202 - Distance Learning
The College promotes the development and delivery of accredited courses through distance learning (DL) within the constraints of technology and the institutional budget. The College seeks to provide high-school students, on-campus students, and working adults with synchronous and asynchronous educational options, as well as electronically available resources to supplement and enhance learning.
The individual charged with DL, acts as the chief supervisor of DL courses, programs, services, standards, and protocols. They share the responsibility of maintaining the quality standards set forth by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC, formerly NCA) and Minnesota State, with the V.P. of Academic Affairs, Academic Affairs staff, Administration, IT, Marketing, and Faculty. The development, approval, delivery and support of DL shall comply with the specific requirements and procedures below.
- Ensure that courses, certificates, diplomas, and degrees are authorized by Minnesota State and HLC (formerly NCA) in accordance with established institutional procedures, and meet their quality standards at the time of implementation and on an on-going basis.
- Commit ongoing financial and technical support for the continuation of the program or course for a period of time reasonable and sufficient for students to complete the course or program.
- Support/provide faculty development/training.
- Provide adequate equipment, software, support, and communications access to faculty teaching via DL to support interaction with students, institutions, and other faculty.
- Integrate and support e-student services as available/applicable in accordance with Minnesota State guidelines.
- Provide reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities.
- Ensure data integrity and data privacy for students.
- Provide a secure testing environment.
- Establish email accounts for online students in a timely manner to facilitate communication between instructor and student.
a. Schedule a distance learning course with the Dean at the same time as traditional face-to-face courses indicating the media code.
- Courses that use Interactive television (ITV) to connect teachers and students. Media Codes 04 (sending) and 08 (receiving).
- Courses that use the Internet to deliver the entire course, perhaps requiring only a cohort meeting at the beginning or once during the course. No more than two required activities or meetings of the class as a cohort may occur, one of which may be a required proctored exam. Media Code 03
- Courses with reduced classroom seat time and some instruction delivered online. The course blends online and face-to-face delivery. Media Code 09.
- Courses that use the Internet to deliver the entire course online. The course has NO required face-to-face meetings, NO required proctored exams, and NO required "synchronous" meetings. Media Code 12.
- Courses that use the Internet to deliver the entire course online. The course has NO required face-to-face meetings and NO required proctored exams. The course has required synchronous online meetings or activities: the full class meets online at a specified or scheduled time. Media Code 13.
b. Demonstrate technological competence prior to the course offering.
- Any faculty member who teaches via ITV must seek training from IT and work with faculty experienced in using it until s/he feels comfortable teaching with the technology.
- Any faculty member who teaches online must seek pedagogical training (provided online) and Instructional Management System training (provided in house or online) before teaching online.
c. Agree to uphold the following standards for online courses (Media Code 03 or 09):
- Ensure that the course is pedagogically sound in that:
- The academic standards are the same as those for courses delivered traditionally.
- Learning outcomes are appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the award granted, and are accurately and appropriately measured.
- Activities teach students to assess the validity of digital resources.
- The course is coherent and complete.
- Student-to-student interaction is built into the curriculum.
- Provide a detailed course outline to future students that is accessible via the Internet
- Orient each student to the instructor, to the other students, to the course room (navigation), and expectations using at least two different communication methods:
- Post and facilitate discussion threads
- Phone each student
- Hold synchronous online meetings
- Hold an on-campus orientation with students
- Humanize the course by building relationships with students (e.g., call students, use discussion threads to facilitate chit chat, develop teams).
- Provide timely (within 1 working day) and constructive feedback to students' assignments and questions.
- Integrate continuous assessment components into e-learning courses by directing and encouraging students to complete the Online learning process evaluation at the end of each course.
Approved: June 30, 2004
Reviewed: December 28, 2010; October 23, 2013
Revised: September 29, 2008; February 7, 2011