Faculty Resources


Visit the Distance Education Committee

Online classes offer faculty an exciting and challenging opportunity to deliver instructional content to a broad range of students beyond the WVC campus. At the same time, teaching online entails a significant amount of work and effort on the part of faculty.

Teaching online requires the instructor to have basic computer skills and in-depth knowledge of Canvas and media technologies. Teaching online also requires extensive preparation before the class begins, regular and substantive interaction with students throughout the course, and regular re-evaluation and revision of courses each semester.

Faculty also need to be aware of:

  • Federal and state regulations pertaining to student privacy, copyrights and accessibility as they apply to online courses
  • Accreditation standards for online instruction, including regular and substantive interaction, online pedagogy, and best practices
  • College and District policies on student and faculty responsibilities in online courses

To assist and support faculty teaching online, faculty have access to numerous resources that have been developed within the College as well as resources provided by the Online Education Initiative (OEI), a collaborative effort among the California Community Colleges for high-quality online instruction.

An instructor’s expertise in the virtual classroom extends beyond the skills required in the traditional F2F environment. An effective online instructor:

  • is comfortable with using a computer, Canvas, online tools and technology to create interactive assignments and activities
  • has exceptional organizational and time management skills
  • is committed to meeting the needs of the different learning styles and backgrounds of students.

To assess your readiness to teach online, complete the Faculty Self-Assessment for Online Teaching tool. Note: The results of the assessment will be sent to the email you register with when signing into the assessment tool, and the feedback you receive will reflect the standards of Penn State University, which may not be the same as that of West Valley College.

Faculty who have never taught an online course in the WVMCCC District must complete training in teaching distance education courses (ACE Contract, Section 51.2.A.8), and submit the Faculty Request for Approval to Teach Online/Hybrid form.

Regulations and Policies

Faculty who are teaching online must be especially knowledgeable of:

  • The Canvas learning management system, including Canvas tools
  • Federal and state regulations pertaining to student privacy, copyrights and accessibility as they apply to online courses
  • Accreditation standards for online instruction, including regular and substantive interaction, online pedagogy, and best practices



West Valley College uses a learning management system (LMS) called Canvas.

Canvas allows students to work and collaborate, view lessons, submit assignments, take exams, communicate with instructors and other students, track academic performance and activity, as well as configure, customize and display course reports in a safe, password-protected virtual environment.

Canvas enables faculty to set up and manage courses in a central location, and provides secure delivery of course content and access to teaching and learning anytime anywhere for online courses.

Canvas is a generally intuitive and easy to use LMS, but if you are a new user, or if you need support, please review the Canvas guides in this website, and spend time familiarizing yourself with all of the tools. You can contact Max Gault for Canvas training and support at 408-741-2627 or email him at max.gaultFREEWEST_VALLEY with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Distance education is defined within California's Code of Regulations, Title V, Sections 55202, 55204, 55206 and related sections, and the Chancellor Office's California Community Colleges Distance Education Guidelines 2008 Omnibus Version quotes Section 55200 with the definition:

"Distance education means instruction in which the instructor and student are separated by distance and interact through the assistance of communication technology."

According to those definitions, a course is defined as being Distance Education or "online" if 51% or more of the content and instruction is delivered without F2F physical interaction in a traditional classroom.

In most "online" courses all of the content is delivered electronically and all contact with students happens in the virtual classroom.

Online is a mode of distance education. Content in online courses are delivered electronically; students and instructors meet in virtual classrooms. Online courses are often also called eCourses and mCourses (in reference to electronic and mobile learning).

All online courses must be reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee before they can be delivered electronically/online.

Hybrid courses: there is no official definition of "hybrid" in Title 5, but since there is a definition for online, hybrid is understood to describe a method of delivering course content in which there is a combination of face-to-face and virtual contact between students and instructors. That is, when any portion--up to 50%--of the traditional face-to-face contact hours with students is replaced by virtual contact, the course is hybrid. Hybrid courses are coded and reported to the state as if they are delivered completely in the traditional face-to-face classroom.

Web-enhanced courses are traditional F2F courses that incorporate an unspecified amount of technology to instruct in the classroom.

F2F courses are courses delivered in the traditional, on-campus, classroom where students and instructors are physically present at the same time.

The 2008 Omnibus Version provides guidelines for Section 55204 of Title V; The 2008 Omnibus Version also affirms that it is "the responsibility of the instructor in a DE course to initiate regular contact with enrolled students to verify their participation and performance status. The use of the term 'regular effective contact' in this context suggests that students should have frequent opportunities to ask questions and receive answers from the instructor of record."

"Any portion of a course conducted through distance education includes regular effective contact between instructor and students, through group or individual meetings, orientation and review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, correspondence, voice mail, email, or other activities. Regular effective contact is an academic and professional matter pursuant to sections 53200 et seq."

For online and hybrid teaching and learning, regular and substantive contact is required to meet the Carnegie Unit requirements for academic credit.

The local/WVC definition of "regular and substantive contact" includes required and consistent student engagement in these three types of communication:

  • student with instructor
  • student with student
  • student with content

The 2008 Omnibus Version provides further guidance on Section 55206 of Title V: At WVC, those procedures for approval are established by the Curriculum Committee in consultation with the Distance Learning Committee and Academic Senate.

"If any portion of the instruction in a proposed or existing course or course section is designed to be provided through distance education in lieu of face-to-face interaction between instructor and student, the course shall be separately reviewed and approved according to the districts' adopted course approval procedures."

"While only those courses that are 51% or more DE are reported as DE, the language here is intended to clarify that those courses that are less than 51% DE, but are designed to include a certain number of contact hours offered through DE, still must undergo a separate approval process. The occasional online assignment does not necessitate separate approval."

This is a really important question, since attendance must be verified and reported to the state for apportionment purposes.

The best way to take attendance in an asynchronous learning environment is to make sure that there are weekly assignments or quizzes, and that those assignments are graded in a timely manner, so that there is contact between the student and instructor. Quizzes created in Canvas can be graded automatically.

It is also important to keep a record, including of students who drop the class, and to submit that record to the Admissions and Records office along with final grades.

Last Updated 10/13/20