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Learning Management System Use Policy


POLICY STATEMENT


To assist the University in maintaining compliance with applicable policy, procedures, and law, this policy addresses important considerations in the use of a Learning Management System (LMS) at Delta State University. The Office of Information Technology administers the LMS to ensure optimal performance, manage user accounts, safeguards user privacy and data, and provide technical support for University faculty and students.

Instructure Canvas is the official LMS supported by the University. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, and others who use Delta State’s instance of Instructure Canvas, herein collectively referred to as “Canvas.”

This policy does not cover independent use of any LMS which is not supported as the official University LMS, nor external tools not managed by the University which instructors might deploy to supplement their courses (e.g. external blogs, wikis, e-packs, etc).


DEFINITIONS


Asynchronous Learning: A teaching method that uses online learning resources to facilitate learning. In asynchronous learning course members are not required to be online at the same time, therefore, students can work at their convenience. Instructors use technology (e.g. LMS, e-packs, forums, email, videos, etc.) to deliver instructional content such as lectures and exams that can be accessed at any time. Although the course is not delivered in real time, students are provided deadlines and specific timeframes to complete course assignments.

Blended or Hybrid or Mixed-Mode Course: Web-based technologies are used to replace one-third or more of traditional face-to-face instruction. Online learning activities are used to reduce the number of required meetings, or contact times. Online activity is comparable to class meetings in terms of rigor and time commitment. Students are required to participate in regularly scheduled class meetings as well as participate in the online activity which may be synchronous or asynchronous.

Faculty Training Lab: The Faculty Training Lab is maintained by OIT in 114 Bailey and is designated for Delta State faculty and staff training. Instructional Technology staff will conduct instructional technology workshops and LMS training in the lab throughout the academic year. When there is no OIT training in session, faculty and staff may reserve the lab facilities (including podcast rooms) as needed to develop course content or host workshops during University regular operating hours.

LMS: A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or web-based technology used to administer, deliver, and assess electronic educational technology courses and/or programs. The current approved LMS for the University is Instructure Canvas.

Master Class Shell: A manually created class site within the LMS. A master shell is not integrated with Banner since it is for development purposes only and will not receive official student rosters from Banner. Master class shells appear in the account of the individual who creates the course. Master shells contain all the basic tools and features that can be used to create content and populate term shells using the Import function in the LMS. Instructional Technology staff provides limited technical support for master class shells including template import, training, and LMS troubleshooting. Master class owners must not add regular term students to master shells in place of those students enrolling in the actual term course. Any rosters created and activities generated in master shells must be maintained by the class shell owner.

Online Courses: A course is considered to be online when all course activity is conducted through the learning management system. Course activity may be asynchronous or synchronous. Online courses do not require face-to-face sessions on campus, however, some online courses may require other site-based course activities such as proctored testing at approved testing sites or practicum experiences.

Departmental Class Shell: A shell site created for institutional use within the LMS. Other class shells may be created by University faculty and administration (e.g. groups, departments, colleges, etc.) in support of institutional goals including professional development, accreditation visits, resource centers, and committee facilitation. Instructional Technology provides limited technical support for departmental class shells including training and LMS troubleshooting. Departmental shells are not integrated with Banner and course rosters must be created and maintained by the class shell owner. Instructional Technology will develop departmental class shells upon request.

Synchronous: Web-based technologies are used to extend classroom lectures and discussions to students at remote sites in real time.

Term Course Shell: An official course site within the LMS. A standard course shell is generated in Canvas from Banner for each course automatically for all regular academic term courses listed in the Registrar’s course schedule. Course shells are linked to the account of the individual named as the Instructor of Record with Academic Affairs. Each shell contains basic course information including a course roster and gradebook as well as access to LMS course development tools. Instructors must not add nor remove students listed on the course roster in the term course shells; however, Observers, TAs, and other Teachers may be added to the course as needed. Instructional Technology staff provides full technical support for the term course shells including instructional design, template imports, tool support, and roster maintenance.

University Template: The required format for online course development which outlines content and layout. The Online Teaching/Learning Advisory Group developed the template in Spring 2014 in an effort to support positive student learning outcomes. The template was designed based on e-learning best practices, Quality Matters, and current instructional needs. The goals of the template are to facilitate accessibility, promote consistency among DSU online courses, and provide students with tools to succeed in online courses. The template contains pre-populated areas including Course Support, Help, and Resources to support student learning. The template also contains specific areas which course instructors must customize based on his/her instructional needs including Modules, Assignments, and an About the Instructor page.

Web-enhanced Courses: Web-based technologies are used to extend classroom lectures and complement class meetings without reducing the number of required meeting times. Faculty will hold regularly scheduled class meetings and use the LMS to house course content including assignments, course syllabus, and quizzes which students can access remotely at their convenience. An alternate template is available for web-enhanced courses.


PROCEDURES and RESPONSIBILITIES


The Office of Information Technology (OIT) through its Instructional Technology staff supports faculty instructional efforts to utilize Canvas for traditional and non-traditional classes. The Instructional Technology staff administers the LMS, provides technical support, offers instructional design services, and delivers training to faculty in best practices of online course development and instructional technology implementation.

The Office of Information Technology also intends to improve student success by ensuring optimal performance of the LMS by overseeing system access authorizations, managing account creations, maintaining system operations, training users, and providing technical support.

Applicability

This policy shall apply to faculty, staff, and students utilizing the University LMS for instructional and/or learning purposes.

LMS Appropriate Use Policy

  1. All users of the LMS must adhere to the University’s Appropriate Use of Computing and Network Resources policy (https://www.deltastate.edu/policies/policy/university-policies/technology/operation-and-responsibility/appropriate-use-of-computing-and-network-resources/).
  2. Delivery and access to copyright materials in LMS must adhere to guidelines set forth in the College’s Intellectual Property policy and comply with Copyright Law (Title 17 of the United States Code http://www.copyright.gov/title17/). In addition, copyright use must comply with University Policy. Please note that Canvas may restrict access to course materials for which authenticated users do not have the authorized use of copyright text, images, etc.
  3. Delta State University is not responsible for the accuracy, integrity, and/or legality of the content uploaded to the LMS by its students, staff, or faculty. The University is not responsible for content linked from LMS to external web sites.
  4. All users of the LMS must not use the system for purposes other than University-affiliated activities. Only sponsored agencies connected to the University including accrediting agency representatives, presenters, and course observers may be granted access to Canvas with approval from the appropriate channels including academic Chairs and Deans or other University Executive including the Provost or the President’s office. Instructional Technology staff should be notified when course owners add any external agent has been added to the system.
  5. All employees who have access to student information in the LMS are required to adhere to the safeguards included in the University’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) Policy to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of protected student information.
  6. All users of the LMS are responsible for maintaining the security of usernames, passwords and any other access credentials assigned. Access credentials may not be shared or given to anyone other than the user to whom they were assigned.
  7. Access to the LMS is granted to currently enrolled students and instructors of record for published term courses. Course rosters are generated via official enrollments in Banner. Course owners and administrators should not grant course access to students not listed in the official roster using student email addresses.
  8. Faculty and staff hosting a course in Canvas shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws and all institutional and IHL rules, policies, and procedures.
  9. Illegal content or content that is in violation of the University’s policies or contractual agreements shall be removed from a course account if requested by the instructor of record or other appropriate academic administrator.

User Management and Access

  1. All users of LMS must access the system through a designated account which will be issued by the Office of Information Technology and is the same as the user’s Delta State University network username and password.
  2. The instructor(s) of record (IOR) and students enrolled in a course as listed in Banner will have access to the course site in the LMS.
    1. The IOR may manually enroll additional users to a course and specify users’ roles including Teachers, Observers, TAs, and Designers.
    2. Official student enrollments will be managed from Banner including adding new students, student withdrawals, and drops.
  3. For purposes of managing program curriculum and continuous quality control, departmental chairs and designated college leaders can request course access from Instructional Technology staff and will be granted access to term courses to review and perform assessment activity including, but not limited to, viewing learning outcomes, course analytics, and usage.
  4. Faculty may not create Master Class Shells on behalf of external users and former students and extend system access to said users for the purposes of pursuing activity unrelated to official University business. Any such accounts discovered will be removed by Instructional Technology staff.
  5. Access to the LMS may be disabled or suspended for users who display inappropriate behavior per the University’s Acceptable Use Policy and other guiding policies that define appropriate conduct for University employees and students. Students who misuse the LMS will be referred to the appropriate University judicial body.

User Responsibilities

  1. All users are responsible for conformance to University policies and procedures, as well as meeting technical requirements to access course content.
    1. Users must have reliable access to internet.
    2. Users must regularly upgrade their personal browsers to meet minimum requirements for accessing LMS content. The current LMS is designed to operate efficiently in the latest two versions of the chosen browser. OIT recommends that users use the latest version of Mozilla Firefox for best results. Other acceptable browsers include Safari and Internet Explorer.
  2. Faculty should notify Instructional Technology staff of their intent to integrate third-party software, external applications, and e-packs which may require additional support and/or result in additional integration costs for the University.
  3. Faculty should ensure that all content meets ADA requirements for accessibility. Faculty who need assistance with meeting ADA requirements should contact Instructional Technology staff for assistance with tools and support to develop compliant content.
  4. All users must maintain an air of decorum when creating personal profiles. This includes profile pictures and display names. Users may not create profiles containing demeaning or derogatory language nor images deemed as vulgar or otherwise offensive. Users may report offensive profiles to the Instructional Technology staff. Any profiles reported or discovered will be investigated and removed accordingly.

Support

The Office of Information Technology is responsible for technical support of the University LMS and does so by providing 24/7 technical support for the LMS 365 days a year. On-campus users can visit the OIT office in Bailey 102 to receive assistance during regular University business hours on weekdays.

Users can also obtain help outside of regular business hours by using one of the following methods:

  1. Email the helpdesk@deltastate.edu
  1. Phone the office at 662-846-4444 or toll free at 866-264-1465
  1. Use the Help Button to select OIT Help Desk Online and complete a Service Now ticket

Training for Users

The Instructional Technology staff regularly offers training in the form of professional development workshops, one-on-one consultations, webinars, and group trainings. The training schedule is rotated monthly and faculty may register for sessions that meet their needs at:

https://www.deltastate.edu/about-dsu/administration/technology-support-oit/monthly-instructional-technology-training/

As well, faculty may utilize OIT’s Faculty Lab and podcast rooms located in Bailey 114 for customized training sessions and/or to receive individual guidance from the instructional design team. Open lab hours will be published to assist users in scheduling.

Instructional Technology staff will maintain the Electronic Learning Network blog and social media accounts to distribute additional resources and training information to support faculty instructional needs.

Instructional Technology staff facilitates online Canvas Orientation courses for faculty and students which can be accessed in the LMS Help button. Instructional Technology develops specific video tutorials and written documents for the LMS and other OIT-supported tools for students. In addition, Instructional Technology staff will perform LMS presentations to on-ground courses as requested by faculty members.


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