DE Policies and Procedures: Observations & Evaluations


Per our contract, as well as the 2005-2011 memo of agreement, the following rules apply to administrative observations and evaluations of DE courses.

Online observations and evaluations have been structured such that they follow—to the extent possible—the same policies and procedures used in traditional, on-campus classroom observations and evaluations.

For our members serving as peer observers in colleagues' classes, please note the link to the B1 Online Faculty Form and instructions below.


As noted above, observations in online classes are to follow, as closely as possible, the same policies and procedures as for traditional, on-campus. Due to the difference in modalities, however, observations in online classes must be modified as appropriate. This means:

  1. Observations may be initiated either by the faculty member or by the administration and are to be limited to a reasonable number per year. 
  2. All observations are to be done with the full knowledge of the faculty member being observed.
  3. Observation of online classes must be performed by a DE trained administrator with appropriate knowledge of the subject area and with the faculty member present.
  4. Upon request, the administrator and peer observer will be provided with a 24-hour password for access to the course.
  5. The students in the online course being observed will be notified of both observers' email addresses with the option to share their experiences with the observers. Any information shared with the administrative observer must be shared with the peer observer, and vice versa.

To conduct an observation of an online faculty members, administrators and faculty peers are to complete the B1 Online Faculty Form, which is designed to be as similar as possible to the B1 Form used in on-campus courses.

When completing the B1 Online Form, administrators and peer observers should

  • evaluate the faculty member's effectiveness in response to each of the questions on the form, keeping in mind that in online courses there is a need for higher levels of organization, clarity of communications, and regular, frequent interaction with students.

  • ask the faculty member, during the face-to-face meeting noted in #3 above, to review their class website and course communications with the observers; faculty might choose to share a few emails or discussion forum postings, not necessarily for the specific content of the messages but more for the timeliness of response.

When responding to B1 Online Faculty
Form questions regarding these areas...

...look primarily to these features of
the class website and course materials:

  • faculty knowledge of subject matter
  • appropriateness of workload
  • appropriate evaluative standards in measuring student achievement
  • ability to meet diverse student needs, etc.
  • syllabus, course materials, lecture notes, and overall structure of the course
  • faculty willingness and ability to re-explain information, to answer questions, and to draw up additional references
  • encouragement of effective class participation and/or discussion
  • ability to explain material with clarity and organization
  • evidence of availability to the student via email in a timely manner
  • evidence of regular and punctual attendance and effective discharge of duties that affect students (e.g., rosters, grades, office hours, outlines, return of exams and papers, etc.)
  • class communication and interaction areas (which may include but not be limited to email, synchronous chats, postings to the discussion forums, postings to the announcements area, or recently posted class website pages)
  • positive student attitude toward the course
  • class communication and interaction areas as well as to any student