AP 4105 Distance Education - Administrative Procedures, Chapter 4 Academic Affairs

  • Reference: Title 5 Sections 55200 et seq.; References: U.S. Department of Education regulations on the Integrity of Federal Student Financial Aid Programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended; 34 Code of Federal Regulations Section 602.17.; ACCJC Guide to Evaluating Distance Education and Correspondence Education
  1. Definition:  Distance education (DE) is a mode of education and instruction which uses one of more technologies to deliver course content to students who are separated from the instructor and which supports regular and substantive interaction between the students and instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously.

  2. Authentication: Consistent with federal regulations pertaining to federal financial aid eligibility, the District authenticates and verifies that the student who registers in a DE course is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit. At the time of registration the District provides each student with a statement of the process in place to protect student privacy.

    The office of Academic Affairs utilizes one or more of the following to authenticate or verify the student’s identity:

    • Secure Credentialing/Login and Password:
      Students are issued a specific 7-digit ID and Password.
      Students access DE courses through the colleges Course Management System, (Blackboard SP9.1) using a static URL link.
    • Proctored Examinations:
      In addition to the authentication login students in the Nursing Program are required to take online exams in person with a faculty member present as a proctor.
  3. Course Approval:  The review and approval of new and existing DE courses follows the curriculum approval procedures outlined in Administrative Procedures 4020, Program and Curriculum Development.  DE courses are approved under the same conditions and criteria as all other courses.

    Each proposed or existing DE course is reviewed and approved separately.  This approval is mandatory if any portion of the instruction in a course or a course section is designed to be provided through DE.

  4. Certification:  The Curriculum Committee and Distance Education Committee  certify the following when approving DE courses:

    • Course Quality Standards:  The same standards of course quality are applied to DE courses as are applied to traditional classroom courses.
    • Course Quality Determinations: Following the College’s course approval procedures, determines and judges the quality of DE courses.    
  5. Instructor Contact:  Each section of a DE course includes regular effective contact between instructor and students. All DE courses, whether hybrid or fully online include regular effective contact as described below:

    Initiated interaction: Instructors regularly initiate interaction with students to determine that they are accessing and comprehending course material and that they are participating regularly in the activities in the course. Providing students with an open ended question forum, although appropriate, does not constitute the entirety of effective instructor initiated interaction.

    Frequency: The number of instructor contact hours per week that would be available for face to face students, are also available, in asynchronous and/or synchronous mode, with students in the DE format. Contact is distributed in a manner that ensures that regular contact is maintained, given the nature of asynchronous instructional methodologies, over the course of a week and should occur as often as is appropriate for the course requirements, objectives and content.

    Instructor absence: Frequency and timeliness of instructor initiated contact and instructor feedback are posted in the syllabus and/or other course documents that are made available for students when the course officially opens each semester.  If the instructor must be out of contact briefly for an unexpected reason (such as illness or a family emergency that takes the instructor offline), notification to students is made in the announcements area of the course that includes when the students can expect regular effective contact to resume.  If the offline time results in a lengthy absence (i.e. more than three or four days) a substitute instructor should be sought who can assist students while the instructor is unavailable.

  6. Types of Contact: For DE courses, instructors select as appropriate from the following resources:

    • Threaded discussion forums with appropriate instructor participation
    • General email (which should be archived)
    • Weekly announcements in the Course Management System
    • Timely feedback for student work
    • Instructor prepared materials and/or any publisher created materials (written, recorded, broadcast, etc.) that, combined with other course materials, creates the “virtual equivalent” of the face to face class in the particular discipline
    • Instructors should also consider using other forms of communication, as mentioned in section 55211 of Title 5. (“…through group or individual meetings, orientation and review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, correspondence, voice mail, e-mail or other activities”) and/or CCCConfer, video conference, pod cast, or other synchronous technologies may also be included.
    • It is suggested that Instructors should have a threaded discussion that is set aside for general questions about the course and may wish to have weekly or other timely question and answer sessions available to students. This may also be accomplished through virtual office hours.
  7. Duration of Approval:  All DE courses approved under this procedure will continue to be in effect unless there are substantive changes of the course outline.

Adopted: November 2013