Federal regulations require that distance education courses, both synchronous and asynchronous, provide regular, instructor-initiated, substantive interaction.
The TLC recommends at least weekly interaction with students, in an amount that is commensurate with the credit-hours of the course. (For more on this please visit our page on Credit Hours and Time Equivalencies.)
The regulation defines substantive interaction as "engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion" and including at least two of the following:
(i) Providing direct instruction;
(ii) Assessing or providing feedback on a student's coursework;
(iii) Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or competency;
(iv) Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency; or
(v) Other instructional activities approved by the institution's or program's accrediting agency.
See the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 34, §600.2
Additionally, instructors in online courses are expected to monitor a student's academic engagement and success and "promptly and proactively" engage with the student "when needed on the basis of such monitoring, or upon request by the student."
Correspondence courses do not need to meet this requirement. Please reference the WVU Catalog for more information on course modalities.