Academic Policy  1650.10

Distance Education

 All distance education credit courses and programs will be coordinated and reported through the School of Continuing Education and Academic Outreach (SCEAO). This policy applies regardless of the college or school housing the offerings, the intended audience, the instructor, the source of funds, the location, the medium, or the term of offering. By October 1 of each year, a report will be submitted by the School to the Provost on distance education offerings and enrollments of the previous year (academic year plus summer). Reports may be requested at other times as well.

Coordinated means that the dean of the SCEAO or the dean’s designee is to be provided with draft plans for each course and program at the early planning stages and is to provide for review and requested consultation through the planning and implementation process. Reported means that SCEAO will be provided data to maintain a current base of institutional information on courses and programs, by term, enrollment, sites, medium, and costs of distance education offerings and other data as required.

The purpose for the centralized coordination and reporting is threefold. First, it will ensure that there is one source and database containing complete data on distance education plans, resources, courses, and programs within the institution, for reporting and information purposes such as required reports to NCA, the UA System, and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Second, it will provide a means whereby those who are engaged in planning and implementing distance education offerings can have timely and consistent data regarding institution, system, state, and accrediting association policies and restrictions, comparable or overlapping offerings, and institutional resources available to them outside their own unit (including sources of technological expertise). Third, it can provide a basis for and support for joint ventures and shared information among colleges and programs.

All distance education offerings of non-credit courses and programs are to be reported through the SCEAO for incorporation into the database but need not be coordinated.

Distance education is defined broadly here as courses or programs offered for credit to or at an off-campus site, often with instructor and student in different places, including but not limited to those offered by means of technological mediation.

This definition includes 1) courses or programs offered by means of independent study (either in the traditional correspondence mode or via web-based or other mediated study such as by compressed video, video-tapes, etc.), 2) those offered by faculty sent to or employed to teach classes of students in off-campus sites and centers, including study out-of-state and abroad, and 3) those offered through electronic media of any kind to individuals or groups or classes of students. For reporting purposes, technology-mediated distance education offerings will be distinguishable from other offerings.

The Council of Deans will serve as an advisory group to the Provost and the dean of SCEAO for distance education issues. Issues or items may be referred to the Council by the Provost or deans for discussion and recommendation.

Reformatted for Web October 1, 2014