For online courses, COMAR 13A.03.02.05D(1) specifies that “Consistent with local school system policy and procedure, credit may be given for…Department-approved online courses.” The State Department of Education has developed an approval process for online courses that are administered by a local school system. This approval process helps ensure the quality of the online courses offered by our public schools and ensures that such courses align with the Maryland Common Core State Standards and Core Learning Goals. Credit can only be awarded for MSDE-approved online courses.
An online course is a course provided through the Internet and others technologies in which eighty percent or more of the instruction is conducted online with the teacher and student separated by distance or time or both and in which two-way communication between the teacher and students is required.
Course Review Standards
Each MVS online course has been reviewed by a panel of highly qualified teachers who examined the courses for alignment with state and national content standards and assessments and for their alignment with the MSDE instructional design standards.
In addition, these online classes are from providers who have been approved by one or more of the six accrediting agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education (North Central, New England, Middle States, Southern, Northwest and Western Associations.) Accrediting information can be obtained from the web site of the International Council of School Accreditation Commissions.
The online course teachers meet the criteria of highly qualified as defined by federal legislation (Elementary and Secondary Education Act).
An experienced Online Instructor will help your student through the course, monitor their progress, answer questions about course material, provide feedback on assignments, and issue recommended midterm and final grades (your student’s school has final grading authority). The Online Instructor must be certificated in the content of the course and have completed training in teaching online courses. If the teacher is teaching one of the AP courses, the teacher must also have recent experience or training in teaching that particular AP course to K-12 students. Class size shall not exceed 20 – 25 students, depending upon the course. Most classes are under 20.
Online Instructors must also meet the following guidelines:
- Establish procedures to monitor students to ensure academic honesty;
- Respond to students’ email and phone calls within 24 hours of submission during the work week;
- Maintain the current grade average so that it is not more than one week old;
- Correct assignments not scored by the course management program within one week;
- Respond to students’ parents, school site-coordinators, and MVLO coordinator requests for information within 48 hours of submission during the work week;
- Issue progress reports monthly and shall issue Failure Warning notification to parents, site-coordinators, and MVLO coordinator, if needed.