Standards for Online Course Delivery

When training faculty for my Master’s Project, I realized that while there are several good rubrics for evaluating online course design, there is a need for a concise list of measurable standards regarding course delivery that faculty can follow when teaching online, to ensure a level of quality in their courses.  I was not able to find anything that wasn’t behind a pay wall or used for internal purposes only.  So I decided to create something myself, and I released it into the Creative Commons.  After a lot of research, I compiled a set of measurable standards that related to online course delivery, and created a rubric out of them.  I invented the mnemonic device of the Three S’s to unify the standards and make them easy for faculty to remember.

Click below to see and download the rubric.

Three S’s of Course Delivery


I used information from the following compilations of research:

National Online Learners Priorities Report. (2011). Noel-Levitz. Retrieved from

Ragan, L. C. (2009). Ten Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education (collection). Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

Swan, K. (2004). Relationships Between Interactions and Learning In Online Environments. Sloan Consortium.


One thought on “Standards for Online Course Delivery

  1. Thanks for this Abigail,
    No problem downloading from your link here.

    I’ll pass it on to my wife who designs courses at Portage College in Lac La Biche, Alberta >> Leslie Johnson [] <> <> Marion Waite [] <> <<.

    Seven years ago I was asked by a small community college to research alternative means of training veteran teachers in online delivery. There was very little on the net so I began calling colleges all over Canada and came up with some pretty cool stuff (I thought). My report was filed and ignored and for 7 years the college has managed to try every alternative I was told NOT to try at huge cost without moving an inch. I had none of these contacts except my wife and hope some of these people can spread you Rubric around. Very good idea to put this on ITFORUM and good luck!

    Scott Johnson

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