Online Faculty Responsibilities

Photo by nosha via Flickr CC-BY-SA of sign in woods that reads ResponsibilityFaculty who teach any course as fully online at Foothill College have the following responsibilities:

Regular and Effective Contact

The Foothill College Academic Senate has formulated the following best practices and guidelines for Regular, Timely and Effective Student/Faculty Contact in online/distance education courses: 

"Faculty must provide substantive feedback within a reasonable time as outlined in the course syllabus. Faculty/Student Communication Process including the timeframe for faculty response to student communications. A response time of 24-48 hours, Monday through Friday is desirable but may vary based on course requirements and extenuating circumstances. It must be clear whether or not the instructor will be available after hours or on weekends and holidays."

Attendance Documentation

The 2010 Resolution by Foothill College Faculty Academic Senate states (See Foothill Senate Definition of Attendance for Online Courses):

"In compliance with federal requirements to document student attendance in online classes, faculty must record a weekly academically related activity such as discussion forum posting, online quiz, reflection, assignment, exam, email, field trip, telephone call or electronic communication at least through week 7 or the drop with W deadline for each student in an online class.  This is in line with our commitment to best practices of Regular, Timely and Effective Student/Faculty Contact as approved by the Faculty Senate and submitted by faculty on the "Course Approval Application for Online/Distance Learning Delivery" and vital to students receiving financial aid."

The 2011 Faculty Handbook states:

"It is the student's responsibility to officially drop a class after notifying the instructor. Students should be reminded of this early in the quarter. If, however, a student does not officially drop a class, the instructor should drop the student when, in the judgment of the instructor, the student has ceased to attend class or when the number of absences prevent the student from meeting the objectives of the course.  For financial aid and international visa status purposes, students must be attending the course regularly, as well as contributing in an academically appropriate manner, to remain in a course. Note: The date of last attendance should be the date the instructor decides to drop a student in accordance with the instructor's attendance policy and not the date the student last attended class."

Hybrid Hours

Hybrid courses have one or more hours taught online as well as hours taught on campus each week. They are designated with a “Y” at the end of the section number. Participation in weekly hybrid hours MUST be documented.

The Syllabus must indicate:

  • The number of hours that are “hybrid” per week
  • Whether the “hybrid” hour(s) is/are lecture, lab, or lecture-lab, as indicated in the Course Outline of Record.
  • Student attendance/participation during the “hybrid” hour(s) is mandatory.

The Foothill College Faculty Academic Senate supports "Guidelines for Documentation of Hybrid Hours." See below for information about Hybrid Hours. All these materials were developed by the Committee on Online Learning (COOL) between Dec 2011 - March 2012.

Accessibility Compliance

The 2011 Resolution by Foothill College Faculty Academic Senate strongly encourages faculty to familiarize themselves with the requirements specified in the Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines for Students with Disabilities and to take immediate steps to ensure that their online courses and materials are in compliance with these guidelines.

See Foothill Senate Resolution Distance Education Accessibility. All online courses must comply with 2011 Distance Education Accessibility Requirement Guidelines for Students with Disabilities.

Tutorials and guidelines are available at Accessibility and Universal Design.

Copyright and Fair Use

Under District Board Policy 3250, publishing copyrighted material without the consent of the owner on District websites (including Etudes) in violation of copyright laws is prohibited. Illegal reproduction of material protected by U.S. Copyright Law is subject to civil damages and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. For more information and guidelines, see Copyright, Fair Use, and TEACH Act.

Course Site Setup

Faculty who plan to use Etudes should submit a request for a live Etudes course site via MyPortal about five weeks before the start of the next quarter.  See Instructions for requesting an Etudes course site.

If you do not plan to use Etudes for your fully online course, please provide enrolled students with course access information via your Course Summary and/or email message.

Publish Course Sites

Be sure that the site for your fully online course is available for students to access by the start of the term.

New live Etudes course sites are unpublished when they are set up initially. If the course site is un-published before the quarter starts, faculty need to remember to publish it again before the quarter begins. Be sure to un-publish your course site after the quarter ends.

To publish or unpublish an Etudes course site:

1. Login to your course site
2. Click on Site Setup
3. Click on the Edit icon (yellow pencil) for Publish

Course Info Updates

Students look for information about how to access the course and required textbooks in your Course Summary on the Foothill Global Access Course Info website.  Please update your Course Summary EACH quarter to be sure that the information is accurate. See Instructions for Updating Course Summary. If you need assistance with updating your Course Info, please contact Judy Baker at 650-949-7388.

Textbook Adoption

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) law took effect on July 1, 2010. Under this law, if an instructor is requiring a textbook, it MUST to be posted on our Bookstore website.  This is so that when a student registers, he/she knows what book is used (by ISBN), price, and if it has any components. This means that it is IMPERATIVE that you respond in a timely and accurate manner when the Bookstore asks for your textbook adoptions each quarter. Accurate information about required textbooks should also be included in the your Course Summary.

Etudes Certification

Faculty who plan to teach any course using Etudes for an upcoming quarter must have completed Etudes training (either ETU 101A, 101B, 101C, and 101D at the Foothill College campus or online from Etudes, Inc.).  For details, visit Faculty Training. Call Judy Baker at 650-949-7388 if you have questions about Etudes training.

Use of Alternatives to Etudes

Faculty can use whatever delivery method they choose for online instruction, however, student verification obligations and other responsibilities exist for use of alternatives to Etudes.  Instructors should be aware of the added responsibilities and workload associated with using alternatives to Etudes.

The faculty responsibilities associated with using an instructional delivery method other than Etudes include:

  • Instructors must take responsibility for enrollment management and online course login/access.
    • Secure and password-protected access to the course MUST be used to ensure student authentication under federal requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
  • Instructors must take responsibility for ensuring the privacy of student information, meeting accessibility requirements, and complying with fair use and copyright guidelines.
  • Instructors must provide their own tech support.
  • Instructor must provide their own login assistance to students.
  • Due to lack of standardization, students who take several online courses delivered using a variety of methods will be confused by the differences in navigation, layout, procedures, and course access.

FGA is not able to provide -

  • Orientation sessions, tech support, or login assistance for students.
  • Instructional design assistance for course development. 
  • Training in use of alternatives to Etudes for online course delivery.

Also, see 7 Things You Should Know about Alternatives to LMS

Reminder: As always when using social networking sites, be mindful to avoid publishing, posting, or releasing any information about students or colleagues that is considered confidential. Please do not post photos and coursework of students without their permission.

Census Verification

Verifying Census is a state requirement for which the college is audited annually. It is very important that instructors first drop any students who have not attended the class before the Census Date, and then click on the "Sign Census" button on that date.

  • Detailed instructions can be found at Reporting Census.
  • For a twelve week class the Census Date is the third Monday of the quarter.

Proctored Testing

Scheduled Exams on Campus

If you have an online class that will have a scheduled exam on campus, it is up to you to handle -
  • booking the room
  • informing your students of place and time
  • proctoring the exam

Proctored Exams at the Testing Center

If a student cannot attend your scheduled on-campus exam due a conflict with another class, then you need to send an email to the Testing Center ( with full name of the student and information about the date and time that student is allowed to sit for the exam in the Testing Center. There is no charge to students for this service.
  • Please tell your student to go to Choose Exam ( to schedule an appointment at the Testing Center. The student should select FH Online Exams only.
The Testing Center will NOT proctor any "make-up" final exams for students who miss scheduled on-campus final exams. Make-up testing is considered the instructor's responsibility.

Remote Proctored Exams

If any of your online students cannot attend your scheduled on-campus final exam due to distance or transportation challenges, please provide them with information about remote proctoring arrangements that are acceptable to you.

FERPA - Student Privacy

The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended provides for the rights of students and their families with respect to student educational records maintained by the institution. The act provides the students with the right to (l) inspect and review their educational records, (2) restrict the disclosure of their record, and (3) seek to amend their record. Students have the right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential and will be disclosed only with their permission or under provision of the law.

Keep Student Educational Records confidential – Clear “History” (cache) before closing browser.

For more details, download FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff.