Faculty Support


  • OCPs are being accepted for Spring 2025, with a best consideration date of August 23rd, 2024.
  • OCPs received after the Spring 2024 best consideration date will be placed on a waitlist.


Online Education Matters

Online education brings higher education to rural communities and areas with limited access to transportation and technology. Its flexibility creates a pathway for students to attend school while meeting other important commitments such as work and family care. The flexibility also allows students to decide when and where learning takes place while commuting less saves them money.

In the Spring 2024 semester, 506 UNM faculty provided instruction in 1,106 online course sections, with 24,2790 students enrolled. The online student headcount was 11,832, or 66% of the Main Campus population, and of that group, 3,299 students attended exclusively online.

Online Programs and Course Types

The University of New Mexico (UNM) offers the following programs online:

There are two methods  of online course delivery: 

  • One method has no, or very few, required meetings. 
  • The other method has regularly scheduled, often weekly, class meetings. 

Commonly, online courses are conducted over the entire semester (full-term), the first half, (1H), or the second half, (2H). The Schedule of Online Courses has current online course offerings.

Online Student Protections

The University of New Mexico strives to offer the highest quality education. Because online education is delivered across state lines, there are state and federal regulations in place to ensure students are protected and receive a quality experience. For students outside New Mexico pursuing a licensure degree from UNM, it is critical to verify relevant state authorizations.  Email questions to UNM Online: saracompliance@unm.edu.  

Online Course Proposal (OCP)

As part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the approval of online courses must follow standard processes at the University. At the University of  New Mexico, UNM Online manages the online course proposal process, which is the standard process created to manage the approval of new online courses. Online courses must be developed to meet minimum Federal, State, NC-SARA, and Higher Learning Commission (HLC) compliance requirements, which are all included in the quality review process. If online courses are not developed to quality standards, then these online courses could be considered correspondence courses, which could jeopardize Title IV funding and the University’s HLC accreditation. As well, online courses that are not developed to quality standards can negatively affect student satisfaction and outcomes in relation to those courses.  

Proposals for new, fully online, courses are accepted months before they are developed. The same is true for proposals to significantly redesign an online course. Approved courses receive instructional design support from the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL). For a course receiving a development stipend, the instructional design and course development review happens through CTL, and the process is completed by the end of the first semester the course is taught.

An OCP must be initiated and approved by the academic department before submitting it to UNM Online. Visit Online Course Proposals and email questions to unmonlineproposals@unm.edu.

A course new to the online delivery type must:

  1. First receive approval from the course’s home department, then
  2. Be submitted for OCP. If it is approved,
  3. The department’s scheduling coordinator submits a scheduling form to UNM Online, and
  4. UNM Online works with the department and the Registrar’s Scheduling Office to schedule the course.
  5. A course information form must be completed for each online course section an instructor is scheduled to teach. The form must be submitted before registration opens. 

If your department is thinking of redesigning an online course, first determine what changes need to be made. If changes are small, a redesign is probably unnecessary. Refer to the Updating AOP Course Content Guidelines for a list of changes considered small, and changes that require a redesign. If you have questions about course redesign, contact unmonlineproposals@unm.edu.

Scheduling an Online Course

UNM Online facilitates online course scheduling. The academic department’s scheduling coordinator prepares and submits scheduling forms to UNM Online for pre-approval. Approved courses are inputted into Banner by the Registrar’s Scheduling Office. Email questions to onlinescheduling@unm.edu.

Course Information Form (CIF)

Faculty teaching online are required to complete a Course Information Form. The information is published to the Schedule of Online Courses and offers details not found in LoboWeb or the Catalog. Students depend on the course details to weigh faculty expectations, time commitments, the expenses involved, etc. to make registration decisions. The information disclosure is also a requirement of UNM's membership in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Visit the Course Information Form and email questions to cif@unm.edu.


Instructors must complete one of the following trainings before teaching an online or hybrid course:

1. Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching Online (EBPTO). Offered multiple times per year, EBPTO is conducted over six weeks and is open to all instructors, regardless of a course’s instructional delivery type. Training is encouraged for instructors teaching online, particularly those developing Accelerated Online Program courses. As of Summer 2021, instructors are required to complete either EBPTO or RASI training to teach online. Those who completed a training similar to EBPTO before Fall 2019 are strongly encouraged to take EBPTO.

2. Regular and Substantive Interaction (RASI) Training. RASI is accessed through Learning Central and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. In terms of online learning, topics cover regulations, student privacy, security issues, and ways to support students in the virtual learning space. Though RASI training must be completed by instructors teaching online and hybrid courses, faculty members using any amount of educational technology would benefit from the training. Tips for finding RASI in Learning Central are available on the RASI Training instructions sheet. 

Regular and Substantive Interaction

Emphasizing and prioritizing regular and substantive interaction is not only a best practice for effective online education but is also a regulatory imperative to maintain our programs' quality and eligibility. Research consistently emphasizes the critical role of regular and substantive interaction (RASI) in fostering success in online education. In alignment with these findings, the Department of Education requires that instructors offer students meaningful opportunities for such interaction within online courses. Instructors who do not implement these essential components may jeopardize the designation of their courses, potentially leading to them being classified as correspondence courses. Moreover, this non-compliance poses a significant risk to the University, potentially losing Title IV federal funding 

What is Regular Interaction?

Consistent and meaningful interaction between instructors and students is essential for success in online courses. To ensure this, instructors should engage with students in a predictable and scheduled manner, proportionate to the course length and content/competence involved. Instructors take the lead in initiating and guiding these interactions, fostering a proactive approach to communication throughout the course. While students are encouraged to reach out with questions, it is equally important for instructors to actively communicate with students, establishing a robust instructor presence and contributing to a supportive and engaging learning environment. Examples of regular interaction include: 

  • Weekly course announcements
  • Regularly scheduled office hours
  • Weekly module or assignment summaries
  • Weekly individualized or whole-class feedback on assignments
  • Explicit communication and grading timeframes

Refer to the Additional References and Resources section below for additional examples. 

Substantive Interaction

In addition to regular interaction, the types of interactions initiated by an instructor should also be substantive. The Department of Education defines substantive interaction as “engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes at least two of the following:” 

  • Providing direct instruction 
  • Assessing or providing feedback on a student’s coursework 
  • Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or competency 
  • Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency 
  • Other instructional activities approved by the institution’s or program’s accrediting agency. 

The visual below from the State University of New York (SUNY) explains how instructors can meet RASI: 


The SUNY Online OSCQR RSI illustration is used with permission from the SUNY Online/OSCQR team under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC By 4.0). To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. 

Additional References and Resources

Course Design & Development

The Center for Teaching & Learning supports faculty who intend to teach online, offering guidance on course design and development. Once an online course is approved through the OCP process, an instructional designer is assigned. From concept to delivery, designers are an excellent resource for creating effective and engaging online courses. Ongoing support is also available through CTL’s Teaching and Learning Workshops.

AOP Quality Review

An Accelerated Online Program course undergoes a rigorous review process following standards endorsed by Quality Matters, a nationally recognized rubric for best practices in online education, and by UNM’s Online Course Advisory Council (OCAC). 

An approved course goes through an AOP Quality Review that is completed before the course’s intended semester. To pass the review, the course must meet the “Accomplished” criteria, as outlined by the Online Course Advisory Council Rubric.  By scheduling a review in advance of the intended semester, an instructor allows for sufficient time to meet the required criteria. Students would also benefit from a superior online learning experience.

Instructors may personalize an AOP course shell. The course will not need to go through additional quality review unless changes to the shell are substantial. Refer to the Updating AOP Course Content Guidelines for a full list of acceptable changes. If you still have questions about course quality reviews, contact aop@unm.edu.

Learning Management System

UNM uses the Canvas learning management system: For more visit Canvas @ UNM.


Student Outreach and Course Feedback

Each semester UNM Online connects with students through two email campaigns. First, a welcome email is delivered two weeks before an online course starts. A second, similar message, is sent just prior to halfway through 8 and 16-week online courses. In both messages, students are directed to the resources featured at UNM Online/Current Students.

UNM IT administers end-of-course course evaluations. Course feedback is sought from every course, regardless of instructional delivery mode.