Standards for Online Teaching &Learning

Mission and Goals: specific to online learning

CAPA recognizes that online learning is a robust and flexible educational tool that can enhance global education. CAPA is deeply committed to the benefits of student mobility and does not see online provision as a replacement for physical mobility, but as a pedagogy that can be harnessed to teaching and learning liberated from geographical restraints. Mobility of mind is at the heart of this academic agenda.

We are committed to challenging the assumption that the worlds beyond our doorways are alien, hostile, and/or dangerous to health. Creating pathways into worlds beyond, albeit filtered through the lens of technology, is an imperative.

We are committed to teaching life skills; to understanding that our personal universe does not encompass the whole world, that we need to imagine others as we would have them imagine us. The alternative is arid hostility, a death skill: the end of empathy, crippled sensibilities, diminished consciousness, darkness not light.

a) Teaching and learning globally

Online learning as a primary or supplementary mode of delivery enables a transition from teaching about globalization to teaching globally. Through globally networked classrooms, students and faculty are empowered to go beyond the confines of national borders. A virtual learning environment facilitates collaboration across borders and, thus, comparative global studies.

b) Campus internationalization

To reach a greater proportion of students, the internationalization of US higher education must include but go beyond traditional study abroad. The dissemination of global knowledge will not be achieved solely by sending a relatively small proportion of students overseas. Online programs offer an affordable, alternative method of modifying parochial perspectives and are open to a far wider group of students. In addition, CAPA’s Globally Networked Learning (GNL) technology can bring international dialogues into the US classroom.

c) Global Cities

CAPA’s programs focus on cities that are, in some sense or another, “global.” These cities are laboratories for the exploration and analysis of dynamic environments. The global city is a landscape of conjunction and collision where myths coexist with realities, and diversity brings creative intellectual energy, as well as conflict. Online, remote, and blended modes of course delivery enable collaborative and comparative approaches to analyzing the global city whether students study virtually or physically.

CAPA’s pedagogies are intended to enable students to look simultaneously in two directions– toward the locality they are studying and, then, to the global forces that impact upon that place. CAPA’s courses are intentionally designed to enable students to effectively navigate the complex and ambiguous borderlands between the global and local.


Student Learning and Development

a) Course Standards

CAPA courses are recognized by the Forum on Education Abroad as consistent with the standards embodied in the Forum Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad Quality Improvement Program (QUIP).

Students are selected based on the likelihood that they can successfully complete the coursework. Therefore, in most circumstances, students will have a Grade Point Average of at least 2.75 and be of good standing on their home campuses. Students are required to submit supporting academic documentation.

Students have access to appropriate technological advice and support.

CAPA faculty clearly explain objectives and expectations. This information is replicated in writing in course syllabi.

Learners engage with their peers for the exchange of opinion, information, joint research, group work, and so on.

Assessment is varied to take advantage of diverse modes of delivery, to recognize various learning styles, and to reflect a balance between individual and collaborative tasks.

Coursework provides learners with multiple opportunities to track their learning.

b) Personal and Professional Development

Personal and professional development remains a core feature of the online and virtual environment. Students are guided to reflect upon, understand, and articulate their own progression.

Students encounter unfamiliar ideas in new environments. That combination creates high-impact learning, disruption of assumptions, and resilience.

Online teaching and learning processes develop skills required by employers in changing workplace environments. Students, therefore, acquire competencies appropriate for working within a global context.

Remote internships replicate a pattern of working that is increasingly appropriate in the contemporary environment. In addition to time management skills, students learn how to collaborate and communicate across borders.

Academic Framework

a) Courses

All courses are approved for credit acquisition and transfer by a US School of Record.

Courses are designed to ensure student engagement and participation. Learners are introduced to the purpose and structure of the course. Communication expectations for online discussions, email, and other forms of interaction are clearly stated.

Courses have clear learning objectives that align with CAPA’s onsite Global Cities learning agenda focused around globalization, urban environments, social dynamics, diversity, and personal and professional development.

Assessment requirements are explicit and understandable. A variety of instruments are utilized, appropriate to the specific learning and skills objectives and pedagogies of each course.

Adequate and appropriate online library resources and/or course materials are available for each course.

Those elements that may be studied at any time (asynchronous) and those that require live attendance (synchronous) are clearly distinguished.

Courses are subject to regular internal and external review to ensure that they continue to align with teaching and learning objectives.

b) Faculty

All faculty have terminal degrees or professional qualifications appropriate to specific disciplines. They are experienced members of CAPA’s academic team, are regularly reviewed by academic leadership, and have appropriate faculty development opportunities.

All faculty are fully trained in the use of appropriate technology and pedagogies to encourage student engagement. CAPA blends didactic methods: teaching remotely; experiential education in a virtual mode; and globally networked learning. In blending these modes of teaching, faculty will further develop and enhance learning opportunities.

A key aspect of online learning is the flexibility it gives faculty to diversify delivery methods.

c) Syllabi

All syllabi developed henceforth will include the following (existing syllabi will be revised as courses are offered):     

  1. The technology to be used for the course along with specifications for its use.
  2. Course overview and introduction– a statement about the CAPA approach to collaborative international online learning.
  3. In addition to the relevant Student Learning and Development Outcomes (SLDOs), objectives that address remote learning and collaboration.
  4. Graded assignments and activities include rubrics and /or detailed briefs to illustrate what will be assessed and how.
  5. Instructional materials and tools to be used with information on how students access these.

d) Extra and Co-curricular Online Resources

My Global City events create opportunities for engagement with both specific cities and wider global environments. These activities explicitly relate to CAPA’s learning and development objectives. Students are regularly informed of these activities through a Monday Memo and other forms of communication. For each activity, students have access to instructional materials intended to enhance reflection.

e) Design

The course provides accessible text and images in files, documents, LMS pages, and web pages to meet the needs of diverse learners.

CAPA integrates and blends online teaching with virtual modes of experiential education intended to bring the world to students and students to the world.


Student Selection Preparation and Advising

a) Enrollment Services and Advising

While many US undergraduates are familiar with the learning processes of online provision, CAPA does not assume that all students are similarly proficient. CAPA’s team of advisers are fully proficient in advising students and ensuring that they enroll in courses suitable for their individual and academic needs.

CAPA ensures that prospective students have access to videos, vlogs, blogs, and written materials that empower them to make appropriate decisions.

b) Orientation

Students participate in required orientation sessions that cover academic practices and procedures, internship requirements, co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities. Support services are clearly outlined as are the means of access to these resources.


Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Measures

CAPA’s expectations are detailed in every course syllabus. Participation requirements, including in-class and online etiquette, and rules pertaining to plagiarism and academic integrity are made explicit. These are consistent with the standards embodied in Forum’s QUIP standards.

Institutional policies with which the learner is expected to comply are clearly stated within the course materials and at orientations.

The syllabus demonstrates the academic integrity expected of learners by providing both source references and, where appropriate, permissions for the use of instructional materials.


Policies and Procedures

New courses are subject to internal review by CAPA’s faculty and academic leadership before being submitted, firstly, to a subcommittee of the Academic Advisory Board, then, to a US School of Record for amendment and approval. This ensures that CAPA’s courses meet or exceed the standards of US higher education, that credits earned will transfer, and that students’ academic progress is ensured.

CAPA uses external reference points to assess its provision. In particular:

  1. The Forum Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad Quality Improvement Program.
  2. Review by an independent Academic Advisory Board.
  3. Oversight by US universities.
  4. Standards embodied in sources such as Quality Matters and EOCCS.
  5. Where available, CAPA also aligns with specific national quality standards such as the Quality Assurance Agency in the UK.

All policies and procedures are freely available to students and institutional partners.

Organizational and Program Resources

a) Technology

GNL, implemented in 2015, offers a tried and tested platform supported by expert and experienced staff. Advice for faculty and students is freely available.

b) Staff

CAPA staff in Boston and overseas are trained to apply CAPA standards in all areas of operation. Regular workshops and seminars ensure the maintenance of CAPA standards across all aspects of the organization.

c) Finance

CAPA’s centralized financial management team ensures that appropriate resources are made available to meet objectives. In particular, finance is dedicated to: the maintenance and improvement of technologies to support learning and teaching; development of staff and faculty; and enhancement of student opportunities within and beyond formal teaching environments.


Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management

Pressures associated with online learning are not necessarily the same as those in traditional study environments. The physical classroom offers informal opportunities for supportive interactions that are not as readily available in virtual learning environments. CAPA, therefore, creates a variety of mechanisms to ensure that students have access to support services and cybersecurity procedures, and that they are protected from cyberbullying.

Faculty offer regular opportunities for students to ask questions and receive feedback on their progress. This may take place via email or through CANVAS chat and / or virtual office hours, for example. These channels are used to monitor student progress, security, and wellbeing.

Students have opportunities to post reflections on their study and internship experiences in private online discussions to which faculty respond as coaches and mentors.

Concerns about welfare are passed to CAPA student services staff. Appropriate insurance provision is built into each program. In addition to in-house provision delivered by staff trained and experienced in risk management procedures, CAPA draws upon the services and expertise of Docleaf, a company with long experience in global risk management. CAPA provides learners with information on protecting their data and privacy.



CAPA’s advising, marketing and promotion activities for online courses are the same as those applicable to all other activities. They are consistent with the standards embodied in Forum’s QUIP standards.

No CAPA marketing makes comparisons with other organizations. CAPA’s marketing activities are based solely on the principles and objectives outlined above.

Nb. Review

The standards indicated above have been under regular review since the establishment of CAPA’s Global Network Learning provision in 2015. They will be updated as a consequence of internal and external policy guidelines and procedures, and in response to feedback from partner institutions and students.

These standards will be subject to annual review to maintain fitness for purpose.