This section of the Guide is focused entirely on practical and technical standards. Most of the areas covered in this section are standards developed for web design in general, and as such are important to consider when developing a course that is either entirely online or has a strong online component. Some of these standards have a
basis in law (e.g. copyright compliance and adherence to the Americans with Disability Act), and as such deserve your full attention.

This section is broken into three general areas: Legal Standards, Usability Standards, and Multimedia Standards. As in the prior section of this Guide, each section begins with a table listing the design elements for that category, and showing how each of these elements supports the fundamental educational values. Each design element is then listed, together with an overview, a brief description of ways to incorporate that element into your class, and a list of resources.

You will note that some elements are listed in the table and in the body text in italics. The italicized elements are considered to be the most critical elements, which define a baseline level for course quality. If possible, these elements should be achieved in an online class as soon as possible.

Italicized elements are considered to be fundamental and required in any high-quality course.



A. Legal Standards


This section addresses legal issues that you must consider when designing class materials. These are appropriate use of intellectual property, and designing the class to meet the technical standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Underlying Values
Legal Standards
Design Standards



B. Usability Standards


The materials presented in this section pertain to the usability of the course materials. "Usability" simply means that your course is easy to use and maintain, so that you and your students may focus on your course materials rather than the technology. These standards are intended to help you realize that objective.

Underlying Values
Usability Standards
Design Elements



C. Multimedia Standards

Not all courses will make use of multimedia materials, but if you do use multimedia you should pay careful attention to the standards in this section.

Underlying Values
Multimedia Standards
Design Elements