtual class meetings, etc. and shall determine whether/when the course in whole or particular items of the course should be withdrawn from use. The faculty member (or an appropriate faculty body) who creates the remotely-delivered course or the remotely-delivered hybrid course component is responsible for all revisions or modifications that may be required, including those resulting from programmatic and technological changes.
All courses included in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs may be offered in fully remote or hybrid delivery modes if feasible as determined by the Convening Groups, but these courses will not be distinguished on transcripts from sections of these courses delivered in traditional in-person format.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition and fees for courses are determined by student level (undergraduate or graduate). Tuition and fees may vary depending on the course delivery mode. All tuition and fees shall be set by the College administration and approved by the Board of Trustees.