ASCRC Minutes 1/22/08


Members Present: I. Crummy, J. Graham, E. Henderson, S. Lodmell, J. Luckowski, P. Muench, K. Nalty, P. Silverman, L. Tangedahl, H. Thompson, G. Weix

Members Absent/Excused: J. Cox, J. Burfeind, M. Nielsen


Ex-Officio Present: M. Hoell, D. Micus, A. Walker-Andrews

Guest: Associate Dean Tompkins

Chair Thompson called the meeting to order at 2:15 p.m.

Approval of the minutes was postponed.


  • Communicative Science Proposals have been received. The Education and Fine Arts Subcommittee may wish to have assistance from a faculty member with knowledge of the discipline-Diana Lurie in Pharmaceutical Science was recommended. It was also noted that two general education forms were submitted for social science designation. Due to the pending revision of the general education program and the late submission of the forms, consideration of the courses for general education will be tabled until the new criteria have been approved.
  • ECOS will be meeting with the Provost to discuss the issue of non-tenure faculty proposing courses. Chair Thompson will attend the meeting as well.
  • Professor Economides is on sabbatical this semester and will be replaced by Professor Blunt.

Business Items:


Curriculum Review- Social Science Subcommittee

Follow-up responses are pending for several courses and the subcommittee needs to review the revised course form for GEOG UG 405. EVST is appealing ASCRC's decision on EVST 460 & 470.  Len Broberg, EVST Chair will attend the 2/5/08 meeting.

Principles of Quality for Online Courses

After discussion, ASCRC approved the document with one minor editorial correction (See appended).  After the document is approved by the Faculty Senate the committee will identify best practices.

Review of Service Learning Courses
After the criteria for service learning courses are approved at the February 14th Faculty Senate meeting, ASCRC will need to review the courses.   The form will be posted to the Senate's website and a communication will go out to department chairs and then to all faculty members.  The deadline for submission will be March 3rd.  Professor Silverman served on the Service Learning Advisory Board and its members are willing to continue on the committee to review the courses.   A draft communication will be prepared for information at the February Faculty Senate Meeting.  

Provost's context for baccalaureate degree
The Provost would like to visit with ASCRC again to discuss possibilities for the baccalaureate degree context.  It is unclear whether ASCRC or Academic Affairs should establish a committee to research and evaluate possibilities.  Members could be drawn from First Year Interest Group Instructors, the General Education Committee, and ASCRC.

Consideration of increase in upper-division credit requirement
The responses from departments were discussed briefly.  Although the response rate was poor, some departments would support a minor increase, but most were concerned about students' ability to complete in 120 credits, transfer students in particular would have difficulty meeting additional upper-division credit requirements.  This seems to be in conflict with the Board of Regents focus on transferability issues.  Considering an increase in upper-division credits at the same time general education revision is focusing on introductory and foundational courses is counter productive.

The committee questioned the reason behind the request. It is not directly related to revenue because revenue is tied to the total number of credits not the course level. It could be related to the difficulty tracking students and the traditional idea that an undergraduate degree includes two years of upper-division course work. 

To fully understand the impact of a change a data analysis should be conducted to determine whether students would be disadvantaged by the increase.  The qualitative differences between the levels should be better articulated as well.  Professor Tangedahl agreed to chair a subcommittee to look at this information.  Chair Thompson will make a report to the Faculty Senate and ask for additional volunteers.

General Education Committee update
the Committee met on December 10th and established a goal of completing criteria drafts by February 29th so that ASCRC can discuss them in March.  The hope is for criteria to be submitted to the Faculty Senate in April for vote at the May meeting.

The Symbolic Systems Subcommittee is having difficulty coming to consensus and Professor Weix will attempt to mediate.  The challenge lies in the lack of coherence and agreement in terms of the intention of the category.   Symbolic systems is perceived by many as an alternative to foreign language rather than a valid category of its own.

The Ethics Subcommittee is including all current upper-division ethics course instructors in a dialogue regarding the draft criteria to attempt to mitigate some of the perceived problems.    

Writing Committee update
The Writing Committee will be revising the writing course guidelines and creating a frequently asked questions document that will go through ASCRC/ECOS and then be sent to all faculty for input. 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 pm.

Principles of Quality for Online Courses______________




This document articulates the core principles governing the design and delivery of online courses at The University of Montana. The specific implementations of these principles will certainly vary as technology changes and teaching and learning methodologies evolve, but the principles themselves should persist.

Ultimately, a single principle governing all of this is that all course elements (objectives, learning activities, interactions, instructional materials, technologies, and assessments) work together to ensure that students achieve the desired learning outcomes and that an online course is equivalent in quality and academic rigor as a well-executed face-to-face course.[i]

Core Principles

1.  Course Overview and Introduction: The overall design of the course, navigational information, as well as course, instructor, and student information are made clear to the student at the beginning of the course.[ii]

2.  Learning Objectives: Learning objectives are clearly defined and explained.  They help the student focus on learning activities.

3.  Assessment: Assessment strategies use established ways to measure effective learning, are aligned to the learning objectives, and are designed as essential to the learning process.[iii]

4.  Resources and Materials: Instructional materials are sufficiently comprehensive to achieve course objectives and learning outcomes.

5.  Learner Interaction: The effective design of instructor-student interaction, meaningful student cooperation, and student-content interaction is essential to student motivation, intellectual commitment, and personal development.[iv]

6.  Course Technology: Technology used in the course should enrich instruction and foster learner interactivity.[v]

7.  Learner Support: The course is effectively supported for students through fully accessible modes of delivery, resources, and student support.

8.  Accessibility: The course materials, interactions, and policies are designed to accommodate all students.

The following footnotes represent cross-references to the standards document that the Online Subcommittee of ASCRC developed.

[i] Online courses should be the equivalent of face-to-face courses in quality, rigor, accessibility and the use of pedagogical best practices. 

[ii] Course Overview information and access to the course site is made available on or before the first day of class.

[iii] Students in online courses should receive frequent feedback regarding performance so they know where they stand and can make appropriate adjustments.

[iv] The importance of academic integrity should be strongly emphasized. Instructors and students should take reasonable steps to ensure academic integrity with respect to test-taking, deception, and plagiarism.  A link should be provided to UM's Code of Student Conduct.

[v] Active learning should be encouraged through activities such as case studies, journal writing, role  playing, problem solving, and class discussions.