The original cross-Network policy document was developed by the Cross-Network Policies Working Group in October 2014. The policies were developed primarily to inform the decisions of the Cross-Network Operations Group (CNOG) and to provide guidance to cross-Network instructors. The policies have evolved and were updated in October 2023 to reflect current practices. Hereafter this document will be reviewed for updates annually in August.
- Instructor Qualifications
- Proposals for cross-Network programming
- Incorporation of CIRTL Core Ideas and Learning Outcomes
- Course Enrollment Minimum
- Audio/Video Recording
- Formal Evaluation
- Ownership of cross-Network Instructional Materials
The policies in this document refer to cross-Network programming (also referred to as “offerings”) including courses, workshops, events, and teaching institutes designed for participants from across CIRTL’s member institutions. Courses can range from 4 to 12 weeks, are cohort-based, and include some sort of final project or cumulative work effort for participants. Workshops typically have 1 or 2 sessions, are cohort-based, and often have a concrete work product that participants develop in sessions. Events can be single sessions or in 3- or 4-event series, are not cohort-based, and typically feature multiple speakers or presenters. Teaching institutes are multi-day, intensive cohort-based experiences where participants explore specific topics in teaching and learning in depth. All programming should reflect inclusive pedagogy.
Faculty and staff
Desirable: Instructors have a full-time appointment with a CIRTL member institution either as faculty or staff and have a doctoral degree in a STEM discipline or in education/pedagogy, as well as experience in teaching and designing and/or executing online coursework. Instructors should have familiarity with the CIRTL core ideas and involvement in local CIRTL activities.
Minimum expected: Instructors have an appointment with a CIRTL member institution as faculty or staff and have a doctoral degree, experience in teaching, and familiarity with CIRTL as above. If not already experienced in designing and/or executing online coursework, the instructor should commit to obtaining preparation. CIRTL Central staff provide technical support in teaching on an online platform and some pedagogical guidance based on cumulative experience across many offerings, but instructors bear ultimate responsibility for being prepared to teach online.
Future faculty led programming
While most CIRTL cross-Network programming is facilitated by faculty or staff at CIRTL member institutions, the opportunity to facilitate programming at a national scale can be a valuable professional development opportunity for graduate participants and postdocs (“future faculty”). The goal of this policy is to provide well-prepared future faculty with additional facilitation experience that is sponsored and supported by their institutional leader(s).
To achieve this goal, a maximum of two cross-Network programs each term may be led by future faculty under the following conditions:
- The institutional leader or administrative co-leader must submit the programming proposal on behalf of the future faculty facilitator. The proposer is responsible for the quality of the programming and is expected to provide guidance, as needed, to the future faculty facilitator about the development and delivery of the program.
- The proposal submitter is responsible for ensuring the future faculty facilitator is qualified and prepared for this experience, attesting that:
- The future faculty facilitator has participated in CIRTL programming at their local institution and/or through cross-Network programming.
- The future faculty facilitator has prior experience facilitating their proposed offering at their local institution.
- The types of programming facilitated by future faculty are limited to workshops, CIRTLCasts, and other drop-in events. Courses, MOOCs, or institutes can be co-facilitated with an instructor qualified under section 1 of CIRTL’s instructor qualification policy.
Proposals for cross-Network Programming
All cross-Network programming is taught by volunteers from across the CIRTL Network. Volunteer instructors can either teach core CIRTL programming – developed specifically for CIRTL, with pre-existing instructional materials – or propose their own idea for a course, workshop, event, teaching institute, or some other kind of offering. Detailed guidance on submitting a proposal, including deadlines for upcoming terms, is available on CIRTL’s website.
Proposals to teach a cross-Network course are submitted via CIRTL’s cross-Network programming proposal form. Instructors provide information about programming logistics (format, contact hours, etc.), learning outcomes, content (including how instructors will demonstrate inclusive and equitable practices), and assessment and evaluation.
Instructors should coordinate with their local CIRTL leaders to ensure leaders are aware of their proposed contributions to the cross-Network. If an instructor does not meet CIRTL’s minimum instructor qualifications, their institutional leader will need to submit a letter of support to the CNOG to inform the committee’s proposal review process.
Instructors should normally design courses that accommodate a minimum class size of about 25. Smaller class sizes can be considered if appropriate on pedagogical grounds.
The Cross Network Operation Group reviews proposals for approval and may suggest modifications in consultation with the instructor team.
Incorporation of CIRTL Core Ideas and Learning Outcomes
The core ideas of Teaching-as-Research, Learning Communities and Learning-through-Diversity are foundational to CIRTL preparation of future faculty. For this reason, these core ideas should be included in all cross-Network offerings to the degree they relate to the specific topic(s) of a given course, workshop, event, or institute. The network also offers general career development programs that may not be peripheral to pedagogy, but nonetheless relevant to working in academia (e.g., developing a teaching philosophy statement, preparing for interviews); where relevant, the core ideas should be woven into the content and/or process of those programs as well.
CIRTL programming should also reflect the CIRTL learning outcomes at the Associate, Practitioner, and/or Scholar levels.
Course Enrollment Minimum
If course enrollment is below 10 participants, that course will be canceled. Exceptions to this policy can be made on a course-by-course basis with consent of instructor and CIRTL Central.
Synchronous course sessions are recorded and recordings are shared with participants only via Moodle, CIRTL’s learning management system. Recordings may not be shared with other instructors or CIRTL leaders or individuals who are not in the class. Students and instructors may not record classes themselves.
Other programming can be recorded or not, as instructors choose. Recordings for cohort-based programming (like workshops and institutes) are shared only with participants; recordings for droop-in programming (like events) are shared publicly with speaker approval.
The facility for recording in Zoom – which hosts all of CIRTL’s synchronous, online cross-Network programming – currently does not allow security or confidentiality of the recording once a URL pointing to that recording has been issued. Consequently, FERPA protection cannot be completely guaranteed.
To ensure consistent quality in cross-Network programs and to enable continued quality improvement, every cross-Network program will be evaluated by the participants and instructional team.
- CIRTL staff and instructor teams develop evaluations for each offering, based on CIRTL’s standard evaluation. All programming must include CIRTL’s core questions (bolded in that evaluation survey), and additional questions are optional. Alternatively, instructors may choose to develop their own surveys and fold CIRTL’s core questions into their evaluation instruments.
- After programming ends, all participants receive an evaluation survey
- After student responses are in, instructors complete a reflection by either submitting a reflection form or having a meeting with CIRTL staff to discuss the prompts in the reflection form in real time.
- CIRTL staff compile evaluation packets with syllabi (when available), instructor reflections, and student evaluations for the CNOG to review (see below).
The CNOG reviews all programming evaluations at one of two times.
- If the program is likely to be run again in a subsequent semester (e.g., core programming), the evaluation is reviewed when programs for that semester are being planned.
- If the program is unlikely to be run again, or undetermined, the evaluation is reviewed the semester following the program.
Review includes close reading by two members of the CNOG, and discussion of outcomes by the whole committee. Any discussed recommendations for improvement are captured in committee review notes and fed back to instructors when the program is proposed again. CNOG feedback also informs CIRTL support for future programming of the same format (course, workshop, etc.), approach (large audience, peer review, etc.), or topic.
Ownership of cross-Network Instructional Materials
Instructional material ownership rules of the instructor’s institution are primary. In general, authors or their institutions own, and may copyright, course materials.
Instructional materials should indicate authorship and date, and for revisions, the revising author, revision number and date.
CIRTL can facilitate material sharing upon request; staff and faculty from member institutions who are interested in accessing cross-Network instructional materials can contact CIRTL staff for assistance. Any instructor reusing material should cite previous authors, and should obtain permission to use copyrighted instructional materials produced by others.
Authors may control dissemination of their course materials outside the network, but may not use the CIRTL brand without permission.
Policies for participants
There will be no tuition exchanges among universities for CIRTL programming. There will be no fees charged by the Network for participants from network institutions taking CIRTL cross-Network courses. In the event that non-network participants take courses, the network may charge a fee.
CIRTL’s cross-Network courses, workshops, institutes, and other enrollment-limited programming are open to participants from member institutions or participants who are CIRTL alumni. Uncapped programming is open to members, alumni, and the general public. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.
CIRTL’s website has detailed guidance on when and how interested participants can register to attend cross-Network programming.
Accessibility of cross-Network Programming
Cross-Network programming and associated materials use Universal Design for Learning approaches to support an accessible learning environment for all participants. CIRTL programs are designed and developed to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Participants are encouraged to contact CIRTL for additional accessibility needs.
To comply with federal and state laws on accessibility, electronic and information technology acquisitions will be compliant with Federal (Section 508) standards (http://www.access-board.gov/508.htm) and the most accessible product or service selected unless a specific exemption applies.
Compliance with this policy is the shared responsibility of CIRTL Central, the host institution, where the instructor is located, and the partner institution, where the participant is located.
CIRTL collects data from cross-Network programming participants based on their registration and activity once enrolled. Instructors may refer to participant data to improve their programming (making content relevant to specific disciplines, for instance). Institution-specific participation data is shared once a semester with institutional leaders. De-identified data is analyzed and shared annually in cross-Network programming annual reports.
Original policies developed by Cross-Network Policies Working Group, 10/2014 consisting of Cynthia Brame (Vanderbilt), Sue Bloomfield (Texas A&M), Chuck Kutal (U Georgia), Rob Linsenmeier (Northwestern), chair, Bob Mathieu, ex officio, Robin Greenler, ex officio.