Faculty Course Expectations

Research (Bozarth, Chapman, and LaMonica, 2004) supports that one of the most significant barriers to success in online learning is a misunderstanding of the expectations that faculty have of their students and expectations that students have of their faculty.  This document is presented to help clarify what I expect from you and what you can expect from me!

General Expectations

My expectations of you:

  • You are adults and understand the importance of approaching this class seriously and respectful of the diversity of your fellow classmates, your instructor, and the material.
  • You understand how to use your computer and the learning interface (eCollege) to engage in the class.
  • You have acquired the required textbook and other materials for the course.
  • You will engage in all three of the critical tasks for success in college:
  • Go to class
    • In an online class this means that you will participate in discussions and online course work
  • Do your homework
    • In an online class this means that you will participate in the discussions, quizzes, and other assignments and submit them by the due date
  • Ask questions
    • In an online class this means that you will participate in the appropriate discussion boards for asking questions and that you will seek out technical and academic help as needed, including  communicating with your instructor.

What you can expect form me:

Your instructor:  

  •  …is knowledgeable in the field and/or subject matter of the course 
  •  …cares about your progress as a student 
  •  …is available and responsive to questions   
  • …will challenge you to grow and develop


It is my policy that we communicate primarily through the “Ask Your Instructor” discussion board in the Meet Your Instructor page.
Private communication with me should be conducted through the Ashford email system.  My email is mark.kavanaugh@faculty.ashford.edu

While the classroom may be open 24/7 your instructor is not a machine!  My goal is to check email and discussion postings at least once a day.  Expect that you will hear back on any inquiry within 24 hours, if not sooner.  (Ashford policy allows for up to 48 hours)

If you do have a pressing question and send me an email, be sure to check your email frequently for my reply, but be patient.

Be sure to review the course for any announcements EVERY DAY.

Late Policy

This course runs on a very tight schedule.  Not only do you have to get work done every week, but I also need to grade it and get it back to you in a timely fashion.

If you miss a due date you should complete the assignment and send it to me with a valid reason as to why it was late.  I will then consider the merits of your situation and choose to award credit, full or partial.

Online discussions need to occur during the week in which they are assigned so there will be no ability for “late” submissions into the discussions.

Discussion Expectations

Our primary interactions in the classroom will be through the discussion boards.  This is our “classroom” and should be treated as a profession environment requiring that you communicate in a professional manner.

In the Course Home section of the class you will find a link titled “About Discussions”.  Please review all of these documents in order to familiarize yourself with the expectations regarding discussions.

In addition, I usually refer to students to the following website which has some addresses some additional issues:


Writing Expectations


There is probably no skill that you will learn in college that is more important than basic writing.  In most situations you will be required to express yourself clearly in writing.  This is true in the classroom (particularly in an online classroom) and it is true in the workplace.

Having taught for a while here at Ashford I have found that one of the major challenges that students face is in writing.  My expectations for writing in this class are very high.  Your work needs to reflect college-level skill.  I know that many of you may be LEARNING these skills (that is why you are still in school), and that learning comes from a process.  I expect you to engage in the following process:

  1. Read and seek to understand the purpose and expectations of any writing assignment in this class. (These expectations are found in the weekly assignment descriptions and are reviewed in my Weekly Guidance)
  2. Engage in scholarly (yes, that reads "time consuming") research that exposes you to professional sources of information.  This means that when you are writing you need to seek out sources of information from professional journals...not the web!  The web is a great place to start to find basic information but is not a source for academic work.  The Ashford Library provides you access to professional journals that you must use.
  3. Your writing must be clear and to the point.  "BS" is easily recognizable as is a lack of the time and effort writing projects require.
  4. SEEK HELP with your writing from the Writing Center.  If not the writing center then print your written papers and have an honest friend review them, read them out loud to yourself...are you making your point, is it clear, are you meeting the requirements of the writing assignment?
  5. Learn about the standards of writing, paper formatting, in-text citations, and references of the American Psychological Association (APA).  There are sources available to help you with this in the Ashford Writing Center.
  6. When I grade your papers review the graded copy of the paper and the grading rubric.  Learn from your mistakes.  I make a LOT of effort to leave detailed tips in my comments.  While they are mostly tips for improvement, they are not meant to put you down.  THIS is the time to learn from these mistakes!
  7. Take these tips seriously.  Students have failed in my classes simply due to a lack of attention to improving writing skills.

Recycling Policy

Throughout your academic career you have the opportunity to write about topics and subject matter in different classes.  Writing is one of the best measures of learning in existence.  Since I am assigning these papers to measure your learning in THIS class they should be papers that are unique to this class...i.e. you cannot submit papers from other classes for credit in this class.

This does not keep you from using the research and resources that you have conducted in other classes to inform your writing in this class.  If you are in a college program many of the courses that you take relate to some of the same topics...this is intentional and is a way to ensure that you are exposed to the most important information in your field.

Weekly Guidance

The weekly guidance information shall be posted at least one day prior to the start of that week.

Whenever possible, weekly guidance will be posted ahead of time so that you can prepare for the upcoming week.  You are expected to read these notes thoroughly as they provide additional guidance and expectations I have for your performance in the class and focus especially on the writing assignments.

Grading Expectations

Getting timely feedback on your progress is a primary motivator for you as a student.  In addition, feedback on some assignments informs your efforts on future assignments.  For this reason there is a strict submission policy regarding late work.  To this end you can expect the following regarding grading in this course:

Discussion board grades will be posted within 72 hours after end of each week, i.e. 11:59 pm on Thursday.
Written assignment grades and feedback are due within 6 days after the submission due date,  i.e., if a student paper is dueby 11:59 pm on Monday, instructor feedback and grade are due by 11:59 pm on the following Sunday.

Final grades will be posted within 7 days after the course ends, i.e., 11:59 pm on Monday.

References Bozarth, J., Chapman, D.D., & LaMonica, L. (2004). Preparing for Distance Learning: Designing and Online Student Orientation Course. Education Technology & Society7(1), 87-106.