Marywood University Policy & Procedure Information

Training for Faculty Teaching Online or Hybrid Courses

Policy Statement

This policy is intended to aid the Marywood academic community in the development and support of high quality online and hybrid instruction that is supported by techniques and methods whose effectiveness in student success, retention, engagement, etc., has been demonstrated.  

The purpose of this policy is to meet the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education provided in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), to support online best practices to enhance the student experience, and to curate sustainable practices for the development, support, and maintenance of online programming.

All current policies regarding academic freedom and intellectual property remain in effect and will work in tandem with this policy.  

Faculty members teaching online or hybrid courses are required to demonstrate proficiency in the University’s designated learning management system (LMS) and in online teaching techniques and pedagogy. These demonstrations will be most beneficial when completed prior to the semester in which the faculty member will be teaching online. 

Marywood University is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Continued membership in SARA mandates compliance with the elements listed in the NC-SARA Manual Version 20.1, effective 01/01/2020 (“Manual”). Appendix B of this manual is the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education.  Marywood University is responsible to comply with them as a member of SARA.

Relevant parts of these guidelines on distance education are as follows:

  • [Section 3] The institution ensures the rigor of the offerings and the quality of the instruction.
  • [Section 4] The curricular goals and course objectives show that the institution or program has knowledge of the best uses of online learning in different disciplines and settings.
  • [Section 4] Course design and delivery supports student-student and faculty-student interaction.
  • [Section 4] Course and program structures provide schedule and support known to be effective in helping online learning students persist and succeed.
  • [Section 6] Online learning faculties are carefully selected, appropriately trained, frequently evaluated and marked by an acceptable level of turnover.
  • [Section 6] The institution’s training program for online learning faculty is periodic, incorporates tested good practices in online learning pedagogy, and ensures competency with the range of software products used by the institution.
  • [Section 6] Faculty are proficient and effectively supported in using the course management system.


Badge refers to an electronic credential that will be available in the LMS. Once a faculty member is awarded a badge, it will be visible in the faculty member’s profile.

Certificate refers to an electronic document, available for printing, which verifies successful completion and/or participation in an activity.

Designated Learning Management System refers to the current learning management system endorsed by Marywood University.

Educational Technology Services is a sub department within the Office of Information Technology. The Educational Technology Services (ETS) team advises and assists faculty members in the use of instructional technology, including the designated Learning Management System. The ETS team serves as a bridge between the Office of Information Technology and Academic Affairs to support and assist faculty members in teaching online, hybrid, web-enhanced, and traditional courses through the implementation of technology using best practices and proven instructional design techniques.

Hybrid Courses refers to courses in which classroom carnegie hours are replaced on a planned and regular basis with interactive online content. Replacing courses with online content as needed for health issues and/or snow days does not constitute a hybrid course.

iTeach@MU is an acronym that reflects the goals of training provided by Educational Technology Services to Integrate Technology, Engagement, and Content Holistically at Marywood.

Learning Management System refers to software that allows for the administration, development, delivery, documentation and account of educational programs and/or courses.

Online Teaching Advisory Board refers to a committee comprised of faculty members, ETS and Center for Transformational Teaching and Learning (CTTL) representatives, with the purpose of enhancing the student learning experience in online and hybrid courses or programs through exploration and review of best practices, research and personal experience as well strengthening the lines of communication between Educational Technology Services and faculty members.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, or SARA, refers to “an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education.”[1]

[1] National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). (2019).


Demonstrated Proficiency in the University’s designated LMS

Members of the Marywood faculty whose teaching load includes online or hybrid coursework shall be required to complete the LMS Basics and Advanced Usage of LMS courses provided through Educational Technology Services. Each of these courses are offered in an asynchronous, self-paced workshop format and take approximately 2-4 hours to complete. Faculty members receive a badge when each course is completed. This training need only be completed one time barring drastic changes between LMS versions or a new LMS.

Demonstrated Proficiency in Online Teaching Techniques and Pedagogy

Members of the Marywood faculty whose teaching load includes online or hybrid coursework shall be required to complete training that addresses online teaching techniques and pedagogy with online course design. This training can be completed through Educational Technology Services’ (ETS) iTeach@MU Online Pedagogy Institute (OPI) programming. The OPI provided by ETS is offered in an asynchronous, interactive, instructor facilitated workshop. The content for this workshop is cultivated by the ETS department in conjunction with trained and experienced online faculty and with the approval of content by the Online Teaching Advisory Board (OTAB). Faculty members will receive a badge for completing this training.

If formal training has been completed through a well-known organization such as the Online Learning Consortium or at a prior institution, the faculty member may submit a request for exemption to their respective Chair. Chairs shall consult the Associate Director of ETS in concurrence with the Director of the CTTL to determine if an exemption will be given. Exemptions are made on a case-by-case basis; training through ETS may still be required dependent upon alignment of prior training with OPI objectives. Prior to finalizing an exemption, Chairs shall consult with their respective Deans. If an exemption is granted, the Chair must notify the Dean.

iTeach@MU [Online Basics] Certificate

After earning all three badges (two LMS, one OPI), faculty members will be awarded the iTeach@MU [Online Basics] Certificate.

Current faculty members (as of July 1, 2020) teaching online or hybrid courses need to complete the iTeach@MU [Online Basics] Certificate requirements by June 30, 2022.

Beginning July 1, 2022, the timelines for completion set forth in the policy shall be upheld for all faculty members teaching hybrid or online classes.

Adjunct faculty members hired by the University prior to July 1, 2022 and teaching online or hybrid courses during that time frame are guaranteed a stipend if they earn the iTeach@MU [Online Basics] Certificate by July 1, 2022.

Adjunct faculty members not currently teaching nor scheduled to teach online or hybrid courses prior to June 30, 2022 who choose to earn their Certificate are ineligible to receive a stipend. Adjunct faculty members teaching online or hybrid courses who earn the iTeach@MU [Online Basics Certificate on or after July 1, 2022 may be eligible for a stipend provided funding is available.

Administrative Duties

It is the responsibility of the department chair to verify that faculty members teaching online or hybrid courses in their departments have met these requirements. ETS will maintain records of faculty members who have been awarded the iTeach@MU certificate as well as individual badges. Submission of training with outside entities for the Online Pedagogy Institute will be recorded by ETS.

Consultants for the Office of Continuing Education currently teaching or scheduled to teach online or hybrid courses are also eligible to participate in the LMS and OPI trainings resulting in a certificate.

Intellectual Property

All elements associated with this preparatory training are subject to the University’s Intellectual Property Policy. Any copyrightable material created by a covered individual pursuant to Section IIIB (1)-(4) of the Intellectual Property Policy shall be shared in ownership by the University and the covered individual.

Related Policies

Related Committees


02/19/2020 – The President of the University approved the establishment of this policy as recommended by the Academic Council at their January 8, 2020 meeting.
12/10/2020 – The President of the University approved the changes recommended by the Academic Council at their December 9, 2020 meeting.