Center for Teaching and Learning

Online / Hybrid Course Development & Teaching Evaluation Rubric

About this rubric

This rubric reflects practices and design objectives that have been shown to increase learner engagement and success in online learning environments. The objectives in this rubric apply to all types of online and hybrid courses.

There are two general ways to use this rubric:

  1. As a reference to provide guidance as you are building your online or hybrid course.
  2. As an evaluation instrument to communicate areas in online and hybrid course design and practice where an instructor is excelling and where there is room for growth.

Regardless of how you use it, the rubric embodies the understanding that online/hybrid course design is iterative in nature – that is, building and teaching online and hybrid courses is a skill and a practice that develops over time and only as a result of thoughtful reflection.

How this rubric is organized

The rubric consists of five principles with a number of related objectives. If you are using the rubric as an evaluative tool, consider determining which of the following three basic performance levels the instructor meets.

3 Performance Levels

  1. In Progress – this signals to an instructor that they have not yet achieved the objective and that there is room for growth.
  2. Established Practice – this signals to an instructor that they have met the basic requirements of the objective.
  3. Exemplary – this signals to the instructor that they have excelled in their accomplishment of the objective.

Along with indicating an instructor’s performance level, evaluators are encouraged to provide specific evidence of the instructor’s progress toward each objective, as well as comment on the instructor’s strengths and areas for improvement.

Five Principles

Principle 1: Alignment

Critical course components work together to ensure that learners achieve the stated learning outcome

  1. Objective: The instructor articulates measurable course-level learner outcomes.
  2. Objective: Learning objectives for each week, unit, or module are measurable and consistent with the course-level outcomes.
  3. Objective: Required synchronous sessions, if they occur, are intentionally designed to advance specific module or unit objectives. Note: If an instructor requires learners to attend synchronous class sessions, those sessions must only occur during the times listed in the time schedule.
  4. Objective: The workload assigned to learners aligns to disciplinary norms and is appropriate to the level of the course.
  5. Objective: Course assessments align with course-level outcomes.

Principle 2: Course Orientation and Structure

Course elements and organization assist learners in identifying course expectations and successfully navigating the course itself.

  1. Objective: The instructor welcomes learners to the course and makes clear how to get started.
  2. Objective: The instructor provides access to a Syllabus and Course Schedule.
  3. Objective: The instructor employs a consistent organizational scheme throughout the course and orients learners to that scheme to facilitate access to course materials.
  4. Objective: The instructor provides strategies and resources to help learners succeed as online learners.

Principle 3: Engagement

The instructor establishes and maintains a clear presence in the course and creates opportunities for dialogue and sharing between learners.

  1. Objective: The instructor establishes and models communication norms for an inclusive, welcoming learning environment.
  2. Objective: The course includes multiple avenues for learner-instructor interaction.
  3. Objective: The course includes multiple opportunities for learner-learner interaction.
  4. Objective: The instructor is a visible, engaged presence throughout the course.
  5. Objective: The instructor creates course content using a variety of formats to promote learner engagement.

Principle 4: Accessibility and Inclusion

Course content and activities reflect inclusive, accessible design principles and practices.

  1. Objective: The content in the course meets basic accessibility objectives.
  2. Objective: The instructor’s course design and pedagogy create an inclusive learning environment
  3. Objective: The instructor follows institutional guidelines for stating academic and institutional policies (e.g., religious accommodation, disability accommodation, information about relevant learner support resources and opportunities).
  4. Objective: The instructor models flexibility and, where appropriate, offers learners alternative ways to engage or meet expectations.

Principle 5: Assessment

Course assessments provide learners with multiple opportunities to achieve outcomes.

  1. Objective: The instructor provides learners with multiple and varied ways to demonstrate their knowledge or mastery of course concepts and skills.
  2. Objective: The instructor provides specific and descriptive criteria for the evaluation of learners’ performance.
  3. Objective: The instructor helps learners understand the importance of academic integrity and the implications of academic misconduct.


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