Summer 2020 Course Assurance

The Office of Academic Affairs is facilitating a process to ensure courses taught during Summer 2020 meet a set of core best practices for online delivery, based on priorities related to accreditation, federal regulations, and student experience and access. 

Summer 2020 Course Expectations

  1. Include regular and substantive academic interactions with the instructor. A course with only readings and assessments does not meet the legal requirement of an online course at Ohio State.
  2. Require a participation activity at least once per week. When providing students with new material, build in some interaction or activity around it, just as you would in an in-person class session.
  3. Ensure instruction time is equivalent to an in-person class of the same credit hours. An online course should not be any harder or easier than if it were offered in-person. The content and rigor should be the same.
  4. Include expectations about the format and modality of the course in the syllabus. Be explicit about how students are going to engage with the course (e.g., synchronous, asynchronous) and provide specific dates and times upfront.
  5. Include online-specific policies about academic integrity in the syllabus. Use the university template and include any additional considerations for online delivery.
  6. Use the Carmen Key Three practices for a consistent student experience.
  7. Adapt materials and activities for online learning. Each week should include ways for students to practice or engage with the material.
  8. Make assignments and assessments appropriate and practicable. Use the resources on adapting assessments on the Keep Teaching site.

Course Assurance Process

Colleges and schools who seek to change a course’s delivery mode to online (DL) for Summer 2020 will:

  • Verify which courses will be offered in summer by April 17. The Office of Academic Affairs has provided a listing from the Registrar of classes scheduled for Summer 2020, with an indication of which courses would need this temporary assurance. (Courses that already have an approved Distance Learning offering, are research credits, independent study, or placement courses are excluded from this process.)
  • In a process facilitated by the college’s associate dean for curriculum, upload to BuckeyeBox (see instructions below) a completed Online Course Assurance Form and syllabus for each course seeking change-of-delivery for summer. These documents should be uploaded by the college or school, not individual instructors, as soon as possible, but before May 31 for full-term courses or later term sessions, or May 15 for first session.

There will be a faculty-based syllabus review of each course conducted on a rolling basis from May 1-31, 2020. The status of these reviews and potential areas of concern or feedback will be shared with the college’s associate dean for curriculum during this same timeframe.

Each college will coordinate its own process for gathering this documentation. If you have questions about this process, please consult the FAQ or contact your college’s associate dean for curriculum.

Download Course Assurance Form



Submitting files to BuckeyeBox

To complete the syllabus assurance review for Summer 2020, a college or school representative will upload to BuckeyeBox a finalized Online Course Assurance form and course syllabus for each course being taught. The instructions for uploading these two documents to the designated folder are provided below.

Name your files

For identification purposes, ensure your filenames include the college, campus, course subject, and course number. For example, the filenames for BIOLOGY 1101 taught on the Columbus campus would be:

  • ASC-Columbus-BIOLOGY-1101-online-course-assurance-su2020.doc
  • ASC-Columbus-BIOLOGY-1101-syllabus.doc

Upload your files

  1. Go to
  2. Upload the finalized Online Course Assurance forms and course syllabi.
    1. To drag and drop files, select both files to be uploaded and drag the files over the upload icon in the center of the screen.
    2. To upload by selecting the files through the web page:
      1. Click Browse your device.
      2. Locate and select both files on your device.
      3. Click Open.
    Note, if you drag and drop or browse your device and choose a single file only, steps 2-4 will need to be repeated for each file uploaded. To upload multiple files, be sure to select all files you want to upload when using the drag and drop or browse features.
  3. Enter your Ohio State email address in the Email Address field.
  4. Click Upload.

A confirmation message will appear when the files have been successfully uploaded. If you have additional files to upload (for example, if you uploaded only one of the two standard documents), click the “Upload more” link and browse your device to upload additional documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which courses need to go through the summer assurance process?

This assurance process applies to any course that does not already have an approved Distance Learning offering. Dissertation research, independent study and similar credits need not be reviewed. Each college has a list of the official course roster for Summer 2020 and which courses need to go through the assurance process. Contact your college’s associate dean for curriculum if you have questions about a specific course.

Why is this process restricted to Summer 2020 offerings?

Offering courses at a distance usually requires curriculum-committee approvals to help ensure that an online class meets specific regulatory and accreditation requirements as well as other considerations related to the integrity of the class in this mode of delivery.

Because all classes will be offered remotely during Summer 2020, the Office of Academic Affairs, working with the college curricular deans, established an expedited assurance process that focuses on the most urgent and manageable of those considerations. The Online Course Assurance form does not grant ongoing approval for Distance Learning delivery but should give instructors a meaningful head start toward their college’s full approval process for later terms.

How will credit-hour calculations be reviewed?

The portion of the Online Course Assurance form on credit-hour equivalency is meant to ensure that instructors have a framework for considering workload and instructional expectations when the specific teaching methods and student activities may be different from an in-person version.  

The hour estimates in the form will be useful as a rough total; a comparison to an in-person version will be helpful as well. The most important consideration is that the instruction and activities prepare students to be able to meet the same learning outcomes at an equivalent level.

As an additional note, because the full Summer term is shorter than Autumn or Spring, the rule of thumb of 3-hours plus 6-hours per week for a 3-credit course would actually need slight proportional adjustment if more precise numbers are useful for your planning. (For the 12-week full Summer term, add approximately 15-20 minutes of direct instruction time and 30-40 minutes of out-of-class preparation time per week.)

Do I have to submit the Online Course Assurance form if my college uses the Quality Matters rubric to review syllabi?

If a college submits the syllabus with a different set of supporting documentation instead of the assurance form, such as a modified Quality Matters rubric, the reviewers will still complete the assurance form for the course (to note if each criterion is met and add any comments). If the separate documentation does not capture each of the assurance criteria (for example, estimation of workload for credit-hour equivalency), then the submitting unit should determine how best to provide the necessary information alongside their existing documents.

How do colleges submit revised summer assurance documents?

Colleges can submit revised course assurance forms and course syllabi using the same file upload instructions outlined above. For identification purposes, ensure your filenames include the college, campus, course subject and course number. Although files of the same name do not automatically overwrite each other, the faculty reviewers will use the date and timestamp on the file to identify the latest version to use for their review.