All faculty teaching Distance Education will include in their Syllabus a statement concerning Regular and Substantive Interaction equivalent to the instructional quality of face to face courses. That interaction will consist of one or more faculty-initiated methods of interaction such as, but not limited to, the following:
  • Weekly participation and/or feedback in discussion forums
  • Weekly announcements
  • Personalized feedback
  • Virtual lectures - such as written or recorded lectures in video and/or audio format
  • Chat, video, and/or voice conferencing, using Zoom.

Note: It is recommended to use video or audio whenever possible, and as a first choice for discussions, announcements, and feedback.

Guidelines for Regular & Substantive Contact

Initiated Interactions Frequency & Timeliness of Interactions
  • Include substance for all types of interaction in the course design.
  • Utilize appropriate media for accessibility.
  • Design daily or weekly assignments and projects that promote collaboration among students.
  • Model course netiquette at the beginning of the semester with instructor-guided introductions. Netiquette is a term derived from network and etiquette, which refers to the appropriate manners and protocol for communication in online interactions.
  • Pose questions in the discussion boards which encourage various types of interaction and critical thinking skills among all participants.
  • Monitor content activity to ensure that students participate fully and discussions remain on topic.
  • Create a specific forum for questions regarding course assignments.
  • Ask students for feedback about the course on a regular basis and revise content as needed.


  • Establish guidelines for frequency of contact that are the same as in the face-to-face classroom.
  • Make known response time for student questions/inquiries and assignment feedback (e.g. 1-2 business days).
  • Maintain an active daily presence, particularly during the beginning weeks of a course.
  • Give frequent and substantive feedback throughout the course.







Expectations for Interactions Absences from Interactions
  • Specify course policy regarding frequency and timeliness of all contact initiated by the instructor in the syllabus.
  • Explain course policy regarding student-initiated contact (where to post questions, assignments, etc.) in the syllabus.
  • Outline and explain netiquette in initial course documents.
  • Clarify important dates, such as assignment and assessment deadlines, not only in the beginning, but also throughout the course.
  • Inform students immediately of course designee should an illness, family emergency, or other unexpected event prevent instructor from continuing regular effective contact for a prolonged period of time.
  • Let students know when instructor-initiated regular and effective contact will continue.


Printable version of Guidelines for Regular & Substantive Contact


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