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Our Teacher Education and Leadership Department, within the School of Education and Human Services, have crafted a handy rubric or checklist that's perfect for ensuring quality online course design and delivery.  Canisius has a lengthier, more comprehensive rubric available that's really a policy document.  The rubric below is more practical for teaching instructors to consult as they craft their courses.  

Course Content and Pedagogy 

Course content is aligned to state/national/professional standards. (Read more about the standards here:

Course is divided into identifiable units, lessons or modules organized around learning objectives with deadlines and requirements clearly stated. (D2L guidance can be found here:

Content delivery methods include multimedia (video and/or audio) elements.

Brief (maximum 15 minutes) video lecture presentations are given.

Specific technologies are identified at the outset of the course that are required for successful course completion. 


Course states clear policies and desired methods of communication.

Professor contact information is clearly visible in multiple areas of D2L.

Course meets all applicable accessibility standards. (Accommodations guidance found here: here to learn more about D2L: Accommodations)

Teaching Presence

The professor acts as a mentor and class member instead of a silent caretaker who posts content and questions.

The professor participates in asynchronous discussions along with students (where appropriate). (This can include traditional "message board" discussions, as well as alternatives such as

The professor attempts to communicate with underperforming or wayward students to bring them back on track academically.

Social Presence 

Students participate in meaningful interactions with class members. (Guidance on the D2L student experience can be found here:

Students may collaborate to discuss, create or analyze content (e.g., group projects).

The instructor posts personal videos/screencasts to introduce each week’s content or to explain content. (Panopto is an excellent toolset for this, as well as lectures).


Students can assess their progress via an online grading tool. A gradebook is built and maintained in D2L’s gradebook tool. (Guidance on D2L Grading can be found here: how to connect the Dropbox to the D2L Gradebook.)

Assessments are aligned to course content with sufficient time given for completion.

Multiple exemplars, assignment guidelines, or rubrics are provided to convey standards of excellence.

Feedback is timely, frequent, and specific. (More information at the following links:, Try out an Intelligent Agent or leave feedback on Dropbox Assignments.)

Students receive actionable instructions on how to improve their efforts. (Guidance on giving feedback can be found here: leave feedback on Dropbox Assignments.)

Grading policies (including late submissions, etc.) and expectations regarding online etiquette are highlighted.