Standards for Design: Part 29 – Instructor’s plan for classroom response time

Welcome to the twenty-ninth blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the third standard in the fifth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Learner Activities and Learner Interaction.  This post continues our discussion about creating meaningful Learner Activities and Learner Interaction and how they relate to the idea of Alignment to the Learning Objectives.

Standard: 5.3 The instructor’s plan for classroom response time and feedback on assignments is clearly stated.

In world of online learning, students have access to their courses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  This type of access to the course also makes students think they have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to the instructor.  This is, of course, a misconception.  As instructors, you are people too.  You have other teaching and research obligations, as well as a normal life with other responsibilities outside the course.

So to help balance the course instructor work/ life balance, it is important to let students know what your plans for response time is.  The best place to put it is in a “Start Here” section.  Some questions to answer are: What is your response time for E-mails?  What is your response time for discussion forums?  What is your response time for grading papers, quizzes and exams?  Are these times different during the week compared to the weekends?

The important thing to remember is you don’t want to make these response times too long.  The optimal time frame that I would suggest is 48 hours (2 days), but no longer than 72 hour (3 days).  These times give you enough time to respond without feeling te pressure to drop everything else and respond immediately.  If a circumstance happens and you need to change the response time, it is important to communicate that information to the students.

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog


Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

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