Academic Policy  1230.00

Learning Management System (LMS) Policy

  1. Purpose

    The University of Arkansas recognizes the importance of a consistent and stable learning management system in the facilitation and innovation of teaching and learning beyond the traditional classroom setting.

    The purpose of this Learning Management System Policy is to outline the University of Arkansas’ requirements for use of the current University of Arkansas official enterprise learning management system (LMS), student information system (SIS), and related academic technology applications. The SIS is the official system used by the Registrar’s office to store, track, and maintain records of for-credit courses, instructors of record, student enrollments, grades, and student data. The LMS is the official system used by instructors to deliver content, assignments, and other course materials to students. All enrollments and course information for for-credit courses are created in the SIS and sent to the LMS.

    This policy applies to all users of the LMS, SIS, and related applications, including administrators, instructors, teaching assistants, graders, Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders or embedded tutors, instructional designers, instructors with user management, students, and all members of the University of Arkansas community who have a UARK account. It covers access to the LMS for participating in, developing, implementing, administering, and/or supporting on campus and online learning experiences.

    In addition to this LMS policy, use of the LMS, SIS, and related technology applications is subject to all applicable University policies.

  2. Access to the LMS
    1. UARK Users

      All members of the University of Arkansas community who have a UARK email account, including faculty, staff, and students, have access to the LMS if needed for official University purposes. Users can log into the LMS by visiting learn.uark.edu. To secure the learning environment, all UARK accounts and external instructor accounts require multi-factor authentication to log into the LMS.

    2. Users without UARK Accounts
      1. Non-Credit Courses
        1. Users without UARK accounts who are taking, teaching, or assisting with non-credit courses through the University of Arkansas Global Campus or one of the colleges may be added to the LMS with an external email account. The program administrators should request user additions by emailing the LMS administrator a file that contains the LMS course ID, first name, last name, email address, and role of all users.
        2. Not all software, tools, or services are licensed for non-UARK use and may not be available to non-UARK users. Examples include some library services, web conferencing, and other third-party tools.
      2. Consortium Courses & Courses with a Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)
        1. Users without UARK accounts who are taking consortium or other courses with memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the University of Arkansas may be added to the LMS in the “Student” role.
        2. Not all software, tools, or services are licensed for non-UARK use and may not be available to non-UARK users. Examples include some library services, web conferencing, and other third-party tools.
      3. For-Credit Courses
        1. No users should be added to for-credit courses with a role higher than “Student” or equivalent without a UARK account.
        2. The exceptions are temporary access for External Instructor Accounts (see section VI.B.3 of this policy) and vendor support accounts.

  3. Course Creation in the LMS
    1. SIS For-Credit Classes
      All active for-credit classes in the SIS have empty course templates automatically created in the LMS before the start of the semester, or once the class is created in the SIS. All instructors of record and teaching assistants listed in the SIS automatically have access to their courses. See section V.A. below for more information. Students listed in the SIS are automatically enrolled in the LMS, but they do not have full access to the course until the instructor makes the course available.

    2. Non-Credit Courses
      Non-credit course templates can be requested by contacting the LMS administrator. Inactive non-credit courses are subject to the course retention requirements listed below.

    3. Training or Internal Non-Credit Courses
      Departments and groups within the University may host University-related training courses in the LMS. To request a training course, contact the LMS administrator. Inactive training and internal non-credit courses are subject to the course retention requirements listed below.

    4. UA Community Courses; Departments & Registered Student Organizations
      UA departments and registered student organizations may request UA community courses in the LMS for the purpose of communicating and sharing content with department and RSO members. To request a community course, contact the LMS administrator. Community courses are subject to the course retention policy listed below.

    5. Development & Sandbox Courses
      Users may request development and/or sandbox courses to use as templates for new course development or for training purposes. To request a development or sandbox course, contact the LMS administrator. Development and sandbox courses will periodically be reviewed for deletion from the system. The LMS administrator will make reasonable efforts to contact course owners to ensure that courses can be deleted.

  4. Combining/Merging Sections
    This section discusses the process of taking two or more independent sections and putting them together into a single section. In the SIS, these are referred to as “combined section classes” and the process is called “combining.” In the LMS, these are referred to as courses and it is called “merging.”

    1. Policy
      Classes that meet at the same time and in the same location or with no set date/time are eligible for combination in the SIS. Departments should combine eligible classes in the SIS before priority registration begins, or at the time that the classes are created in the SIS. Classes combined in the SIS are automatically merged in the LMS. Courses will only be merged in the LMS if they are combined in the SIS or if they meet one of the exceptions listed below.

      It is important to recognize that if classes are combined in the SIS after content and student submissions have been added to the course in the LMS, all such content and submissions will be permanently deleted in the LMS.

      If classes are not able to be combined in the SIS or are not pre-approved for merging in the LMS and an instructor or Department Chair/Head seeks an exception to merge in the LMS only, the request for an exception must be approved in writing by the department Chair/Head, the College Dean’s Office, and the Provost’s Office. The approved Request for Course Merge in Learning Management System form must then be submitted to the LMS administrator as soon as possible but no later than one week prior to the start of the semester or session.

    2. Eligible SIS Combined Section Classes
      Classes that are eligible for combining in the SIS happen automatically when the department submits it in the SIS. No further approval is required.

      In order to protect the privacy of student education records (including, but not limited to, class video recordings, assignment information, and enrollment data) in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), only those classes that meet at the same time and in the same location, courses with no set meeting pattern, or a combination of these are commonly eligible for combining in the SIS.

      The following are examples of eligible classes that may be combined in the SIS:

      1. Cross-listed classes that meet at the same time in the same location
        • Example: AAST 4853 and ENGL 4853 (MWF 2:00pm)
      2. Honors and Non-honors sections that meet at the same time and in the same location.
        • Example: HIST 2003 and HIST 2003H (T/TH 2:00pm)
      3. Honors and non-honors sections with no set meeting pattern
        • Example: CIED 3023 section 901 and CIED 3023H section 901
      4. 3000 and 4000-level and graduate-level classes that meet at the same time and same location.
        • Example: HIST 4463 and HIST 6463 (MWF 11:00am)
      5. Internships, Practicums, clinicals, or equivalent with no set meeting pattern
        • Example: INT 300V section 001 and INT 300V 601
      6. Study Abroad with no set meeting pattern

    3. Eligible LMS Merged Courses

      While the following classes cannot be combined in the SIS, they are approved for merging in the LMS, by the LMS administrator, upon the request of the instructor. The request by the instructor to the LMS administrator is sufficient for approval.

      1. Approved classes with on campus and off-campus locations with simultaneous delivery
        • Example: ELEG 4533 section 001 and section 921 or MEEG 4483 section 001 and section 921
      2. Honors and non-honors sections that meet at the same time with an additional class meeting.
        • Example: HDFS 3443 and HDFS 3443H (T/TH 11:00am)
      3. Studio classes, clinicals, or equivalent with no set meeting time.
        • Examples: MUAP studio classes and AERO classes
      4. Multiple lab or drill sections with overlapping enrollment with a Lecture section.
        • Example: PHYS 1034 section L001 – section L003 if the enrollment overlaps with the main lecture PHYS 1034 section 001. Note: if the enrollment is not overlapping, it must be submitted for approval. See IV.D Courses that Require Approval for Merging in the LMS.
    4. These requests should be sent to LMS administrator as soon as possible but no later than one week prior to the start of the semester. The LMS administrator may ask for clarification from administration in some instances.
    1. Courses that Require Approval for Merging in the LMS

      If there is a specific pedagogical need to merge courses that do not meet the requirements listed above, instructors must submit the Request for Course Merge in Learning Management System form for approval to the department Chair/Head, the College Dean’s Office, and the Provost’s Office. If the request is approved, it must be submitted to the LMS administrator as soon as possible but no later than one week prior to the start of the semester. All course content and student submissions in the LMS prior to courses being merged will be permanently deleted.

      Courses will be approved for merging for up to three years. Instructors who teach courses that are approved for merging for up to three years will still have to contact the LMS administrator each semester to request to merge the courses, but if there are no substantial pedagogical changes from the time approval was granted, they do not need to submit the Request for Course Merge in Learning Management System form for approval.

      Administrative ease (such as the desire to be able to add course content in the LMS only once, instead of in multiple courses) may not be a sufficient justification for merging courses. However, the LMS offers other tools to enhance administrative convenience. See section VIII. Adding Content to Courses for more information.

      In order to protect the privacy of student education records (including, but not limited to, class video recordings, assignment information, and enrollment data) in accordance with FERPA, the following classes/courses cannot be combined/merged in the SIS or in the LMS without the approved Request for Course Merge in Learning Management System form:

      1. Different sections of the same class that do not meet at the same time
        • Example: PHIL 1003 sections 001 and 002
      2. Classes with different instructional modes such as online and face-to-face or online synchronous and online asynchronous classes.
        • Example: ARCH 1003 section 001 and ARCH 1003 section 901
      3. Different lab sections that do not have overlapping enrollment with a lecture section.
        • Example: Phys 2031 lab sections 001-0013 where students may be enrolled in either PHYS 2031 sections 001 or 002

      Courses with identical enrollment cause technical issues in the LMS and cannot be manually merged. Example: Lecture section and corresponding lab.

      Note: If an instructor is co-teaching multiple sections of the same class with other instructors, the instructors should all be listed in the SIS as primary or secondary instructors. These classes cannot be combined unless they all meet at the same time and location, or with the approved Request for Course Merge in Learning Management System form.

  1. Content Storage & Data Retention

    To optimize the performance of the LMS, to operate within product licensing limits, and to align with University academic policies, data and content stored within the LMS will be limited.

    1. Course Retention
      The LMS is not an official repository for permanent storage of course materials. All course materials should be preserved by the instructors at the end of each semester to a University file storage solution.

      Course materials within the LMS, including full course content, grades, and all student work, will be retained within the LMS for a period of “two years following the assignment of final grades for all coursework” as required by Academic Policy 1480.10. This is consistent with the policy on Incompletes, which requires that “all course requirements have been completed within twelve (12) months after the end of the term in which the ‘I’ was assigned,” as well as the policy on grade disputes, which requires that “all grievances concerning course grades must be filed within one calendar year of the end of the term in which the grade that is being appealed was assigned.” This process also complies with Fayetteville Policy 218.0 on record retention, Fayetteville Policy 309.4 on data classification, and Fayetteville Policy 309.5 on data use and retention.

      Courses older than two years will be permanently deleted from the LMS. Instructors and departments will be notified each semester, prior to course deletion, of the courses that are scheduled for deletion. Instructors and/or departments are responsible for exporting or archiving course materials and student work that must be kept for accreditation purposes beyond the two years. In special circumstances, departments may request that certain courses be retained in the LMS for longer than this period. Such requests may be made to the LMS administrator.

    2. Course Data Quotas

      A course data quota will be placed on all courses in the LMS. Users are responsible for reducing the size of content within their courses and should follow the guidelines for reducing content in the LMS. For questions, users can contact the LMS administrator. In rare circumstances, users can request an increase to the quota. Instructors can make such requests to the LMS administrator. Before a quota is increased, a review of content usage will be required to determine whether a quota increase is needed or content can be compressed, deleted, or presented in different formats.

  2. Special Roles & Permissions

    The university states that “access to personally identifiable information contained in educational records may be given to appropriate University administrators, faculty members or staff members who require this access to perform their legitimate educational duties,” consistent with FERPA. All user roles in the LMS must adhere to UA System Policy 515.1 and the University’s annual FERPA notice regarding privacy protections for student educational records. The following is a list of LMS roles, as well as their definitions and description of the permissions each role has been granted. 

    1. LMS Support Staff with “Quick Enroll”
      1. Definition
        Support staff with Quick Enroll privileges are able to enroll in courses as an instructor in order to facilitate troubleshooting and support. This privilege allows staff members to view full course content, including information protected by FERPA

      2. Permissions
        By request and with approval of the department chair/head or supervisor of support staff who assist instructors with course creation (such as instructional designers) and who support instructors and students with technical issues (such as level 2 and 3 help desk or educational support specialists) may have access to Quick Enroll in courses as instructors to provide instructional design and escalated levels of technical support.

        Approved support staff must agree to the parameters set by FERPA and security, attend training sessions as requested, and sign acknowledgment forms in order to maintain access to these elevated privileges. Because Quick Enroll privileges provide access to FERPA-protected information and enrolls the user in the course at the instructor level, these privileges are limited and may be revoked by the LMS administrator at any time in the case of a security issue or other violation. The supervisor will be alerted when permissions are revoked, and a review will be conducted.

        Quick Enroll should be temporary, and if support staff need extended access, they should submit a role change request to the LMS administrator. All support staff should unenroll from courses promptly after the support has been provided in order to prevent reporting and auditing issues. Support staff with this privilege should familiarize themselves with University resources regarding the requirements of FERPA and must sign the FERPA acknowledgement form. At the end of the term, all support staff are required to unenroll from all SIS for-credit courses.

    2. Faculty & Instructors
      1. Definition
        Instructors have full access to the course Control Panel. This role is generally assigned to the person teaching or facilitating the class. If a course is unavailable to students, users with the Instructor role may still access it. The instructor is included in the course details.

      2. Permissions
        All instructional staff listed in the SIS as primary or secondary instructor will automatically be added in the “Instructor” role and receive access to courses in the LMS each semester. Instructors must have official UARK accounts in order to gain access to the LMS and, if assigned to a graduate course, have the appropriate graduate faculty status.

      3. External Instructor Accounts
        If a new hire needs temporary access to the LMS for extenuating circumstances, the department chair/head must contact the LMS administrator to request special access with an external email account. For security and auditing reasons, this temporary account will authenticate using Microsoft Azure, like UARK accounts, and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) will be required.

        For contractual reasons, these temporary accounts may not have access to all software, tools, or services that are licensed for UARK users such as some library services, web conferencing, and other third-party tools. Access is restricted to the LMS.

        The temporary external accounts can be used until UARK accounts are available. If an instructor does not have a UARK account after 11 days for full semester classes, 3 days for intersession classes, or 7 days for summer classes and shorter sessions, then departments and the Registrar will be notified. An alternative instructor should be added to the SIS.

    3. Teaching Assistant Access to Courses
      1. Definition
        Users with the “Teaching Assistant” role have access to most of the course Control Panel. If the course is unavailable to students, Teaching Assistants may still access the course. The Teaching Assistant is not included in the course details. Teaching Assistants have full access to the Grade Center and grading.

      2. Permissions
        If a Teaching Assistant is assigned in the SIS as “Class Assistant,” they will automatically be added in the “Teaching Assistant” role and receive access to courses in the LMS each semester. The roster roll in the SIS should be “none.” If the course is a graduate level course, the instructor must certify that the teaching assistant shall have no independent grading authority over graduate students in the course and receive permission by the Dean of the Graduate School or their designee in order to have the Teaching Assistant added manually in the LMS. In this case, these users should not be added via the SIS. If a graduate assistant is teaching a class as the instructor of record, see section VI.B. Faculty and Instructors.

    4. Graduate Faculty Status
      The Higher Learning Commission prohibits adding any individuals to graduate-level courses with a role greater than “Student” unless they have at least a “Graduate Faculty Instructor” status in the SIS. The Graduate Faculty consists of those faculty members in areas or departments in which graduate study is offered who have been approved by the Graduate Council.

      Graduate students may be granted “Graduate Faculty” status under extenuating circumstances, with the approval of the Graduate Council. This status is only available for one semester at a time and only for courses in which the graduate student is not teaching their peers (defined as students in the same degree program).

      Graduate students who are teaching a graduate level course must be entered in SIS as either the “Instructor” of record or “Teaching Assistant.” To add Graduate students or other Instructors to Graduate level courses, those users should request “Graduate Faculty” status as indicated in Academic Policy 1405.19 or obtain permission from the Dean of the Graduate School or their designee by filling out the Graduate Faculty Status Form. Instructors and graduate students who have “Graduate Faculty” status can be added to the SIS. If they do not have “Graduate Faculty” status, they will be unable to be added to the SIS and must request “Graduate Faculty” status in accordance with the above section.

      For courses that have combined graduate/undergraduate sections, instructors must request approval from the Dean of the Graduate School or their designee for teaching assistants to be added to the course manually in the LMS. These teaching assistants cannot be added via the SIS. The instructor must certify that the teaching assistant shall have no independent grading authority over graduate students in the course. The Dean of the Graduate School or their designee may request that the graduate assistant be manually added by the LMS administrator into the appropriate course role.

    5. Instructor with User Management Privileges
      1. Definition
        This custom course role is only used in Non-Credit Courses. Users with this role will not be used in courses originating in the SIS.

      2. Permissions
        This role is similar to the “Instructor” role, but the user has the ability to add and remove users from the course and change user roles. The LMS administrator will only assign this role to users in non-credit courses at the request of the program coordinator or course requestor.

    6. Secondary Accounts
      1. Definition
        A secondary account is an alternative login. Secondary accounts are often "service" accounts for application administration, or departmental/organizational uses. While the accounts are 'owned' by an individual, some are shared between multiple users, which can pose security and privacy issues.

      2. Support Staff Permissions
        Support staff who are also students at the University will be required to use a secondary UARK account to perform all work duties within the LMS, and they will not be permitted to use their primary (student) account for any work-related duties. This helps prevent security issues, enrollment issues, as well as other logistical issues when logging into the LMS. The secondary account can only be used by the staff member and may not be shared with others. This secondary account will require the use of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to ensure security protocols are followed.

      3. Other Secondary Account Permissions
        1. All secondary accounts enrolled in courses in the LMS must have MFA enabled.
        2. Instructors with secondary accounts for the purpose of enrolling in their course as a “Student” are permitted. The instructor may request that the LMS administrator add this student account to courses.
        3. No secondary accounts will be enrolled in courses with permissions higher than the “Student” role or equivalent in the LMS with the exception listed in VI.F.2. Support Staff Permissions.
        4. No shared secondary accounts are permitted in the LMS.
  3. Course Enrollment
    Users will not be manually enrolled in a course role in the LMS that is managed by the SIS.

    1. Instructor Role
      1. All instructors in the course must be added in the SIS as primary or secondary instructors. This includes co-instructors.
      2. If a graduate student is the instructor for a course or lab, they must be added in the SIS as instructor of record.
      3. No instructors in for-credit courses will be manually added by the LMS administrator.
      4. If instructors wish to view/use content in another instructor’s face-to-face course, they will need permission from the instructor of record. If instructors wish to use content in an online course, they will need permission from the Department Head/Chair. They must contact the LMS administrator, who will create a development course and copy the requested content into that course. The LMS administrator will not add instructors to past or current courses for the sole purpose of sharing content.
      5. If an instructor or department wants instructors to be added to a course in order to assist new instructors in a course or to provide feedback on a course, they can contact the LMS administrator, who can add the individual as a “Course Builder” or “Viewer.” This individual will not have access to the grade center.
      6. If a department wants instructors to be added to multiple sections of the same course as course coordinator, the Department Chair/Head can contact the LMS administrator, who can add the individual as an “Instructional Designer”. This individual will have access to the grade center.
      7. Staff members with “Quick Enroll” privileges are permitted to enroll in courses with the “Instructor” role for the sole purpose of providing instructional design or technical support to the instructor. “Quick Enroll” should be temporary, and if support staff need extended access to the course, they should submit a role change request to the LMS administrator. All support staff should unenroll from courses promptly after the support has been provided.

    2. Teaching Assistant Role
      1. All teaching assistants in the course must be added in the SIS as “Class Assistant” and for Roster Role select “none." The “Teaching Assistant” role in the LMS has access to the grade center, grading, and managing course content.

    3. Student Role
      1. All students taking a course for credit must be enrolled in the SIS.
      2. If a student requests to audit a course, they must be officially enrolled in the SIS in such a role.
      3. Participants in non-credit courses may be enrolled by the LMS administrator or by an Instructor with User Management Privileges.
      4. If a student is working to complete an Incomplete in a course, the instructor may request that the LMS administrator open the previous course to the student for a set duration of time.
      5. An instructor may request that the LMS administrator enroll a student from a previous semester in the current semester course to complete an Incomplete if there is a legitimate need for the student to interact with other students currently enrolled in the course. This request must include the department chair/head approval.

    4. Other Roles
      1. INSTRUCTOR WITH USER MANAGEMENT: The LMS administrator will assign this role to users in non-credit courses at the request of the program coordinator or course requestor. Users with this role can add participants in non-credit courses. The LMS administrator may do bulk enrollments, but the primary course instructor can bulk and individually enroll users for their non-credit courses.
      2. SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTION LEADERS (SI LEADERS): If users need to be added to courses as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader or embedded tutor, a list of users including first name, last name, email address and full LMS Course ID should be provided by the SI Program administrator. SI Leaders do not have access to upload, grade, or edit content and cannot view the grade center.
      3. ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATION SUPPORT: If users need to be added to courses to provide assistance to students or instructors with accommodations through the Center for Educational Access (CEA) or Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (OEOC), then the CEA and/or OEOC can request that users be added by the LMS administrators in the appropriate role.
      4. COURSE VIEWER: If users need to be added as course viewers, instructors or the department chair/head can send a request to the LMS administrators. This role allows access to view content but will not be able edit, post, grade content or view the grade center.
      5. MODERATOR: If a student has been assigned to be a chat moderator for web conferencing, they should be provided with a link to the web session. This role does not require access to the LMS and will not be enrolled in the course.
      6. If there is an emergency and an instructor needs to be added or removed from a course as instructor of record, this should occur in the SIS. The enrollments in the SIS are updated in the LMS hourly. In the instance where this is not sufficient, with the department chair/head or dean’s approval, these changes can be made by the LMS administrator. These changes should still be reflected in the SIS.

  4. Adding Content to Courses
    1. Instructors can copy their previous semester instructional content into their current courses.
    2. With the content owner’s permission, the LMS administrator can copy the content or add the content of another instructor’s course to a course or sandbox course.
    3. All users must comply with policies listed in Section X. University and Legal Compliance.
    4. The LMS has tools to help increase efficiency for instructors who are teaching multiple sections of the same course who do not qualify for merging courses in the LMS. These tools allow instructors to post content and materials to multiple sections at the same time. Questions about these tools can be directed to the LMS administrator.
    5. The University provides helpful guidelines for reducing the size of course content.
    6. Class recordings that contain student names, faces, or other potentially identifying information may be considered a student record under FERPA). Because of this, instructors should not share class recordings that contain student names and faces or other identifying information with other sections of the class, or more widely, without explicit permission from everyone included in the recording. Class recordings should only be shared with the students enrolled in the section in which the class was recorded unless explicit permission is obtained from everyone included in the recording. 

  5. Third-Party Application Integration
    To ensure the security of data within the LMS, all third-party applications that exchange protected data with the LMS must be submitted to the LMS administrator for technical evaluation, security review, accessibility review, and approval prior to purchase. This request should occur at least three months prior to expected implementation. The LMS administrator and the IT Services Security Office reserve the right to refuse integration of tools that would compromise the security of University data and systems.

  6. University & Legal Compliance
    All users are responsible for adhering to federal and state statutes and regulations as well as to University policies including but not limited to:

    1. Copyright and Fair Use
    2. FERPA
    3. Code of Computing Practices
    4. Data Management, Use, and Protection
    5. Faculty Handbook Guidelines
    6. Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 
    7. University Academic Integrity Policies
    8. Student Handbook Guidelines
    9. Content Ownership & Intellectual Property
      Instructors should refer to University of Arkansas Board Policies 210.1 Patent and Copyright Policy and 210.2 Copyright and Distance Learning regarding intellectual property rights over course materials in the LMS.

      All users are responsible for complying with copyright laws and Academic Policy 1220.10 Use of Copyrighted Materials for Educational and Research Purposes. Users may not copy, sell, license, transfer, distribute, or otherwise use or exploit course materials within the LMS that they do not own or have permission to use.

      Content Owners/Users are responsible for updating content, archiving and saving course materials in a secure location external to the LMS, such as to a University file storage solution, and retaining records for accreditation purposes.

12/08/2021