The current OSAT is version 6. This version will be used for classes taught in the Fall 2019 semester.
The updated OSAT is version 7. This version will be used beginning with classes taught in Spring 2020 semester.
(View a table summarizing changes between OSAT versions).

What is the OSAT?

The OSAT is TCU’s diagnostic tool for assessing the extent to which an online course reflects the best practices identified by leading organizations and researchers in the field of online course delivery as well as the expectations set by our accreditor and state authorization rules.

The OSAT has been used at TCU since 2009. This reflects a broader trend toward applying insights from the fields of education, psychology, communication, and neuroscience as well as insights from user experience and user interface research to online course design and teaching practices. In addition to these research-based best practices, the OSAT incorporates TCU campus resources and teaching priorities.

The goal of the OSAT is to provide feedback about elements of an online course that help learners succeed. Accordingly, the OSAT is designed as a rubric with criterion-referenced standards in the following areas: course basics, interaction and collaboration, course facilitation, and learner support. The OSAT review will help the instructor and the distance learning team focus on actionable steps so that faculty and students have the best possible experience in the online course.

How is the OSAT used by the Koehler Center?

The OSAT is used at two points in the course review process.

New Courses / Courses with Substantive Changes

For new online courses or online courses that are subject to the university review process owing to substantive changes, the OSAT provides course development guidance and benchmarking. The Koehler Center will complete a pre-instruction OSAT for each new course in advance of the course going live.

Accordingly, the new online course must be complete (including syllabus, assessment, content, and activities) and ready for the pre-OSAT review approximately one month prior to the first day of the session/term in which the course will be offered.

If you will have a new or substantively redesigned online course requiring OSAT before it can go live, please complete the New / Redesigned Course OSAT Verification form as soon as you know the term in which you will be offering your course. This allows the distance learning team to plan our workflow to ensure your course is reviewed in a timely manner.

Development Timeline for Online Courses

Courses that do not meet these deadlines may be removed from the schedule

Term in which the course will be first taught

Deadline to notify the Koehler Center that the course is complete.

FallJuly 20
SpringDecember 1
SummerMay 1 (session start varies, consult with Koehler Center as needed)

The Koehler Center is happy to provide assistance to instructors in advance of stated deadlines. Planning ahead can accelerate the pre-OSAT review process. If instructors desire design assistance, partnership with an instructional designer typically begins 1-2 semesters prior to the course going live. Please complete the Distance Learning Services Request form if you would like course design assistance.

New online courses or online courses subject to the substantive changes university committee review process must earn an OSAT score of 70% in order to go live. A course may not earn this score on the first pre-instruction review; good course design is often an iterative process.

As the pre-OSAT review process advances, the department chair / program director will be apprised of the progress and final score of the course.

Existing Courses

Existing online courses are evaluated according to an OSAT Schedule set by the department chair / program director in consultation with the Director of Distance Learning. In addition, new courses and new online instructors will receive an OSAT following the first semester of instruction.

OSAT reviews typically begin one month after the end of the semester. Once all OSATs are complete, results will be posted in the departmental / program assessment shells for review by departmental / program leadership.

For existing courses, the OSAT begins the Identify – Diagnose – Adjust (IDA) model that guides the distance learning team in supporting the development of online courses. OSAT findings are combined with TCU Online data as well as SPOT and enrollment figures to develop actionable steps in a process of continuous course improvement. Instructors may wish to review the Fully Online Course Data Reporting Protocol.

How can I use the OSAT?

We recommend reviewing any OSATs completed for your course as well as the most current version of the OSAT when you design or revise your online course. The comments as well as the rubric can serve as a guide as you make choices about activities, communication, and course design.

The OSAT places a high priority on learning outcomes, audio/video materials, and rubrics; incorporating these high-impact practices throughout your online course will earn you points on more than one criteria in the rubric. Likewise, making sure you have student introductions, a SPOT reminder, student self-reflection activities, and a clear email response time policy are relatively straightforward things you can do to make sure you have met OSAT criteria.

When is my course due for an OSAT? Can I see my OSAT score?

Existing online courses are evaluated according to an OSAT schedule set by the department chair / program director in consultation with the Director of Distance Learning. In addition, new courses and new online instructors will receive an OSAT following the first semester of instruction.

OSAT reviews typically begin one month after the end of the semester. Once all OSATs are complete, results will be posted in the departmental / program assessment shells for review by departmental / program leadership. When OSATs have been posted to the assessment shell, instructors whose courses received an OSAT will be sent an email informing them that their chair / program director has the OSAT. Instructors should then consult with the chair / program director.

Can I request an OSAT?

We will do our best to accommodate OSAT requests, but please keep in mind that we have an OSAT schedule designed to address all online courses in turn about every two years. Our ability to accommodate special requests will depend upon the current OSAT workload as well as the academic calendar.

If we are not able to accommodate your request for an OSAT in a manner that suits your timeframe, you are always welcome to use the rubric to complete a self-evaluation of your course. We are happy to conference with you about the revision areas you have identified.