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Research Academy for Integrated Learning (RAIL)

Location: Building 41, Level 1

image |image 202.274.6628 | image 202.274.6012

Office Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

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Online Learning at UDC 

Online & Hybrid Courses | Online Learning Environment at UDC | Quality Assurance in Online Education | Online & Hybrid Educators | Building Capacity in Online Education | Integrity and Authenticity

Online & Hybrid Courses

UDC offers over 28 online and hybrid/blended courses. Fully integrated online courses and hybrid courses are currently offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences as well as at our Community College.  In addition, our hybrid/blended course offerings are more widely available across various disciplines. All of UDC's online courses offer the same high quality and rigor as traditional face-to-face or hybrid/blended courses and use Blackboard 9.1 as their course management system. Regardless of a course format (online or hybrid), the online learning experiences will be innovative and collaborative. There are projections for major increases in availability of these courses.

Online Learning Environment at UDC

The virtual classroom experience is not self-paced or correspondence-based.  Rather, online courses demand weekly or daily interaction. Students should expect to be actively engaged in deliberation, discussion and collaboration. All course work should be submitted electronically by the deadlines established within each course and with each respective professor.

Rigorous and rewarding, online courses are equivalent to traditional courses in their shared standards of learning expectations. Students must set aside time each day to read, participate and submit postings or assignments. The amount of time needed for student participation will depend upon the requirements of the course as well as technological capacity. Online learning requires motivation, self-discipline and a strong ability for time management. Online learners should log into their course on the first day of the semester.

Quality Assurance in Online Education

One of several tools used to assess the quality of online courses at the University of the District of Columbia is the use of the Quality Matters rubric.
Quality Matters (QM) is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning. Please watch the video on Quality Matters Program.

The program features:

  • Faculty-centered, continuous improvement models for assuring the quality of online courses through peer review
  • Professional development workshops and certification courses for instructors and online learning professionals
  • Rubrics for applying quality standards to course design

All requests for new courses are required to have completed an online course proposal form or hybrid/blended form that will then be peer reviewed by a team of three of our certified faculty peer reviewers.

Please watch the video to get an overview of the process to completing the form(s).

Online & Hybrid Educators

Faculty must be certified in online education to teach online at UDC. Faculty and all areas at the University are engaged in building new online and hybrid/blended courses.  Research Academy for Integrated Learning (RAIL) provides faculty with various options to be involved in online certification programs.  RAIL insures that faculty is gaining the knowledge of course design and best practices of online distance learning. RAIL's mission is to provide faculty with the necessary tools and technology for designing and developing their online/hybrid courses. More about Online Learning Certification.

Building Capacity in Online Education

The Committee for Online Learning (C4OL) acts as a liaison between RAIL and the academic departments to help develop and implement policies, guidelines, and procedures governing online teaching and to collaborate in establishing robust online offerings at the university. This committee advises the Center's professional staff on issues pertaining to faculty professional development needs and serves as a forum for faculty discussion, debate, and assessment for online course design at the University of the District of Columbia. More about C4OL.

Integrity and Authenticity

RAIL maintains a variety of applications and security levels to ensure authenticity, identity validation of students and student work.  

  • Students are authenticated via a single sign-on system maintained by the Office of Information Technology. We use a Central Authentication Source to authenticate.
  • Students logging into the course/learning management system authenticate prior to gaining access to the system and its content.
  • Faculty are encouraged to use password protected assignments and assessments.
  • RAIL maintains applications within the course/learning management system to validate user identity and protect integrity of submitted work.
  • Respondus lock-down browser is an application used in courses to protect against online exam cheating.
  • Safe-Assign is an application employed within courses to protect against plagiarism.

Intellectual Property Policy
Committee on Intellectual Property Policy
Online Teaching Certification Policy and Maintenance of Certification
Online Governing the Offering of Online Courses at UDC
Blackboard Use Guidelines
Fair Use & Copyright Tools for On-Line Learning
Technical Requirements for Online Learning at UDC
FERPA and Student Privacy
Digital Resources and Tools