Structured Flexibility

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).