Regular and Substantive Interaction
To ensure that federal financial aid funds are used appropriately, the U.S. Department of Education requires that online courses include regular and substantive interaction. This mandate states that faculty teaching online must interact in meaningful ways with their students on a regular basis and that interactions must be substantive and academic in nature.
The Office of Teaching Innovation and Digital Education recommends that the following strategies be used to help meet federal RSI policy:
- Instructors will offer and publish in the course syllabus fixed, regular office hours weekly equal to the number of credits awarded by the course.
- For virtual office hours, use the Zoom videoconferencing tool.
- How to Make Virtual Office Hours Work for You and Your Students (Arizona State University)
- Using Office Hours Effectively (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
- Instructors will respond to email and voicemail from students within 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays.
- Write a communication plan for your online course. See this example from Oregon State Ecampus.
- Instructors in the program should complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of training in online pedagogy and federal regulation compliance,which may be fulfilled through completion of faculty development opportunities provided by OTIDE.
- Instructors in the program should complete a minimum of eight hours of training per year after initial training that will include information on federal regulation compliance. OTIDE can provide resources to facilitate this best practice.
- See our Calendar of Events for current faculty development opportunities.
For training to help you meet these expectations, see the Calendar of Events for workshop opportunities.