Certification Process for Online Courses

A physics professor lectures in class at a blackboard.


ATLAS applies the following policies and standards on a case-by-case basis and is always sensitive to pedagogical needs as determined by the instructor.

Certifying an online course designates it as part of the LAS Online program and qualifies it to receive the preferential tuition revenue-sharing model. To be certified, a course is expected to comply with the following:

  1. ADA Law (accessibility)
  2. Copyright Law
  3. FERPA Law
  4. Identity Verification Policy
  5. CITL's Required Quality Checkpoints

ADA and copyright compliance are checked by our partners in CITL; for FERPA compliance of required resources, ATLAS will work with the appropriate campus units; and ATLAS oversees the verification of student identity.

Departments share with ATLAS the courses that they plan to offer in the summer and winter sessions. Once an instructor is designated, they should receive a notification asking them to report any changes they plan to make to the course website and teaching materials. We do not review courses every time a certification request is submitted, but there are three scenarios that could cause a course to be reviewed:


1. Changes to the course that impact legal requirements

If the instructor plans to make significant changes to the course—such as the adoption of a new textbook or extensive revision of content—then the proposed course changes will be reviewed for compliance with the following legal and college-mandated requirements:

  • ADA (accessibility)
  • Copyright
  • FERPA for third-party publisher and technology tools


2. Non-compliance with the LAS Online Identity Verification Policy

Approved by the LAS Courses and Curricula Committee on April 8, 2016, this policy stipulates that at a minimum, 20% of the course grade must consist of work accomplished by the student when their identity is verified and there is a high reliability they are using only the aids intended (e.g., proctored exams and identity-checked discussions). ATLAS is happy to assist instructors in finding ways to comply with this policy while being sensitive to pedagogical needs determined by the instructor.


3. Course age

If three years have elapsed since an online course was developed or since it underwent a substantial revision, the course may be reviewed to ensure it still meets legal and college requirements as stated in items 1 and 2 above.



Required & Recommended Checkpoints for Online Courses (Compliance)

The CITL Online Course Quality Review outlines the detailed list of required and recommended checkpoints that LAS Online-certified courses are expected to meet that include the aforementioned legal requirements but also qualitative standards that improve student outcomes in online courses.