Employee FAQ

Employee Frequently Asked Questions

If you are unable to find the answer to your question within the Virtual Learning Centre or want to have a question added, please contact your Program Coordinator. Please note this is for instructors and staff ONLY. Students should contact their program administration with any questions relating to their course.

Online Course Development and Start-up

Blackboard Course Administration

Additional Mount Royal Resources

Online Course Development and Start-up

When Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension is considering developing online programs, what factors are important for program design, appropriate subjects and industry needs?

Mount Royal University is always looking for programs that fit the industry and learning profile for online program development. Each program is unique in how it meets the learning needs of students. Based on previous experience as well as input from program instructors and Advisory Committee members Mount Royal develops programs to meet community, provincial, national and even international needs. We also work collaboratively with the Academic Development Centre in sharing creative ideas and proven online curriculum development processes.

My course is very interactive. How would I manage this in an online environment?

The goal of modern online learning is to increase interaction with the student so that all learning styles and techniques are used. There are learning tools called interactivities built into online learning programs, as well as a number of functions on the Blackboard course site that can be utilized to create a very interactive and collaborative learning environment.

How can I figure out if I am suited to teach in an online learning environment?

There are definitely learning and teaching styles that are more suited to the online learning format, but there are several questions you should ask yourself before deciding to teach online:

  1. Am I willing to spend as much time as needed in front of a computer? Just like sitting in a class for long periods of time can be exhausting, so can remaining in front of a computer. Although you will have the flexibility of location and, to some degree, time in your online classes, most if not all of your interaction with students will be online via computer.
  2. Can I troubleshoot and manage technical issues? We don't expect our instructors to be experts in technology and there is a great deal of support for instructors who are experiencing technical issues or have students who are. Depending on your course, you may have students who are completely new to the online environment and will be looking to you for understanding and support when experiencing technical problems. This can mean writing e-mails back and forth, finding resources for them and, depending on the circumstances, being flexible with deadlines.
  3. Can I write instructions clearly? When expecting students to read instructions online, we have to be aware that the way people read online is different from how they read a textbook or handout. Students tend to skim and look for the "point". This means important information can be missed. Posting instructions in point form, bolding important facts or posting in multiple locations in Blackboard can cut back on potential confusion. This means the instructor has to be not only organized and concise but also willing to take extra time to post instructions or e-mail instructions multiple times.
  4. Do I enjoy learning new software? Depending on your background, you may have to learn about Blackboard and the other programs used in an online course, or you may already know it and want to spice up the class by using new software for interaction with the students. Whatever the case, being willing to try new things and being flexible about the formats in which you may receive assignments are important qualities for being a successful online instructor.

These are just a few of the key factors in being an online instructor. Having a flexible schedule and not needing to come to campus are definite perks to teaching online but, like everything, there is a downside, too. If you have further questions about what is involved in becoming an online instructor, please contact either the program area you are interested in teaching for.

Where do I find information on Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension programs?

Specific program information is found on the program's web page, which can be reached from the Continuing Education website.

How is the curriculum designed or updated?

Our instructors are encouraged to work closely with the Program Coordinator when designing or updating curriculum. There are manuals and tips that are used to maintain excellence in subject matter and adult learning design. We also encourage instructors to access the Academic Development Centre website for tips and trick for developing excellent curriculum.

What are the steps involved with online instruction such as time and system requirements?

Each program has its own unique learning format, therefore its own instructional expectations. Instructors are encouraged to speak with the program coordinator to understand the expectations involved. Each program is built for minimal system requirements. Read more about Blackboard system requirements. All online students and instructors must have access to a computer that meets these requirements in order to be successful in their task.

Are there tips and techniques for teaching online courses?

Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension will ensure that all online instructors are trained in the techniques and skills required to teach online. We encourage instructors to access the Academic Development Centre website for more tips and tricks for teaching in the online environment.

Are there Adult Education courses and complimentary courses for Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension instructors?

In order to support the ever-changing adult learning environment, all Continuing Education instructors have access to Mount Royal's Adult Educator Seminar Series. This series provides excellent skills for teaching adults in three-hour seminars or in an online format. Instructors also have access to other Continuing Education courses at 50% of the public fee. In order to access these services instructors should contact their Program Coordinator.

Is there an Instructor Handbook and does it contain classroom and on-line information?

Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension has included the Policies and Procedures for instructors in the Instructor Handbook.

What are my rights as an instructor?

Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension has included information on instructors' rights in the Instructor Handbook.

What are the payroll procedures? Is compensation based on the number of students or number of hours?

All hiring and payroll information is in the Instructor Handbook. Specific pay information related to the course (hourly wage, student-based wage, etc.) is available from the Program Coordinator.

How do I direct students if they have technical questions or need more specific information regarding courses?

If a student asks you a technical question that you are unable to answer, you can direct them to this Virtual Learning Centre, the program administration, the IT Service Desk or START.

What is START?

START is a peer-to-peer technical support service dedicated to assisting students with their technical issues. The START centre is drop-in and on campus. Read more information about START.

What are the copyright regulations for online resources and links?

All materials that are used in Mount Royal University courses are subject to copyright regulations. Please review these guidelines for copyright.

How do I receive the class list?

Instructors receive the class list from the Program Coordinator/Program Assistant.

How do I submit final grades?

Instructors submit the class grades to the Program Coordinator/Program Assistant.

Blackboard Course Administration

How do I check in with students to ensure that they understand the course material?

The Blackboard course site has a number of communication options. These include an announcement page, an e-mail system and a discussion board. If you would like training on how to use the Blackboard tools and learn effective ways to communicate with your students, contact your Program Coordinator.

What are the expectations for instructors to communicate with students?

The instructor works with the Program Coordinator to set up the communication expectations in the course outline. Sometimes there are terms about online communication in the instructor contract. For example, there are expectations for replying to assignments. The timelines and feedback expectations for assignments and marking are determined before the class begins and listed in the course outline. It's important to let students know ahead of time how often you will be checking and replying to e-mail, posting on the discussion board, etc. That way students know what to expect right from the start of class.

What are the resources for potential student questions?

There are three potential types of questions from students.

  1. Subject-related. The instructor is the main contact for any questions related to course content, course outline, course assignments and feedback.
  2. Administration. All questions about registration, fees, program administration and schedule are directed to the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension program administration staff: Program Coordinators and Program Assistants.
  3. Technical difficulty. All Continuing Education students enrolled in online courses have support from many Mount Royal departments, depending what they need. Some resources are: Learning Skills Centre, IT Service Desk and START.