Online Student, Faculty and Staff Expectations and Performance Targets


Academic quality is a hallmark of St. Petersburg College. The College's policies and procedures are designed to ensure that students' educational experiences are of the highest caliber possible.

To help attain that goal, the College expects that students, faculty, and staff will abide by the College's stated rules and protocols as outlined in the College catalog, Board of Trustees Rules, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and other official College documents. Most of these apply in identical ways to traditional and distance learning frameworks.

Student participation and conduct responsibilities follow these specific rules, but the unique needs of students and faculty in an online learning community call for additional guidelines. General guidelines on student involvement, collaboration and persistence are found in the College's stated policy regarding Online Student Conduct.

The online learning environment does, however, present some unique features. To address these, the following summary has two goals:

  1. to specify the communication and service targets that the College's distance learners — eCampus students — can expect from SPC faculty and staff
  2. to define the responsibilities that students assume when they become "e-learners"

Students and faculty understand that there may be times and circumstances when these guidelines are not met, e.g., serious accident or illness, but they provide the framework for what each can generally expect as part of their online learning experience.

Part I. Guidelines/Expectations for Students
A. Academic Participation


Students may expect:

  • The opportunity to be active participants in a stimulating and challenging education that is international in scope, interactive in process and diverse in content and approach.
  • A course outline or syllabus that provides information regarding course content, teaching methods, course objectives, grading, attendance/participation policies, and student assessment guidelines.
  • Instructors who are responsive and available to discuss students' progress, course content, assignments, etc. at mutually convenient times from the first day of the term through the last day of the term. Individual instructors' schedules, availability, and procedural details will appear in the course syllabi. (See Instructional Performance Targets that follow.)
  • To have access to instructor feedback and grading on projects, exams, papers, quizzes, etc., so they are able to determine where they have made errors or need additional work.

Students are expected to:

  • Have baseline computer and information skills.  Since computer literacy is a general education requirement, students are encouraged to either take a face-to-face or online literacy course or take the literacy test prior to taking online courses.
  • Log into their courses during the first week (for the traditional semester) or within 48 hours (for non-traditional classes like modmesters, express, or "dynamically dated" classes) of the beginning of the session to confirm their participation. (Students who register after the session has begun will be responsible for any assignments or material already covered.)
  • Take an active role in each class, participating fully in class discussions, assignments and other activities throughout the entire session. If some event interferes with that participation, the student is responsible for notifying the instructor in advance.
  • Review the course syllabus and other preliminary course materials thoroughly as early as possible during the first week of class.
  • Be responsible for raising any questions or seeking clarification about these materials, if necessary, within the first week of the session.
  • Submit assignments and papers on time, and take tests by the posted dates. Acceptance of late work and any penalties for late submissions are up to the discretion of the instructor, based on the expectations outlined in the course syllabus.
  • Complete the "Student Survey of Instruction" for each class to evaluate the instructor and the course.
B. Academic Honesty and Integrity

Students may expect to:

  • Pursue academic studies in a positive and ethical context, where academic standards are upheld.
  • Have their academic work assessed fully and equitably in a learning community where competition is fair, integrity is required, and cheating is punished.
  • Understand and agree with recognizable standards on plagiarism.
  • Have access to a stated procedure for filing academic grievances and appeals. (See Board of Trustees rule 6Hx23-4.36.)

Students are expected to:

  • Be honest and forthright in their academic endeavors.
  • Familiarize themselves with the College's academic honesty policy and standards as specified in the online Academic Honesty Policy, Board of Trustees rule 6Hx23-4.461.
  • Adhere to these standards of academic honesty and integrity as a condition of enrollment at SPC.
  • Understand that failure to comply with these standards may result in academic and/or disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the College.
  • Recognize their ethical obligation, as members of the College community, to report any violation of the SPC Academic Honesty Policy.
C. Academic Civility and Freedom of Expression

Students may expect that:

  • They will be able to pursue their studies in a stimulating, open environment where the pursuit of truth, free expression of ideas, responsible criticism, and reasonable dissent are recognized as basic to the educational process.
  • Students have the right to exercise their academic freedom within the responsible confines of the course material.
  • A process exists for students to express and document concerns they may have about specific action, inaction or behavior by any member of the College faculty or staff.

Students have the responsibility to:

  • Act in accordance with standards of reasonable behavior, respect and civility.  This standard would prohibit behavior that is disruptive or interferes with the teaching/learning process, including:
    • the posting of inappropriate materials in chat rooms, emails, bulletin boards, or Web pages;
    • use of obscenities;
    • personal attacks on fellow students or faculty;
    • sexual harassment; or
    • comments that are demeaning or disrespectful to another's ideas and opinions.
Part II. Institutional Performance Targets

SPC recognizes that one of the key benefits of distance learning is its flexibility; that is, its ability to accommodate the other demands on students' time—jobs, families, and even on-campus classes. A fundamental premise of the eCampus program is that the traditional concept of a "school day" or "workweek" does not neatly fit in the online learning model.

Just as eCampus expects students to complete and submit their course work in a timely way, so we can generally expect to provide instructional and administrative support services that fit the 24/7 culture of the online world.  The following summary outlines eCampus targets for responsiveness and support for online students.

A. eCampus Instructional Performance Targets

The instructor shall endeavor to apply these targets unless specific alternate expectations are provided to the student, e.g., the faculty member notifying students in advance that he/she will be out of contact beyond the two-day response target.

Standard Service
Engagement with instructor via Learning Management System (ANGEL) From the first day of the term through last day of the term
Response to voicemail by instructor  Within 24 hours 5 of 7 days a week at the instructor's discretion as specified in the course syllabus
Response to email by instructor Same as above
Individual assignment marked Within 7 days of due date*
Exam marked Within 7 days of due date*
Final grade Available on the online student system (MySPC) the day after grades are due.
Routine updates from instructor to all students in the course (via group email, discussion board, chat room, or headers on the class home page.) At least every 7 days

* With additional time for assignments/exams submitted late.

B. eCampus Academic and Student Support and Administrative Performance Targets

Administrators shall endeavor to apply these targets.

Service Standard
Response to voice and email by eCampus administration Within 24 hours, 7 days a week when the College is in session
Access to SPC Learning Management Systems & web materials 99% avg. availability of all electronic information systems, incl. central servers and networks Downtime scheduled at low use hours & announced at least 24 hrs. in advance
Online advising appointment Within 3 days (same day if urgent)
Information search assistance (library) Within 3 days
Process interlibrary loan  Within 3 days
Helpdesk response/resolve query Within 8 hours, 7 days a week (often immediate)
Materials processing/mailing Within 3 days (not including postal service time)
Response, resolution or referral of problem/query  Within 3 days
Processing correspondence (academic records, exam, registration papers, etc.) Within 5 days
Following up any concern expressed in writing by a student in accordance with stated procedure Within 5 days

Learning to function in the online environment is a continuous, collective process for eCampus students, faculty and staff alike. The Internet creates communities with unique structures, unique needs, and unique ways for participants to interact.

It is hard to let go of "the way we've always done it" as we carve out guidelines for operating in this limitless world of evolving technology. But if we do nothing else, we must export the same standards of socially responsible behavior and professionally delivered services that apply in any other community. St. Petersburg College has built a leadership tradition that is nearly a century old, and that tradition is rooted in responsiveness to the needs of students, creativity in meeting those needs, and above all, superior quality in both academic and support services. The online environment provides a perfect context to demonstrate how well we will continue that tradition in the decades ahead.

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