Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI) Deep Dive: Understanding, Planning, Documenting and Ensuring RSI Compliance with OSCQR

Workshop Session 1

Brief Abstract

Meaningful engagement between instructors and students is an essential component of successful online and blended learning, driving higher quality interactions and experiences. This aligns with research-based effective online practices, accreditation requirements, as well as the US Department of Education’s (DoE) regulation requiring online courses to demonstrate regular and substantive interaction (RSI) "to ensure federal financial aid funds are used appropriately."

Additional Authors

Extended Abstract

This workshop will 1) Provide an overview of the US DoE regulation requiring Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI) in distance education courses, to clarify definitions, scope, and purpose, and establish a common understanding, as well as implications for accountability at the campus, course design, and instructional levels. 2) Illustrate how OSCQR, the SUNY/OLC online course quality rubric, can be leveraged to build awareness about the RSI at institutional, instructional designer, and faculty levels, first by providing an overview of the OSCQR tools and related resources, and then by digging into the RSI-focused OSCQR standards. 3) Provide planning and documentation templates to support workshop participants in creating a plan of action for their future RSI work.


The workshop will be a combination of presentation, and interactive participant Turn & Talk activities that will center on the following questions: What strategies can you use/develop at various levels to build awareness, understanding, and to support RSI?  How is online course quality addressed in online/blended at your home institution? How is RSI implemented across varied instructional modalities?  Workshop participants will have the opportunity to consider RSI use cases in small group discussions, and to brainstorm in preparation for developing an implementation plan for an RSI initiative, including the use of templates provided for planning and documenting the initiative. 


Participants will leave this workshop with greater understanding and practical knowledge for how to:

  1. Identify the essential elements of Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)
  2. Apply the OSCQR Rubric to assess and improve RSI within online and blended courses
  3. Evaluate use cases for practical, easy-to-use tools to assist in cultivating engagement
  4. Develop a plan of action to drive higher quality interactions and experiences


Workshop participants will also:

  1. Become a SUNY Online Fellow in the "Friend of SUNY" role, so we can continue the conversation started in the session.
  2. Receive the RSI OQCQR badge
  3. Be invited to join the SUNY Online Teaching networking community group.  


Workshop Resources: