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MOU Requirements and Scoring Rubric

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Scoring Rubric lists requirements for developing ETSU online courses, along with guidelines and best practices used to evaluate the completed course.


A downloadable summary of the Scoring Rubric can be found here.


  1. The course must include a syllabus that includes each of the elements listed below.
    1. Purpose and goals. A brief statement describing the nature of the course, what the student can expect to learn, and an overview of course activities.
    2. Course objectives or intended learning outcomes. The course objectives should be stated clearly so that they can be related to the expected learning outcomes in each section or module of the course and to the goals of the overall assessment process.
    3. Instructor contact information. The instructor's name, email address, physical office location, phone number, and fax number (if available) should be included.
    4. List of textbooks or required materials. A list of textbooks with the author, title, publisher, edition, date, and ISBN number. A list of other published material the student is required to purchase for the course including lab manuals, lab kits, software, etc.
    5. Specific course requirements. A description of any special course requirements, such as knowledge of specific software, and why it is necessary for successful completion of the course.
    6. Required readings. The instructor should provide students with a list of the required readings for the course.
    7. Sequential list of assignments and projects with due dates. Should be arranged by course topic or module with due dates if applicable.
    8. Class participation. A statement that students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course. For example, students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, are required to log in regularly and check for announcements, and must actively participate in course discussions, etc. Your expectations for the course and for the students should be clearly stated.
    9. Grading procedure and grading scale. A detailed statement of how grades are related to or reflective of the expected learning outcomes. Detailed points or percentages for assignments should be included.
    10. Course ground rules. The instructor must include a section detailing course ground rules and expectations.
    11. Accommodations statement. A statement of accommodation for students with special needs such as voice recognition software or special hardware. Students who need accommodations because of disabilities must make the request through the Office of Disability Services. The syllabus statement is available at:
    12. Link to university syllabus attachment. The attachment may be found on the Registrar's Office site at:
  2. Timing of instructor response. A clear statement regarding the instructor response time to emails and other student inquiries.  Response time should normally be within 48 hours during the week.  Instructor response information should also include information about the expected grading/feedback period for student assessments, projects, activities, etc. Student should be notified when the instructor will be unable to meet these times.
  3. Instructor availability. A statement detailing times when the instructor is available for immediate feedback and what method the student should use to contact the instructor.  For example, instructor will be available in D2L chat during these times on these days.
  4. Detailed description of assignment submission. A clear and detailed statement regarding the method and tools used by students to submit assignments.  Information should include location of assignment submission (typically the course dropbox), any file type requirements, late assignment policies, etc.
  5. Technical Help page. An html file suitable for uploading to D2L will be provided to the instructor when the MOU is approved by Academic Technology Support.
  6. Student Resources page. An html file suitable for uploading to D2L will be provided to the instructor when the MOU is approved by Academic Technology Support.
  7. Place for student/student and student/faculty interaction. (In Synchronous courses this requirement is met by the synchronous sessions.) Course interaction typically occurs in the course discussions tool but instructors may also choose to use synchronous chat options if such chat is an optional component or if the requirement has been made clear in advance through a Goldlink note or other student communication.
  8. Course Content (Lecture Material).  Instructors should make use of a wide variety of content types.  The course content should be comprehensive, taking full advantage of appropriate course management tools (i.e. Checklist, FAQ, Links, etc.)
  9. All copyrighted material must meet copyright requirements.
  10. Assessments. All assessments should be completed and present in the course site when submitted for approval.  Instructors should provide information to students regarding recommended processes in case of technical problems when completing assessments.  A sample assessment that uses the same types of questions should be included in the course site to allow students to troubleshoot any technical issues prior to taking a scored assessment.
  11. Gradebook. The course gradebook should be configured correctly to include any graded items from the course. Student grades should be posted to the gradebook and appropriate feedback included when applicable.

Guidelines / Best Practices for ETSU Online Asynchronous Courses


  1. In order to ensure that best practices in online teaching and learning are considered, the course should include a variety of content, which may include study guides, lecture summaries, presentation slides, audio, and/or streaming video that enhances the course material.  Video files should not be directly uploaded but should be added to and accessed from one of the university streaming servers.  Major content revisions should not be made during the course of the semester.  Instructors should make any major content revisions in their development sites, copying the content to the current site prior to the beginning of the semester.
  2. Course material should be arranged in weekly modules or other sequences that clearly relate to the course's expected learning outcomes.  Content may be arranged by topic if more appropriate to the content being presented.  Course instructors must assure that the course material is current; i.e., having been reviewed within the last six months. Instructors may request peer reviews at any time. Academic Technology Support reserves the right to review the course annually to ensure that it has been maintained in accordance with these guidelines.
  3. Course documents/materials should be in a format easily accessible to most students. HTML or PDF files are encouraged. Links to document readers should be provided when appropriate. Any software requirements should be listed in the syllabus.


  1. Students should be provided with opportunities for projects that foster interactive communication through chat sessions, threaded discussions, and/or audio or web conferencing.


  1. Learning outcomes should be assessed on a continuous basis through timed quizzes, proctored exams, group and individual projects, take-home tests, open book exams, and/or other assessment means applicable to the particular course.
  2. The grading scale should emphasize assignments, projects, and student participation in the learning community as well as timed quizzes and periodic examinations.
  3. All courses should include a variety of assignments, which may include evaluative essays, case analyses, term papers, book reviews, film reviews, summaries and critiques of journal articles, quizzes, oral presentations, etc.

Course Navigation

  1. Course navigation is logical and consistent throughout. Instructors should consider adding a course map that provides students with the general layout of the course.
  2. The course design takes full advantage of appropriate tools and media.

Guidelines / Best Practices for ETSU Online Synchronous Courses

  1. Use the interactive tools available to keep synchronous online students engaged.  Instructors may request feedback periodically to ensure that synchronous online students are still present and technically capable of following the classroom activities.
  2. Instructors should have a working knowledge of the synchronous classroom software, including room management options, audio and video options, and content sharing options.
  3. Instructors should set clear rules for classroom management and appropriate ways to ask questions or interact during class, including the student sign-in name, appropriate use of classroom chat, or microphone and webcam usage, if available.
  4. Classroom materials should be converted to a form easily deliverable to synchronous online students (i.e. PowerPoints, PDFs, videos posted to the streaming server, etc.)
  5. Students should have access to resources and contact information when technical help is required.
  6. Students should be made aware of any technical, hardware or software requirements at the beginning of the semester.



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Anthony Kiech


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