WSU Online Best Practices Course Review

Review Process

  • Step 1: Schedule

    Submit a course review request. Include the full name of the course and CRN1. An instructional designer will share a copy of our course review document with you and set up a review meeting. Please allow at least two weeks for us to review your course.

    Questions? Email us at

  • Step 2: Share

    Fill in the information on the "Faculty Course Info" tab at the bottom of the shared review document as soon as possible. Also, conduct your own review of your course using the criteria on the "Faculty Review Notes" tab before your review meeting.

    Meet with your instructional designer to discuss your course.

  • Step 3: Complete

    Update your course by incorporating the agreed upon changes listed in the "Suggested Edits" tab2. These updates should be made within three weeks of the review meeting, unless other arrangements have been made. Let your designer know when you have completed the updates so they can take another look at your course.

    After your course is checked and approved by your instructional designer, you may qualify for a stipend. More details will be sent to you at this point.


  1. For Web Enhanced courses, an instructional designer will determine if sufficient content is available in the learning management system to conduct a best practices review. If the course being reviewed is delivered completely online, you may invite your department chair to participate in the review meeting for an additional stipend (awarded as a department funds transfer).

    Department Chair Involvement: The purpose of including the department chair is to increase their knowledge regarding the design and delivery of the online courses within their department. To qualify for the department funds transfer, the chair must be prepared to clarify the department level objective(s) associated with the course being reviewed, must attend and be actively engaged during the entire BP review meeting, take notes of the agreed edits to the course, and support the instructional designer by following up with the faculty member on the agreed edits.

  2. If this is a DOCE Quality Standards review, your course must be rated as "Good Evidence" in all tier 1 categories and at least "Some Evidence" in all tier 2 categories. For more information on these tiers, please visit our Design Tiers website and note the color coding next to each review criterion.

    To promote student engagement across campus, the Student Success Engagement Committee has created the High Impact Educational Experiences (HIEE) taxonomy. Along with the review document, faculty are encouraged to consult the HIEE taxonomy to assess and incorporate high-impact educational experiences into their course.

Best Practices Course Review Evaluation and Criteria

Tier Key

Using the Best Practices Document, your course will be rated on the following criterion:

  Review Criteria   Review Criteria
1. Course Introduction and Overview 2. Course Visual Design and Communication
1.1 Course includes a welcome message, instructor information, and an icebreaker activity. 2.1 Course has a logical, consistent, and well-organized structure and navigation.
1.2 Course provides a comprehensive overview and shows students how to get started. 2.2 Course has an aesthetic and consistent design.
1.3 Course syllabus clearly communicates important course information, policies, and expectations. 2.3 Text is formatted with sufficient contrast and styles to enhance readability and accessibility.
1.4 Course provides resources to help students learn class technologies, resolve technical issues, and find relevant support.    
1.5 Course offers success tips and/or attempts to address potential learning barriers students may have.    
3. Course Goals and Unit Objectives 4. Learning Content
3.1 Course communicates overarching goals that capture the big ideas. 4.1 Course provides a variety of materials to enhance learning.
3.2 Course goals focus on more holistic learning. 4.2 Course materials are structured in a meaningful way.
3.3 Unit objectives are created based on the course goals and are measurable. 4.3 Course materials are free of errors, up-to-date, accessible, and comply with copyright law.
3.4 Unit objectives focus on deep understanding and/or authentic application of content. 4.4 Course materials support the objectives.
3.5 Each unit provides a meaningful overview to help students understand what to expect.    
5. Learning Experience, Feedback, & Evidence 6. Course Technology and Tools
5.1 Course activities and assessments communicate clear purpose, instructions, and/or grading criteria. 6.1 Course technology and tools support course activities.
5.2 Course activates relevant prior knowledge and experience to assist learning of the new content. 6.2 Course includes links to privacy policies for technology tools.
5.3 Course helps students remember and deliberately practice the targeted content. 6.3 Technology tools meet accessibility standards.
5.4 Course provides multiple (and appropriate) activities to help students develop higher-order thinking [NSSE].    
5.5 Course provides multiple opportunities for students to engage in collaborative learning [NSSE].    
5.6 Students have opportunities to self-assess and reflect on learning.    
5.7 Course teaches various learning strategies [NSSE].    
5.8 Course provides students with positive, constructive, and prompt feedback in relation to the goals and objectives.    
5.9 Course provides opportunities to promote student-faculty interaction [NSSE].    
5.10 Students have opportunities to provide feedback on course design, content, experience, and technology.    
5.11 Course materials support the objectives.    

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