In order to encourage student success, the College of Online Education promotes structured flexibility in our courses that:
adapt to online student needs, allowing them to meet the course objectives
maintain the integrity of the instructor and the rigor of the class
To incorporate structured flexibility into your course:
Plan ahead to identify where the opportunities for flexibility exist within your course. This plan will be specific to and driven by your class-management philosophy and the course structure and objectives.
Communicate your approach to students in advance. Create an environment conducive to candid communication between students and faculty about their needs and/or expectations.
A course that includes structured flexibility may:
Have a course-wide position on individual circumstances established in advance.
Reduce the potential for lying on the student side and/or validation on the faculty side (doesn't require proof of grandma's death, a doctor's note, copy of the accident report, etc.).
Provides places for students to manage their time flexibly with the standard schedule of the course (e.g., open materials early, post a clear schedule with due dates).
Identify places in the course where the deliverables are time critical.
Communicate that the course structure is the student's best path for success.
Set an expectation that encourages students to reach out in advance for any known challenges.
Identify and communicate the core goal(s) of the class and organize the structure and policies around achieving it (this is above and beyond the outline/objectives/schedule - this is the "elevator pitch" of what the course is trying to accomplish).
Allow for opportunities to improve on the part of the student (e.g., revision, retake, try a different way).