Online Education Policy and Procedure
For the purposes of this policy, distance education is defined as a formal educational process in which the majority of the instructional interaction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. Distance education includes computer technologies. This policy shall apply to all credit-bearing courses and programs offered through distance education by the University
The following basic principles have been articulated:
- While the University ensures academic freedom and wishes to encourage innovation in instruction, the faculty also has a collective responsibility to ensure the academic quality and integrity of the University’s courses, programs, and degrees. This responsibility extends to those courses and programs offered through Distance Education.
- Faculty and students have a right to know the modes of delivery and technological requirements of each course, program, and degree offered by the University. Students shall have access to this information before enrolling in a course or program.
- Distance education programs and courses shall be consistent with the educational mission of the University.
- Courses which are offered as Distance Education shall provide the opportunity for substantial, personal, and timely interactions between faculty and students.
- Students in the Distance Education program shall have adequate access to library and student services.
- The University shall provide appropriate support services to faculty who teach Distance Education courses.
- Distance Education program in the University is an optional mode of instruction. Nothing in this policy shall imply that Distance Education is a preferred or required mode of instruction in the school curriculum.
1. Curriculum and Instruction
1) In the curricular review process, distance education programs shall demonstrate that they provide the opportunity for substantial, personal, and timely interactions between faculty and enrolled students.
2) The director of the distance education program assumes responsibility for and exercises oversight over the program, ensuring both the rigor of the courses and the quality of instruction. This includes:
i. The selection and evaluation of formally approved adjunct and/or part-time faculty.
ii. Ensuring that the technology used suits the nature and objectives of the Distance Education program.
iii. Ensuring the currency of materials, courses, and program.
iv. Ensuring the integrity of student work and the credibility of the degrees and credits the University awards.* It is the responsibility of the director to ensure that reasonable safeguards are in place to prevent academic dishonesty.
3) Ownership of materials, faculty compensation, and copyright issues shall be agreed upon by the instructor and the University prior to the initial offering of a course.
4) No individual, program, or department shall agree in a contract with any private or public entity to deliver distance education courses or programs on behalf of the University without prior approval from the university.
2. Evaluation and Assessment
1) Faculty Committee shall review all Distance Education courses, even if the curriculum is largely derived from existing campus-based courses and shall continue to ensure that the educational program offered through distance education is appropriate for delivery through distance education methods.
2) The method of delivery for new courses shall become part of each curriculum proposal, to be reviewed under the normal curricular process.
3) Any significant change in the method of delivery for existing courses or programs shall be submitted as a course change proposal, to be reviewed by the director of the distance education.
4) The academic review process by the committee shall be used to evaluate the educational effectiveness of Distance Education courses (including assessments of student based learning outcomes, student retention, and student satisfaction), and when appropriate, determine comparability to campus-based programs.This process shall also be used to assure the conformity of Distance Education courses to prevailing quality standards in the field of distance education.
5) A review and approval of all distance education courses, including those initially approved by the director of Distance Education, shall begin immediately and conclude within two years of the implementation of this policy. This review shall follow the normal process specified in the policy file.
6) The University shall maintain clear standards for satisfactory academic progress.
7) The University shall ensure the completion of student evaluation of learning outcomes by duly qualified faculty, which are appropriate for use with the distance education methods used, and evaluated by duly qualified faculty.
3. Facilities and Finances
The program administrators shall provide evidence in the curricular proposal that:
1) The University standards are followed in setting course-loads per instructor and/or academic unit.
2) The program possesses or has access to the equipment and technical expertise required to deliver distance education courses and programs.*
3) Any distance education program has received resource approval prior to commencing operation.
1. Calendar and Course Credits
1) Distance Education Courses will be offered according to the general University academic calendar. Courses are offered on a semester calendar, however, if appropriate, shorter cycles are permitted with the permission of the Distance Education office.
2) Final examinations will be scheduled according to the designated examination period for the semester or cycle, unless otherwise approved by the Distance Education office.
3) Academic Credit will be awarded by designated course units on the basis of course content, course competence, extent of student time on task and instructor-student contact.
4) As with any transfer coursework, academic credit may be transferred from a distance education course offered by other colleges or universities that are accredited by recognized agencies.
2. Course Integrity
1) Distance Education courses will comply with all related the University policies, including but not limited to:
a. Academic integrity
b. Code of Ethics
c. Student Code of Conduct
d. Disciplinary Policy
e. Policy on Discrimination and Harassment
2) Courses will reflect good practices relating to:
a. Well-articulated learning goals and expectations.
b. Course procedures (e.g. communication, assignment submission)
c. Student assessment
d. Program and Course assessment
e. University Disciplinary Policy
f. University Policy on Discrimination and Harassment
g. The inclusion of well articulated learning goals, course expectations and requirements, and methods of communication with instructor, on the course syllabus.
Student transcript for Distance Education courses will be handled as traditional face-to-face course. Transcripts will not reflect the modality of courses.
4. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
References to personal traits such as race, ethnicity, disabilities, age, and gender may be made public in accordance with the FERPA regulations.
5. Instructor’s Responsibility
Instructors in Distance Education program have responsibility for the quality of all program curricula. Ultimately, it is the instructor who is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the Distance Education offerings.
6. Student Performance Assessment
In specific cases student work may be utilized to serve a larger assessment such as for accreditation purposes. Such assessments will vary by the University and instructors should confer with designated officer whether his/her course is subject to such assessment.
The program administrators shall ensure that:
1. The University shall employ a sufficient number of faculty to assure that (A) the institution’s response to, or evaluation of, each student lesson is returned to the student within 10 days after the lesson is received by the institution; and (B) the institution’s response to, or evaluation of, each student project or dissertation is returned to the student within the time disclosed in the catalog.
2. The University shall maintain a record of the dates on which lessons, projects, and dissertations were received and responses were returned to each student.
3. The University shall ensure that the materials and programs are current, well organized, designed by faculty competent in distance education technique and delivered using readily available, reliable technology.
4. The University standards are followed in assigning course loads to instructors and awarding incentives to instructors teaching courses in distance education programs.
5. The Distance Education office possesses or has access to equipment, software, technical/design/production expertise, training, and technical/administrative support for effective and proficient delivery of distance education courses and programs, including potential changes in the technology or course structure.
6. The University ensures its long-range planning, budgeting, and policy development processes reflect the staffing, equipment, facilities, and other resources essential for the viability and effectiveness of distance education courses and programs.*
1. Library and Learning Resource
The program administrators shall ensure that:
1) Students have adequate access to and support in the use of appropriate library resources;
2) Students have access to laboratories, facilities, and equipment appropriate to the courses.
3) Students are provided with an adequate means for developing the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to use effectively any technology required for distance education courses.
4) Students are provided with necessary technical support, during evenings and weekends as well as "regular" operating hours, to resolve hardware and software problems encountered while enrolled in distance education courses.
2. Student Services
The program administrators shall ensure that:
1) Students are provided with accurate and timely information about the University, its distance education courses and programs, costs, and related policies and requirements.
2) Students are provided with an adequate means for developing the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to use effectively any technology required for distance education courses.
3) Students are provided with necessary technical support, during evenings and weekends as well as "regular" operating hours, to resolve hardware and software problems encountered while enrolled in distance education courses.
4) Students are provided with adequate access to the range of student services including enrollment/registration, academic advising, tutoring, career counseling and placement, personal counseling, and disability services.
5) Students are provided with an adequate means for resolving student complaints and grievances.
6) Students are provided with meaningful interaction with faculty who are qualified to teach using distance education methods. (5CCR71715(d)(4))
1. The University assesses each student, prior to admission, in order to determine whether each student has the skills and competencies to succeed in a distance education environment.
2. The University shall provide adequate support services for the instructor and students participating in Distance Education courses, including necessary equipment, personnel and training.
3. The University designates the Distance Education office for technology support regarding the Distance Education program.
4. The Distance Education office handles administrative systems, equipment maintenance and general user support.
5. The Distance Education office also handles faculty support including instructional application and pedagogical issues involving technology.
6. The Distance Education office shall provide guidance and manuals for student training for the program.
7. Personal technology support is provided via telephone or email.
Intellectual Property Rights
Ownership of materials, instructor compensation, and copyright issues shall be agreed upon by the instructor and the University prior to the initial offering of a Distance Education course. Unless otherwise agreed by the University and the instructor and specified in writing, the University claims the intellectual property rights on the educational contents and materials in the course so that the University can use the intellectual property and its future potential for the University.