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California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Proposal for Online and Blended Courses 2020-21

Cal Poly's Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology provides support and informed and consistent quality reviews for all faculty who are teaching online and blended courses, and promotes online course development across the University. 



Campus Quality Assurance Goals

Our goals for the 2020-21 academic year included:

  • Summer training for approximately 200 faculty in our Introduction to Online Teaching & Learning (IOTL) workshop
  • Provide training and stipends to five faculty for our annual Quality Online Teaching Academy, with the goal of five course reviews
  • Revision of our Course Modality Proposal system for post-emergency teaching in '21-22
  • Creation of a new course peer review pipeline to help faculty achieve Q2 and course review status

Background on Quality Assurance Efforts 

In the past year, the CTLT has expanded support for quality online and hybrid course development, so we have experience and existing programming to build upon through this new CSU initiative. CTLT’s current support for online and hybrid courses has included multimedia, web conferencing, OER online materials, and UDL, as well as a strong online delivery through the Flipped Classroom courses.

In the past few years, we have felt this was a slow-moving process, but this year we have seen much of our hard work and preparation pay off well with a surge of interest in quality online courses. The QA grants have given us a solid foundation for creating resources and feedback that align with the highest standards in online teaching, and that has gone a long way toward calming the concerns of faculty in regards to online teaching.

Next Steps for QA Efforts 

In the coming year, we anticipate more workshops to help faculty reconcile their efforts in producing quality online courses with the campus directive to return to face to face teaching. We have had some assurance from the campus administration that online courses will be a higher priority in the future, and we will continue to offer a robust training schedule to accommodate the needs of faculty as they develop online and blended courses. Our offerings are currently entirely online in the form of both self-paced and fully interactive workshops, and we anticipate offering on-site, in-person workshops in Winter 2022.

About Cal Poly's CTLT

Our program:

Cal Poly’s primary quality assurance activities supporting online education are offered through our Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology (CTLT), located in the Robert E. Kennedy Library. The QA team is led by Catherine Hillman, Instructional Designer (and also current faculty in the College of Business), and the team offers robust support in the areas of teaching pedagogy, Learning Management System (Moodle), Multimedia and other content development and delivery, Accessibility, and assessment.

Quality Assurance Lead
  • Catherine Hillman, MS Ed.

Instructional Design Team

  • Pamela Dougherty, MS Ed.
  • Tonia Malone, MS Ed.

Supporting Campus Partners 

  • Academic Programs & Planning
  • Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Quality Assurance Project Results

Training Completions


Goals Achieved:


  • Over 300 faculty completed our Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning course in Summer and Fall 2020
  • Five faculty completed the Quality Online Teaching Academy (QOTA) and we have decided to table this program for the following year
  • three workshop days delivered, with 3-9 attendees at each event before Covid-19 arrived


Course Peer Review and Course Certifications

This year saw more faculty than ever complete Q1 and Q2 training! Covid-conversion teaching and our massive adoption of the Intro to Online Teaching and Learning (IORL) workshop and Creating Accessible Course Materials (CACM) workshops, which equate to Q1, allowed us to send more faculty to Q2. We saw several faculty begin to offer peer review services through the OCS.


Student Quality Assurance Impact Research 

This past year we had two faculty (Anelise Sabbag and Samuel Frame) return to research student engagement in online environments and the impact this has on retention, grades and other student success factors. Those faculty will again be participating in the full SQAIR project in the coming year. 


Accessibility/UDL Efforts


We have continued the process of adopting ALLY into our Canvas LMS, and this year we piloted the program with a group of faculty and we foresee full adoption as of Fall 2020.


New Blended / Hybrid Workshop

This summer launches a new phase in our Covid Conversion response as we launch a new series of workshops to help faculty migrate their online courses back into the classroom with some seat time substitution. The focus is on moving active learning into the classroom while keeping the passive learning components in the online environment to foster student-driven learning and better collaborative activities. The first workshop will launch in early July and these three-week offerings continue through August.

Innovative Topics - Lunchtime Discussions

In winter of 2020, prior to the pandemic, we offered new workshops on effective Canvas use, Canvas assessment tools, and opportunities for developing hybrid or online courses.

In all, we offered approximately ten workshops for Canvas, and four drop-in workshops for online course development. Little did we know how things would change! We do plan on continuing this series in winter of 2022, if protocols allow.