It is very important to design an online course in a way that supports students to get started on the right foot (Chico, 2009). When a student starts an online course, they read the essential course information (syllabus, course expectations, instructor introduction) and learn about the course policies and expectations. Otherwise, miscommunications can happen due to a lack of understanding of the essential course information. To address this, one strategy is to create a Course Contract Assignment for your students to complete during the first week. This ensures that students have reviewed the essential course documents, e.g. syllabus, for the most important items. Also, if a student claims he or she was not aware of a policy, you can review the course contract assignment with the student.
Link to example artifact(s)
Dr. Stacy Tanner from the University of Central Florida created a course contract assignment to help her students learn about course policies in her course. This course contract assignment was created for an undergraduate humanities survey course with sixty students. The assignment is a file that students must download and save with a unique file name (that includes his or her last name). They must then read each statement. Then each student must electronically sign by typing his or her name in each blank. The student will save the file again and proceed to upload the file to the designated submission link within the respective LMS. She used the course contract assignment in order to meet several goals for the first week of classes.
- First, like many institutions of higher education, student attendance is tracked early on in the semester (Center for Distributed Learning, 2015).
- Second, she wants to ensure her students understand key university, departmental, and course policies right out of the gate.
- Third, she wants her students to be comfortable submitting their assignment files electronically to the college or university’s learning management system (LMS).
- Finally, she wants my students to understand how they retrieve originality reports from the Turnitin system within the LMS system.
Below are her assignment instructions:
“Fill out this form with your information and then save the file. It is good practice to name the file with your last name when you save it. Then upload and submit it under the assignment submission link provided in the top right-hand corner. Once you completed the submission, you should take a screen shot of the accepted and successful submission of the assignment. It is good practice to always complete this action. In this way, you will always have documentation of submission. This exercise offers students practice with the submission process within Webcourses. It is always the student’s responsibility to ensure proper submission of paper assignments. This exercise also familiarizes students with the originality reports generated from the Turnitin system. You can see the originality report by clicking on the Turnitin icon. This assignment is required. Everyone must submit this form by the end of the first week of classes. This is the assignment that verifies your enrollment in the course and is required to adhere to university policy.”
Download a copy of Dr. Tanner’s course contract sample here: File:Course Contract Assignment.pdf.
This assignment was created for Canvas and may require edits based upon the LMS system used at your institution.
Link to scholarly reference(s)
Center for Distributed Learning (2015). UCF financial aid requirement. University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL. Retrieved from:
Chico. (2009). Rubric for online instruction. California State University, Chico. Retrieved from http://www.csuchico.edu/eoi/documents/rubricpdf
CitationTanner, S. (2015). Create a course contract assignment to help students learn about course policies. In Chen, B., deNoyelles, A., & Thompson, K. (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning. Retrieved November 21, 2017 from https://topr.online.ucf.edu/create-a-course-contract-assignment-to-help-students-learn-about-course-policies/.
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