Policies and Guidelines

Online Teaching is important at Kent State

According to 2012 IPEDs data, Kent State’s UG and Grad student headcount was 8767 students. That puts Kent State in the top 13 of ALL public university SYSTEMS.

We have had a consistently large increase in online course enrollments. From Spring 2009 to Spring 2014, we had a 900% increase in student enrollments. Kent State was an early adopter of distance learning and has been increasing and improving our online courses for over 15 years.
We now have 27 fully online graduate programs12 fully online undergraduate programs and 19 fully online certificate programs.

As technology and research about online learning has progressed, so have our efforts to improve both teaching and learning opportunities online.


FlashLine is the main portal to systems and tools you’ll need to access while teaching. You access the Flashline portal by going to www.kent.edu and clicking on the FLASHLINE LOGIN button found in the top left corner. Note that your FlashLine username/password are used for many software services across Kent State University. View support information for FlashLine

Expectations for online instructors

Online instructors are expected to be engaged and active in their online courses. The instructor is expected to actively give feedback, interact with students, monitor student progress and clarify and/or add context to existing content and assessments and create and post content where needed. View a suggested timeline for course activities.

According to the United States Department of Education, a distance course should include “regular and substantive interaction between these students and the instructor.” section § 600.2 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

Faculty, as members of the university, are required by federal law to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. The office of Student Accessibility Services coordinates all aspects of accessibility for Kent State University. SAS provides a variety of services to faculty and also provides resources for creating accessible course content.

Using Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn (Bb Learn or Learn) is the course management system supported at Kent State and is the expected delivery platform for online courses. You can access Blackboard Learn from the FlashLine portal or directly at learn.kent.edu. When you log in to Blackboard Learn, you should see your current course listings. If you do not, you should contact your department scheduler and let them know you are unable to see your sections in Blackboard.  Learn more about support for Blackboard Learn.

Student Orientation

This getting started page provides a list of comprehensive support services, including tips and tricks for getting your computer ready, strategies to be a successful online student, policies, and direct links to student academic services.

Approval process

Departments/Schools are responsible for developing their curricula and determining which courses may be delivered in distance learning format. For some programs, the curricular authority resides within the Regional College.

New course development or major revisions need approval of the department chair/director and college dean and the Distributed Learning (DL) agreement must be signed.

  • Coordination of resources and development of high-quality foundational courses available for use by all instructors is highly encouraged.
  • Coordination between the Regional Campuses and Kent campus departments to ensure that students have access to online courses where appropriate is highly encouraged.
  • Coordination of course delivery schedules so that sections are full before offering alternative sections is highly encouraged.

Faculty receiving support of any type must sign the Distance/Distributed Learning Agreement.


Developing an online course requires a significant amount of time to design for the online environment. Whether you are an experienced online course developer converting an existing course, or new to distance education and creating your first course from scratch, you should begin preparation a minimum of one semester prior to scheduled release date. View suggested One Semester Ahead timeline.

Design standards

Kent State has developed suggested course development guidelines based on the Quality MattersTM rubric. These guidelines will help us proactively meet accessibility standards and incorporate universal design principles that will help ensure the success of our diverse student body.

Classifications of online courses

There are three classifications of “online” courses: V1, V2, and V3:

  • V1 – 100% online requiring no face-to-face or online live sessions
  • V2 – 100% online with one or more synchronous online live sessions
  • V3 – A blend of a minimum of 50% online sessions (asynchronous or synchronous) and requirement of one or more face-to-face meetings

Note: The online course must be delivered exactly as advertised and listed in the BANNER registration system and KSU course catalog.

Improving/updating existing courses
  • Development of online courses should be considered an iterative process with planned improvements after a course has been taught.  
  • One goal in course revisions should be to make courses fully accessible, which would include captioning video and formatting all documents to be read by a screen reader.
  • Consideration should be given to collaborations that allow faculty to combine their talents in creating an exceptional course that is shared in a department.
Understanding the strategic initiative for Online Learning


  • Quality – Establish Kent State as a leader in quality online courses.
  • Access – Increase access. Follow best practices of development and delivery of online courses to make online courses more accessible.
  • Enrollment – Move beyond our region and increase enrollment with a national/international audience.
  • Readiness – Position Kent State to be nimble in a changing environment.


  • Develop strong Kent State Online brand
  • Offer 10-12 graduate programs to a national audience
  • Offer 50 high quality core/transfer module undergraduate courses to state/national audience
  • Selectively offer undergraduate programs/certificates/continuing professional education online.
  • Upgrade all courses to meet best practices of universal design and accessibility standards.