RSI & Student Engagement

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Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI)

Distance education (online, hybrid, and remote) uses technology to deliver instruction to students. Developing connections with your students is critically important in the online learning environment as you are removed from the physical space of a traditional classroom where you would normally interact with students.

You must still foster these connections with students for your online course by engaging in regular and substantive interaction (RSI) with students to promote a strong sense of instructor presence and community in the online classroom.

Why substantive interaction matters:

Instructor regular and substantive interaction in online courses can positively influence student engagement and retention, and a sense of community among online learners in your course. RSI is the foundation for effective online teaching and learning that impacts UCC and our students:

  • Positive impact on students
    • Student Success
    • Retention
    • Advancement
  • Effects on Financial Aid
    • An institution that offers completely competency based education or distance education, needs to make sure they meet the regular and substantive requirements otherwise they risk losing funding and could face fines if found in non-compliance. The U.S. Department of Education requires that all online courses for which students may use Title IV funds “ensure that there is regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors.” The DOE has the authority to review distance learning offerings at colleges and universities that receive federal funds.
  • RSI is more than a federal requirement, it is the foundation of effective online teaching and learning.

Click here to download the UCC Faculty adopted RSI Guidelines and Checklist


Professional Development: Creating Presence

Online instruction can feel isolating for students, but there are ways to increase your instructor presence and connection with students in the online learning experience.

This three-part series of video workshops will cover various ways and tools to strengthen RSI and presence in your online courses. Each workshop will help you reflect on your current level of presence and identify ways to strengthen presence to cultivate a meaningful student learning experience.

Workshop 1: Creating Instructor Presence

RSI Workshop 1

Start this workshop by clicking the image above, or click here to start RSI Workshop 1

Workshop 2: Designing and Managing Discussions

RSI Workshop 2

 Start this workshop by clicking the image above, or click here to start RSI Workshop 2

Instructor Resources


zoom logoZoom allows you to create virtual classrooms and group spaces to provide effective teaching and learning experiences for your online or supplemented class. It is conveniently integrated into Canvas and it can be used without Canvas. Here are some of the common uses:

  Zoom for Students         Zoom for Teachers

Live Training Webinars with Zoom

Deliver a virtual live class session

Record your classroom lecture

Conduct virtual office hours

Deliver test reviews

Application and desktop sharing

Provide a space for student group project collaboration

Other features include: Polling, Breakout rooms, Interactive Whiteboard




Screencast-o-matic is a free tool to record your screen, video, and audio. It is easy to record and has a paid version to a really cool video editor. Contact UCCOnline to get permission to use the video editor as a UCC teacher.



icon-turnitin.jpgLearn more how Turnitin is more than a plagiarism tool.

This tool is available to all instructors to use. It is integrated into Canvas and ready to use for all instructors.

Contact UCCOnline for more information.

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