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Teacher-Related Policies

Contracts & Licensure: Online teaching and learning raises numerous teacher contract issues. Traditional teacher contracts define the school day, number of work hours and the school calendar. Although it is certainly possible to design your program so that the same rules apply to online teachers, that’s not always the best scenario. Policies and contracts can play a critical role in maximizing the flexibility and the attractiveness of online teaching, and the effectiveness of learning. … more info

Special Licensure, Job Assignment Category, and Professional Development: States and schools are debating the benefits and pitfalls of having a special licensure or job category for online instruction. Some states require specific training for online teachers. This section describes the pros and cons of such specialization and provides suggestions for how your decisions can be put into policy. …more info

Teacher-Student Contact Time: Many programs choose to require some amount of face time for their online participants. In some cases, this choice is tied to state funding or attendance requirements. Some programs define how much teacher-student or student-student interaction should be incorporated into a course, including expectations regarding how quickly teachers are expected to respond to phone calls, emails or postings. …more info

Teacher Evaluation: Online classes provide the opportunity to evaluate teachers with detailed scrutiny. Special challenges related to administrative expertise, evaluation techniques, and data privacy need to be considered and addressed in policy to ensure supportive evaluation, clear understanding, and responsive professional development. …more info

Intellectual Property: Teachers play roles as both producers and consumers of intellectual property. In the online environment, many of the usual laws and policies apply, but the impact can extend far beyond the local photocopier, raising the stakes for both the teacher and the school system. Who owns the materials that teachers produce? What constitutes “fair use?” Policies can help protect both the teacher and the school from inappropriate uses and misunderstandings. …more info

One aspect of online learning that can complicate teacher-related policies is the potential of your program crossing of school, district, and state boundaries. Here are some questions to consider as you deal with these issues.