Substantive Change Application Distance Delivery. Background Information on Distance Delivery 1

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1 Substantive Change Application Distance Delivery Background Information on Distance Delivery 1 Higher Learning Commission (HLC) policies outline when institutions need to notify the Commission about distance-delivered instruction and when they need to seek approval. (See policy 3.2(a) and the information below.) This document defines the characteristics of distance delivery, specifies when institutions must notify the Commission or seek approval for distance delivery, and provides the form for seeking approval. Commission Definitions for Distance-Delivered Courses and Programs The Higher Learning Commission uses the following definitions for the purpose of applying its policy on distance delivery to its accredited and candidate institutions: Distance-delivered courses are those in which all or the vast majority (typically 75% or more) of the instruction and interaction occurs via electronic communication, correspondence, or equivalent mechanisms, with the faculty and students physically separated from each other. Distance-delivered programs are those certificate or degree programs in which 50% or more of the required courses may be taken as distance-delivered courses. Reporting and Seeking Approval for Distance-Delivered Offerings The chart below identifies the Percentage Brackets for determining the scope of distance delivery by an institution. The Commission determines the appropriate Percentage Bracket for each institution. Such determination is based on information provided by the institution in its Annual Institutional Data Update to the Commission or when it seeks and receives approval of a proposed change. Percentage Bracket Percentage of Distance-Delivered Offerings (calculations are based on degree programs, not certificates) 3 20% or more of total degree programs 2 At least 5%, but less than 20% of total degree programs 1 0 No activity Initiation of distance-delivered offerings (as described below), but less than 5% of total degree programs Higher Learning Commission policy requires an institution to seek the Commission s prior approval if the institution plans to initiate or expand its distance-delivered offerings as described below. When initiation or expansion is anticipated, an institution must submit a substantive change request using the forms contained in this document. Initiation occurs and a review is required when the institution: plans to initiate its first distance education degree program, even when it has been approved to offer distance education certificates or correspondence education degree programs or certificates; plans to initiate its first correspondence education degree program, even when it has been approved to offer correspondence education certificates or distance education degree programs or certificates; has initiated four distance education certificates and plans to initiate a fifth, unless the institution has already been reviewed and approved to offer one or more distance education degree programs; or Higher Learning Commission Page 1 Version 2.1. August 2011

2 has initiated four correspondence education certificates and plans to initiate a fifth, unless the institution has already been reviewed and approved to offer one or more correspondence education degree programs. Expansion occurs and a review is required when the institution: plans to increase its current activity in distance education degree programs or its current activity in correspondence education degree programs to a higher Percentage Bracket. In addition, the Commission may require a substantive change evaluation if the institution: has never had a focused review of distance or correspondence degree or certificate programs and is offering one or more programs or five or more certificates; or has a significant annual increase in enrollment. In addition to reviewing distance-delivered courses and programs through its substantive change processes, the Commission evaluates delivery whenever it comprehensively reviews an institution. In these comprehensive reviews, the Commission examines the institution s capacity to provide education to its students and the quality of its performance in doing so, whether via distance delivery or traditional face-to-face modes. Comprehensive reviews examine curriculum, staffing, support services, access to appropriate laboratory and library resources, and all other facets of quality higher education. Questions For general questions on approval of distance-delivered programs, send an to or call x137. For institution-specific questions, contact the Commission staff liaison assigned to the institution by calling and asking to be transferred to the liaison. 1 Wherever distance delivery is mentioned throughout this document it means distance or correspondence delivery. The following are the Federal definitions (2009) of distance and correspondence education: Correspondence education means: (1) Education provided through one or more courses by an institution under which the institution provides instructional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructor. (2) Interaction between the instructor and the student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student. (3) Correspondence courses are typically self-paced. (4) Correspondence education is not distance education. Distance Education means education that uses one or more of the technologies listed in paragraphs (1) through (4) to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously. The technologies may include: (1) The internet; (2) One-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; (3) Audio conferencing; or (4) Video cassettes, DVDs, and CD-ROMs, if the cassettes, DVDs, or CD-ROMs are used in a course in conjunction with any of the technologies listed in paragraphs (1) through (3). Higher Learning Commission Page 2 Version 2.1. August 2011

3 Substantive Change Application, Part 1: General Questions Distance Delivery Note: Wherever distance delivery is mentioned it means distance or correspondence delivery. Institution: Blackhawk Technical College City, State: Janesville, WI Name of person completing this application: Michael J. Gagner Date Submitted: 02/02/2012 Title: Director of Institutional Effectiveness Phone: The questions are designed to elicit brief, succinct, detailed information, rather than a narrative or references to extensive supporting documents. Do not attach other documents unless they are specifically requested in the questions. The total submission should be no more than pages on a single classification of change. The submission should be no more than 20 pages total on an application addressing multiple change requests. Submit the completed application as a single electronic document (in Adobe PDF format) ed to Requested Change(s). Concisely describe the change for which the institution seeks approval. Please Note: If submitting a change request for a new program and distance offerings or a new program and location, the institution should submit the New Program Application. Otherwise an institution submitting more than one change request should complete multiple applications, one for each type of change. The college is currently offering online programming and has done so for over 10 years. However, the definition of online learning changed so with the change from 75% or more of the instruction is offered by distance education to 50% or more of a program is offered by distance education we need to request a Substantive Change Request for to offer programs using Distance Education. Classification of Change Request. Check all boxes that apply to the change. Note: not every institutional change requires prior review and approval. Review the Overview of Commission Policies and Procedures for Institutional Changes Requiring Commission Notification or Approval to make certain that current HLC policy requires the institution to seek approval. Change in mission or student body: change in mission change in student body New additional locations: in home state in other state(s) or in other country(ies) New branch campus: new or additional campus(es) Consortial or contractual arrangement: Consortial arrangement New academic program(s) requiring HLC approval: certificate bachelor s diploma associate s Distance Delivery: master s/specialist doctorate Initiation of distance education X Expansion of distance education Initiation of correspondence education Expansion of correspondence education Other: Substantially changing the clock or credit hours required for a program Higher Learning Commission Page 3 Version 2.1. August 2011

4 Contractual arrangement The institution has completed the Screening Form for Contractual Arrangements and has been advised that approval is required. (If not, see the Substantive Change Screening Form for Contractual Arrangements) Institutional Context for Substantive Change Review. In 1-2 paragraphs, describe the key dynamics institutional mission and internal or external forces that stimulated and shaped the change. The college is currently offering online programming and has done so for over 10 years. However, the definition of online learning changed so with the change from 75% or more of the instruction is offered by distance education to 50% or more of a program is offered by distance education we need to request a Substantive Change Request for to offer programs using Distance Education. Special conditions. Underline YES or NO attesting to whether any of the conditions identified below fit the institution. If YES, explain the situation in the box provided. Is the institution, in its relations with other regional, specialized, or national accrediting agencies, currently under or recommended for a negative status or action (e.g., withdrawal, probation, sanction, warning, showcause, etc.)? Is the institution now undergoing or facing substantial monitoring, special review, or financial restrictions from the U.S. Dept. of Education or other federal or state government agencies? Has the institution s senior leadership or board membership experienced substantial resignations or removals in the past year? Is the institution experiencing financial difficulty through such conditions as a currently declared state of exigency, a deficit of 10% or more, a default or failure to make payroll during the past year, or consecutive deficits in the two most recent years? Is the institution experiencing other pressures that might affect its ability to carry out the proposal (e.g., a collective bargaining dispute or a significant lawsuit)? YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO Approvals. Check the approvals that are required prior to implementing the proposed change and include documentation of the approvals to the request. Internal (faculty, board) approvals System approvals (for an institution that is part of a system) State approval(s) for requests other than for Distance Delivery For Distance Delivery only: process in place to ascertain and secure state approval(s) as required Foreign country(ies) approvals (for an overseas program or site) X No approval required Higher Learning Commission Page 4 Version 2.1. August 2011

5 Specialized Accreditation Complete this section only if specialized accreditation is required for licensure or practice in program(s) covered by this change application. The institution has already obtained the appropriate specialized accreditation. Attach a copy of the letter from the agency granting accreditation. The institution has begun the process of seeking or plans to seek specialized accreditation. Specify the name of the agency and the timeline for completing the process. (If approval is a multi-stage process, the institution should contact the HLC staff liaison to discuss the timeline before submitting this change application form.) The institution does not plan to seek specialized accreditation. Provide a rationale for not seeking this accreditation. Changes Requiring Visits Complete this section only if the institution is already aware that the proposed change will need to be reviewed through a visit. (If the institution is unsure whether a visit is required, the Commission will advise the institution based on the information provided in the change application.) X Request to schedule a Change Visit. If a Change Visit has already been planned in consultation with Commission staff, specify the date set for the visit: Request to add a proposed change to an already scheduled visit. Specify type of visit and date scheduled: Whether the change will be reviewed through a separate Change Visit or embedded in an already scheduled visit, the following schedule will apply. 1. The institution files Part 1 of this change form at least 4 months before the visit. If the visit has not already been scheduled, this filing will initiate the process of scheduling the visit. 2. The institution files Part 2 of this change form at least 2 months before the scheduled visit. If the change will be embedded in an already scheduled visit, the form should be filed as an attachment to the report prepared for that visit. Please note: The Commission plans to update the change forms annually, on or about September 1 of each year. However, if a Change Application form was accessed more than 90 days prior to filing, it is recommended that the institution visit to ensure that there have been no changes in the application form in the intervening time. Higher Learning Commission Page 5 Version 2.1. August 2011

6 Substantive Change Application, Part 2: Topic-Specific Questions Distance Delivery Submitting a Substantive Change Request Attach the Substantive Change Application General Questions as page one of this application. That completed form and the answers to the questions below will constitute the request for approval of a substantive change. It will be provided to future HLC review processes. Name of Institution: Part 1. Characteristics of the Change Requested 1. Briefly describe the planned initiation or expansion of distance delivery the institution is requesting permission to operate. The college is currently offering online programming and has done so for over 10 years. However, the definition of online learning changed so with the change from 75% or more of the instruction is offered by distance education to 50% or more of a program is offered by distance education we need to request a Substantive Change Request to offer programs using Distance Education. 2. Include a list of all proposed certificate and degree programs planned in the initiation or expansion of distance delivery. For each degree program or certificate: a. Indicate the Classification of Instructional Programs [CIP codes, program name, and additional description (optional)]. CIP codes are established by the U.S. Department of Education s National Center for Education Statistics. More information is available at Accounting Business Management Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement Early Childhood Education IT-Web Analyst/Programmer b. Specify the program level. Associate Degree c. Specify if it is distance education or correspondence education. d. Specify all modalities of delivery. Audio conferencing Broadband lines cable closed circuit correspondence fiber optics _X_ internet microwave open broadcast satellite videocassettes, dvds, and cd-roms wireless communication devices e. Identify date the offerings will be launched (MM/DD/YYYY). Currently offering Higher Learning Commission Page 6 Version 2.1. August 2011

7 3. What organizational structures are in place to ensure effective oversight, implementation, and management of the institution s distance-delivered offerings? The college employs a Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum and Assessment and a Teaching Learning Specialist. Both of these employees are members of the Online Learning Committee and the Academic Technology Committee. The Teaching Learning Specialist manages the Teaching Learning Center which offers support and training on online learning as well as other technology topics. The Teaching Learning Specialist is tasked with the support of faculty teaching in online and technology rich formats. The Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum and Assessment, provides support for students taking courses in online and technology rich formats. As the number of online delivered courses grows this staffing will be reevaluated. 4. Does the institution have a separately identified organizational unit for providing or marketing the distance-delivered offerings? ( ) Yes ( X ) No If yes, please explain how this separate unit coordinates with other academic and administrative units across the institution to ensure the consistency and quality of offerings. 5. If the institution is planning any involvement by external organizations (other than accredited higher education institutions) in key operations as identified below, provide the information requested for each planned involvement. (Note that such involvement by a parent company or by one of its subsidiaries external to the institution in any of these operations should be reported.) Type of involvement Name(s) of external organization(s) % of Involvement A. Recruitment and admission of students None B. Course placement and advising of students None C. Design and oversight of curriculum None D. Direct instruction and oversight None E. Other Support for delivery of instruction None 6. If the institution is planning any involvement with other accredited higher education institutions in key operations identified above, provide the name(s) of the other institutions and the nature of the involvement. None 7. Operational Data Operational Data A. Total number of academic programs (i.e., counting different majors at all levels). Do not include certificates. B. Total number of programs in item A above available via distance delivery (i.e., 50% or more of courses available as distance-delivered courses) C. Percentage of programs available via distance delivery (100 x B/A) Last year (actual tallies) This year (estimate) Next year (projected) % 19.2% 19.2% Higher Learning Commission Page 7 Version 2.1. August 2011

8 Part 2. Institution s History with Distance-Delivered Offerings 8. Briefly describe the institution s experience with distance-delivered offerings. For more than ten years Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) has been offering distance education classes using two-way video and online (Internet) technologies. This document pertains to online delivery so other distance learning formats will not be discussed. During the last five years online course section offerings have steadily grown in relation to total student enrollment. Not only does this represent demand from students but the college also had feedback from business and community leaders asking for increased availability of online classes shows a peak in the number of offerings and in enrollment. This period of time also represents a peak in total enrollment at the College. To date Blackhawk Technical College has not offered any programs 100% online. Several programs offer a significant number of courses online but a student cannot earn the entire degree online. With the revision of the Higher Learning Commission definition of online program to include any program with at least 50% of its required courses online, Blackhawk Technical College finds it has several programs that meet this definition and therefore is requesting accreditation of these programs. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has defined the following terms. Distance delivered programs are those in which 50% or more of the required courses may be taken as distance delivered courses. Distance-delivered courses are those in which all or the vast majority (typically 75% or more) of the instruction and interaction occurs via electronic communication, correspondence, or equivalent mechanisms, with the faculty and students physically separated from each other. At Blackhawk Technical College the definition of an online course is, 100% of the content is delivered online. Proctored testing/assessment may be required. Students need regular access to a computer with a high speed Internet connection. Using this definition all online courses at BTC fit the HLC definition of distance-delivered course. 9. If the Higher Learning Commission approves the institution s initiation or expansion of distance delivery, what future growth does the institution anticipate (e.g., in the next six months, three years, years)? Blackhawk Technical College is currently finalizing its Strategic Plan and developing action plans for implementation. Expanding student access is one of the six strategic goals and will include expansion in the use of alternative delivery methods, including online. While growth is expected in this area, the details have yet to be finalized. It is the College s intention to open up as many avenues to College learning opportunities as possible. The student access goal in the Strategic Plan aims at reaching more people in the district both traditional and nontraditional. The objective is to reduce barriers to those who are not yet Blackhawk Technical College students but need to be as well as those who are already enrolled. Online courses further the college s plan by reaching additional students beyond the traditional classroom setting, regardless of where they live and whether they have transportation issues. Increasing the number of online programs and courses will not change the mission or vision of Blackhawk Technical College. It will, however, extend the college s operation beyond the present student population. The growth of online offerings will require development and/or modification of curricula. It will also require a broadening of the current culture to think and teach in new ways using different technologies. As previously stated during the next six months BTC will be finalizing the action plans for implementation of its strategic plan. The Access for Students priority includes expansion of online offerings. Work will begin during this period on an action plan to achieve this. During the next three years Blackhawk Technical College would like to offer at least five programs that are 50% or more online. Continued increases in the number of courses offered online are also desired. Both of these items will be carefully monitored and studied. The administration will evaluate the demand for online offerings in each program as well as the quality of the content s fit to online delivery. Higher Learning Commission Page 8 Version 2.1. August 2011

9 The college s long term vision for online education includes studying new technologies, student needs, and employer needs to determine the best delivery method for each program and for each course within the program. The next twenty years will bring many new and exciting ways to deliver content and support teaching and learning. A look at Blackhawk Technical College at that time will probably show online classes, hybrid classes, web-enhanced face-to-face classes, modular classes where students can choose the best format for each section of content/instruction or even choose which modules to complete, as well as courses in formats that have not yet been devised. 10. How does the institution plan to manage this growth? Growth of the type described above will be managed through collaboration. The college employs a Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum and Assessment and a Teaching Learning Specialist. Both of these employees are members of the Online Learning Committee and the Academic Technology Committee. The Teaching Learning Specialist manages the Teaching Learning Center which offers support and training on online learning as well as other technology topics. The Teaching Learning Specialist is tasked with the support of faculty teaching in online and technology rich formats. The Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum and Assessment, provides support for students taking courses in online and technology rich formats. As the number of online delivered courses grows this staffing will be reevaluated. The Online Learning Committee exists to promote quality online learning instructional approaches. The committee membership is comprised of faculty, administration and administrative staff from all parts of the college. The committee meets approximately six times per semester for one and one-half hours a session. Additional meetings can be scheduled if there are pressing issues. The Online Learning Committee: creates and refines processes and procedures to ensure the quality of online and hybrid classes, promotes faculty development opportunities aimed at delivery of quality online/hybrid instruction, in collaboration with Student Services creates and refines processes and procedures to ensure student preparation for and support in online/hybrid classes works with the Manager, Online Learning to make decisions regarding the Learning Management System and recommends changes in policy when needed to support its other charges. The Academic Technology Committee was created to advise and offer counsel to the College Vice President of Learning and other senior administrators on issues and policies that affect instructional technology. As with the Online Learning Committee, the committee membership represents faculty, administration, and administrative staff from all parts of the college. There are a number of Information Technology Services personnel on this committee to adequately represent the different functions in that department. The committee meets approximately six times per semester for one and one-half hours a meeting. Additional meetings can be scheduled if there are pressing issues. The Academic Technology Committee: provides a means to further open and transparent communication between the Learning side of the college and Information Technology Systems in order to make the most informed decisions, creates and refines processes and procedures for researching, selecting, piloting, implementing, providing training in the use of, supporting, and assessing instructional technologies to meet the College s strategic priorities and uses the data gathered to make recommendations regarding instructional technology to the Vice President of Learning and other senior administrators. Part 3. Institutional Planning for Distance-Delivered Offerings 11. What impact might the proposed initiation or expansion of distance-delivered offering(s) have on challenges identified as part of or subsequent to the last comprehensive visit or reaffirmation panel and how has the institution addressed the challenge(s)? There are three opportunities that were identified during Blackhawk Technical College s Systems Appraisal Feedback Report that will be impacted by the online programs and the processes put in place to support them. These opportunities and other information can be found on the College s website at Higher Learning Commission Page 9 Version 2.1. August 2011

10 1P9b O In light of the READI (SmarterMeasure) tool for online students, BTC has the opportunity to assess all students on these aspects of learning readiness and be clear about the tools, resources, and processes that are available to instructors of campus-based students to assist them in responding to student needs. New online and hybrid students are encouraged to take the SmarterMeasure (formerly READI) assessment to determine their readiness for online/technology rich learning environments. This assessment measures self-motivation, time-management skills, self-discipline, on-screen reading rate and recall, persistence, availability of time, ability to use a laptop, printer, software, and the Internet, and typing speed and accuracy. At present this assessment is being used in some first year experience Student Success classes and with first time online/hybrid students. As the process for use of this assessment becomes more formalized there is the opportunity to use the assessment with all students and therefore to collect data and use it to help students improve their skills and plan their schedules. 1R6c O BTC ranks 9th out of the 16 WTCS schools in the number of class sections offered in the evening and by alternative delivery. There may be an opportunity to increase those offerings if there is a perceived need among BTC current and potential students. Offering more online classes in the areas where they make the most sense educationally and with regard to student need will increase access for current and potential students directly addressing this opportunity. The strategic planning committee for the Access for Students goal is working on an action plan to extend online offerings. 4P9b O It is unclear how much of the training and types of professional development benefits are available for adjunct faculty or part-time staff and administrators or how widespread the training is embraced. Determining the extent to which all employees benefit from training opportunities could prove to be a useful and revealing activity. The agreement between the Blackhawk Technical College District Board and the Blackhawk Technical College Faculty Federation states, Employees who provide instruction utilizing an alternative delivery method shall, prior to teaching the course, complete training through the Teaching Learning Center or other entity approved by the Manager of Online Learning. Though this agreement legally only covers full-time faculty it is the intention of the College to use this same requirement for adjunct faculty. With this in mind the Teaching Learning Center offers a number of courses and workshops. Present opportunities include: basic and advanced courses in how to use Blackboard offered in both face-to-face and online formats one hour face-to-face workshops on a number of technology and teaching methods topics such as o Getting started with Blackboard o Setting up your course in Blackboard for ease of student use o Basic and advanced testing in Blackboard o Basic and advanced use of the Blackboard grade center o Assessment in your online course o Best practices in online instruction o Blogs and wikis o Online activities for students o Online teaching and effective online discussions o Using YouTube educationally An Online Facilitation Methods class has been developed and is being offered in January and May, 2012 in a hybrid format. The workshops are offered at the Central campus and at the Monroe campus during the day and in the early evening. Adjunct faculty members have been surveyed about what type of training they want and when they want it but there was no one definitive answer. Workshops have been scheduled to try to meet indicated desires. Some of these instructors attend workshops during the day and some can only attend in the evening. The evening sessions have been lightly attended except the once a semester in-service nights. In August 2011, eighteen percent of the current adjunct faculty members (75 of 415) attended an in-service evening which included whole group sessions on the strategic plan and emergency procedures and two one-hour sessions chosen from Office 2010, how to create a syllabus, certification, and file management: accessing your files from home. In the past some of these in-service evenings have had up Higher Learning Commission Page 10 Version 2.1. August 2011

11 to 22% attendance. This seems to be a good time to do faculty development for the adjuncts. Adjunct faculty members receive a small stipend for attending these once a semester in-services. The college is exploring ways to offer these large evening sessions more than once a semester. They have proven effective in providing faculty development to the adjunct faculty members. The Teaching Learning Center is also looking at ways to offer some of its one hour workshops online, perhaps through lecture capture. 12. How does the institution determine the need to expand or initiate a distance-delivered offering? If the institution offers a traditional program now, how does it decide whether to start offering this program via distance delivery? Blackhawk Technical College currently does not have a structure and process for development of new programs strictly for online delivery from concept to implementation. Development of any program and/or course at Blackhawk Technical College must adhere to program/course development requirements of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and adhere to curriculum standards that require course competencies and program outcomes. These processes are delivery method neutral. The WTCS encompasses the sixteen technical colleges in Wisconsin. According to the WTCS website the system office is the coordinating agency for the state s 16 technical colleges. The board of the WTCS establishes statewide policies and standards for the educational programs and services provided by the 16 technical college districts that cover the state. To date courses from new programs have been taught first face-to-face and later the curriculum was converted to online. The decision to convert courses to the online format is a collaborative decision involving the program faculty, dean or other administrator in charge, and the program advisory team. Student requests or comments are factored into the decision. The groups consider the need and the fit of the curriculum to online delivery 13. How does the institution plan for changes and future expansion of the role distance delivery plays in the institution? Who is involved? How do new ideas and initiatives originate, and how are they examined and evaluated? In consultation with the dean, program faculty and staff suggest using online delivery where they believe such methodology will enhance the student experience or bring flexibility to the program offerings. At times, outside stakeholders in business and industry make requests and suggestions for online delivery in a specific occupational area. Every five years the College develops a new Strategic Plan. Input for this plan comes from employees in all parts of the College as well as from the District Board. The Strategic Goals, Guiding Principles, and Objectives for the latest plan covering the period from 2012 through 2017 were completed in October, Teams are now developing action projects to achieve the goals and objectives. One of the College s Strategic Goals for the next five years is increasing student access. A team of employees was formed to review the issue and develop action projects, incorporating measureable outcomes for year one, year three, and year five. The team is comprised of volunteers chosen to ensure representation from all areas of the College. One of the action projects will address increasing the role for online learning at the College. The Academic Technology Committee is developing processes to examine and prioritize academic technology requests to ensure the projects funded are those that support the strategic goals, enhance the curriculum, solve an identified problem or opportunity and can be used and supported effectively. 14. How does the institution ensure that financial planning and budgeting for distance-delivered offerings are realistic? What are the institution s projected revenues and expenses? Blackhawk Technical College is committed to supporting online learning. The Vice President of Learning provides an annual allocation for curriculum development in online courses. The College s financial commitment includes 50% funding for a staff member, the Teaching Learning Specialist, to support the use of instructional technology in online, hybrid and face-to-face classes and to assist faculty with instructional design. A grant pays the other 50%. There is also funding for the licensing of the learning management system, Blackboard, purchase of both hardware and software to support the faculty and students, and faculty development funds to train faculty and allow them to attend conferences or bring in speakers. The college also has a budget for tuition reimbursement for faculty or staff who complete courses to further their education. Blackhawk Technical College is working to grow its online program in a planned, measured way. Growth that moves too quickly will require additional personnel which would upset the balance between expenses and revenues. The Online Learning Higher Learning Commission Page 11 Version 2.1. August 2011

12 Committee reviews the types of support offered to both faculty and students and alerts the administration when support systems need to be examined. Deans work to balance the needs for different types of course section offerings with their resources. 15. How does the institution assure that promotion, marketing, and enrollment of its distance-delivered offerings stay in balance with its actual resources and technical capabilities? Blackhawk Technical College will not actively promote or market any of its programs as online at this time. The definitions for online program held by the Higher Learning Commission and the Wisconsin Technical College System state office are radically different. The Higher Learning Commission states, Distance delivered programs are those in which 50% or more of the required courses may be taken as distance delivered courses. The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) state office states, Only programs for which all of the courses are offered 100% online (where a student never has to come to campus) can be noted as online. If students must come to campus, at one time or another, then the program cannot be noted as online. Because of this difference in opinion, Blackhawk Technical College will not advertise any of its programs as online. None of the programs meet the WTCS definition. It is not thought that the programs will meet the 100% online requirement in the near future. In order to keep enrollment and resources in balance, problems and issues reported by students, faculty and staff regarding online classes will be monitored. Technical, training, and staff issues will also be evaluated. If further resources are needed to offer high quality service, solutions will be explored. The number of sections and courses offered will be limited to match the resources available. The college has also set limits for the size of online classes. The number of students assigned to any online course section is consistent with the class size maximum set for the face-to-face sections. In the absence of an established class size maximum for a given course, the number of students assigned to an online course section is What controls are in place to ensure that the information presented to students in advertising, brochures, and other communications will be accurate? Blackhawk Technical College is working toward a system in which all important information about a program and its courses is derived from the College s enterprise resource planning system, Banner. The processes that would allow this to happen are being discussed in a number of committees and teams including the Curriculum Management Team and the Deans group. Information Technology Systems is leading a project to choose Business Intelligence Software. The adoption of this business intelligence system by the College will provide a means to coordinate the information about programs and courses. At this point changes to information about courses and programs are reviewed by the Curriculum and Assessment Committee and the Curriculum Management Team before being posted on the website or used in program brochures. This allows these groups to act as gatekeepers. Part 4. Curriculum and Instructional Design 17. How does the institution assure good instructional design in its distance-delivered offerings? How are the institution s faculty and quality control mechanisms involved in the instructional design process? Blackhawk Technical College has worked for the past five years to improve the processes for implementing and supporting online learning. This work continues in the Online Learning Committee, the Curriculum and Assessment Committee and the Academic Technology Committee. Higher Learning Commission Page 12 Version 2.1. August 2011

13 Using the Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) curriculum files for the face-to-face courses as templates the faculty member develops the online course. This ensures that the competencies, core abilities, and program outcomes are the same in the online course as they are in the face-to-face course. The Teaching Learning Center (TLC) was created to assist faculty with technology and online teaching. It is staffed to help train faculty in best practices for instructional design and for the facilitation of online or hybrid classes. In order to enhance her skills and extend her knowledge the Teaching Learning Specialist is currently taking courses to earn the University of Wisconsin-Stout E-learning and Online Teaching Certificate. Most of the instructional design support currently offered to faculty is in the form of just-in-time training sessions between the faculty member and the Teaching Learning Specialist. In this way the Teaching Learning Specialist can work closely with the faculty member on the instructional design of his/her specific course. Faculty members who teach online are required to take training to prepare them to facilitate an online course and to use the College s Learning Management System, Blackboard. The College is attempting to increase the number of trained full and part time faculty. Ongoing training is available for faculty who currently teach online or who want to begin teaching online. Session/workshop titles include: o Effective online facilitation o Setting up your course in Blackboard for ease of student use o Assessment in your online course o Best practices in online instruction o Online activities for students o Online teaching and effective online discussions o How to orient new instructors to an online course fast! o Setting expectations for online instructor performance o 23 practical strategies to help new faculty thrive o Copyright and faculty rights o Student engagement and Web 2.0 o Intro to Blackboard LMS o Advanced Blackboard LMS There are also numerous other hour workshops on use of particular functions in Blackboard. The Vice President of Learning provides budgetary assistance to faculty converting a course to the online format if it has not previously been taught online. Courses being converted to the online format are evaluated by the Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum and Assessment according to a rubric developed by the Online Learning Committee. This rubric looks at the design, content and chances for student engagement in the course. See Appendix A for a copy of the rubric. 18. What processes and procedures will the institution use for technology maintenance, upgrades, back up, remote services, and for communicating changes in software, hardware or technical systems to students and faculty? Blackhawk Technical College contracts with Blackboard s Managed Hosting group to host the College s Blackboard system. As part of the agreement maintenance, upgrades, routine back-ups, and technical problems are handled by Blackboard. In general this has been a satisfactory arrangement. The Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum, and Assessment and the Teaching Learning Specialist schedule additional archives of the courses before each deletion of previous semester courses from the system. These archives are then stored on three different drives, each stored in a different place. Information Technology Services handles the off-site storage of archives. The Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum, and Assessment and the Teaching Learning Specialist hold the responsibility for communicating changes in the system functions, requirements, and procedures to both students and faculty and in doing training for both groups. They are also responsible for communicating changes to the Information Technology Systems group, especially helpdesk, as well as to the contracted Blackboard helpdesk. 19. How does the institution assure that it provides convenient, reliable, and timely services to students or faculty needing technical assistance, and how does it communicate information about these services? Higher Learning Commission Page 13 Version 2.1. August 2011

14 Technical support is provided for all students and faculty whether their classes are online, hybrid or face-to-face classes enhanced with Internet-based materials. Blackhawk Technical College provides support to students and faculty in a number of different ways. The College contracts with Blackboard Student Services to provide 24/7/365 technical support for students and faculty regarding the use of the learning management system, Blackboard. This support comes in a number of different forms. There is a phone number, a live chat feature, a ticket system, and a knowledge base. All are available through the Blackboard helpdesk website Goals for this service are to increase self-help ratios through use of the knowledge base and to increase the consistency of the student experience. The Manager, Online Learning, Curriculum, and Assessment provides further support services for students in the use of Blackboard s features and best practices for taking an online class. Students can reach her by phone, , or in her office. A Student Support website is maintained with answers to frequently asked questions and tutorial handouts and videos. The Teaching Learning Specialist works with faculty on the use of Blackboard s features and best practices in teaching online and/or in a technology rich environment. She can be reached by phone, , or in the Teaching Learning Center. A Faculty Support website is maintained with answers to frequently asked questions and tutorial handouts and videos. The Blackhawk Technical College Information Technology Systems helpdesk answers questions about the Blackhawk Technical College and registration systems as well as network, account, computer and printer issues. Tickets can be created by sending an to Helpdesk personnel are also available for walk in and call in assistance at the following times. M-Th 7:30a - 9:00p F 7:30a - 5:00p Sat 8:00a - 1:00p All of the above services are advertised on the login page of the College s Blackboard instance as well as on the Resources tab found once the user has logged in to Blackboard. The services are also advertised on the College s website at found by choosing Blackboard Support from the Online Services menu on the Blackhawk home page. 20. What is the institution s experience, if any, in collaborating with other institutions or organizations to provide distancedelivered education? Historically Blackhawk Technical College was part of the Wisconsin Technical College System etech Consortium when etech was active. etech was an initiative developed by the Wisconsin Technical College System. Its mission was written as follows. etech College of Wisconsin provides learners with online options and greater access to education among the Wisconsin Technical Colleges. Collaborative development of online programming creates efficiencies and cost effectiveness for all Wisconsin technical colleges through the sharing of common course competencies, curriculum, programs, and marketing. With the discontinuance of etech each of the Wisconsin Technical Colleges advertises and administers its own online courses and programs without the collaboration sought by etech 21. If the institution is planning partnerships or agreements with external organizations or institutions as identified in Questions 5 and 6, how will the institution ensure that students can use these services effectively? At present Blackhawk Technical College does not plan to offer online programs in partnership with any other institution. Higher Learning Commission Page 14 Version 2.1. August 2011

15 Part 5. Institutional Staffing and Faculty Support 22. How does the institution staff distance-delivered programs? How does this differ from the institution s processes for staffing traditional programs? Depending on the program, either the dean, associate dean or coordinator assigns faculty to the courses; both online and traditional courses. These administrators keep a list of the faculty, full-time and adjunct, and the areas each is certified to teach. They also maintain records of the courses each faculty member teaches and whether the course was delivered online, hybrid or face-to-face. Deans have access to a list of faculty members who have completed training to teach online classes. The developer of an online course is offered additional sections subject to the limit of the overload policy and divisional needs. If the developer declines to teach any section, the administrator determines which faculty member will teach the additional section(s) using the certification, training for online, and prior teaching information. Faculty members who teach online are required to take training to prepare them to facilitate an online course and to use the College s learning management system, Blackboard. The College goal is to have a deep enough pool so that faculty will not be assigned to teach an online course prior to being trained or without sufficient time to prepare online materials 23. What is the institution s process for selecting, training, and orienting faculty for distance delivery? What special professional development, support, or released time does the institution provide for faculty who teach distancedelivered offerings? The training, preparation and support required of and for the faculty to prepare and to conduct an online class for the first time is above that required to teach face-to-face. A faculty member teaching a distance learning course for the first time is awarded additional hours up to one-half the number given for a course delivered face-to-face. Faculty members who teach online are required to take training to prepare them to facilitate an online course and to use the College s learning management system, Blackboard. Training classes in the use of Blackboard are offered annually in both faceto-face and online formats. An Online Facilitation methods class is offered every semester in a hybrid format. The Teaching Learning Specialist is available to support faculty in the use of Blackboard and other instructional technologies. One hour workshops on a number of technology and teaching methods topics are offered throughout the year at the Central campus and Monroe campus during the day and early evening. Topics include: o Setting up your course in Blackboard for ease of student use o Assessment in your online course o Best practices in online instruction o Online activities for students o Online teaching and effective online discussions o 23 practical strategies to help new faculty thrive o Copyright and faculty rights o Student engagement and Web 2.0 o Getting started with Blackboard o Basic and advanced testing in Blackboard o Basic and advanced use of the Blackboard Grade Center o Blogs and Wikis o Using YouTube educationally The dean/associate dean/coordinator who assigns faculty for a particular program receives student evaluations for all adjunct faculty members for each course, each semester. These evaluations can be factored into the assignment of adjunct faculty to any class, online or traditionally delivered. The dean receives a summary of the student evaluations for full-time faculty. These evaluations are formative in nature thus are used by the faculty to improve their courses. Higher Learning Commission Page 15 Version 2.1. August 2011

16 24. How does the institution assure copyright compliance and keep distance delivery faculty aware of institutional policies on using others intellectual property? The Board of Directors of the college maintains a policy on copyright infringement to be followed by all faculty and staff. Because of substantial changes in staff and faculty over the last several years, it is anticipated that a review of copyright laws will be presented to faculty during one of the in-service programs in Board Policy I-130 addresses Reproduction and Use of Copyrighted Materials. The policy is attached as Appendix B. Part 6. Student Support 25. How does the institution assure that distance delivery students have access to necessary student and support services (e.g., institutional information, application for admission, registration, tutoring or academic support, advising, financial aid, tuition payment, career counseling and placement, library resources, complaint processes)? How does the institution provide them information about using these services, and how does it monitor and evaluate their use of these services? Blackhawk Technical College is committed to serving online students from the inquiry process through graduation. New students receive a brochure in their admissions letter entitled Student Computing Services. This informs students on how to use the many services and links from the college website. Future goals for improved access and monitoring of services include having an embedded Student Services link for all Blackboard supported courses, along with including a counter on the website to evaluate the frequency and use of the web services. Admissions: The Admissions process allows for many applicants to complete the process without ever coming to campus. The college s website, , and telephone are ways that students are informed on the process for admission. They can complete an online application and pay the $30 fee with a credit card. If preferred, the College can mail a hard copy of the application which can be mailed back. Students may have transcripts sent directly from high schools and/or colleges for evaluation; ACT and/or Compass transcripts may be forwarded from the original testing body. Admissions Testing: COMPASS is the college s assessment used for college entrance and course placement. A student may test in-person or through another site by scheduling in advance to have remote testing available. Test centers are located throughout the U.S. and other countries. The college can work with the proctoring agency to utilize our testing units (and spare excess cost to the student for testing). In the event that a student has already taken a COMPASS elsewhere, those transcripts of scores can be forwarded from the original testing body. The college will also accept transcripts for ACT scores, in lieu of COMPASS. Financial aid & Scholarships: All financial aid forms are available on the college s website and through The website has a dedicated address specifically for financial aid inquiries. The site includes general information regarding aid, along with access to student loan and scholarship applications. Special requirements or unique situations can be handled over the phone, with documents being faxed or ed for further verification. Students can access their financial aid status and awards through their online FAFSA application and through Blackhawk Technical College s Banner system. Banner is the College s Enterprise Resource Program (ERP) storing all information about students, employees, financial information, and other important College information. Books can be charged against financial aid (in-person only at this point, perhaps online in the future) or through credit purchase and can be drop-shipped to a student s address. Refund of any remaining aid can be direct deposited to an account and bank of the student s choice. Concerns remain with online verification of student identify related to enrollment and financial aid disbursements. Discussions are ongoing for effective checks and balances. Counseling & Advising: Online students can connect with a counselor/advisor individually or through a general counseling . Course selection and program information is available on the College s website. In the future we hope to utilize video conferencing and online workshops. Discussions are underway regarding a video-stream of the New Student Orientation for web access. Higher Learning Commission Page 16 Version 2.1. August 2011

17 Registration, Tuition & Records Requests: Registration can be done online through Banner Web. For full-semester and first 8-week classes, students can register online up until the first day of the semester. For second 8-week classes students can register online through the mid-term point. Online registration is managed through the Banner Web system and resources are available on the college s website regarding access and usage of Banner Web. Tuition and payment plans are offered through TouchNet, an online payment system accessible through the student s Banner account. Forms to request graduation and/or transcripts are available online through the college s website. Once completed, the form may be sent directly, faxed or ed to the Registrar s office. Tutoring Services: Program tutoring is available in-person at all campuses. The Tutoring Services Coordinator is exploring appropriate technologies that partner with Blackboard for online course tutoring support. Career Services: Wisconsin TechConnect is an online employment website utilized by Blackhawk Technical College to reach all new, current, and former students with job opportunities. Students may register, search for jobs, receive job opportunities related to their program of study, and upload their resumes, all online. Career assessments are also available online from a variety of sites, including Follow up can be provided via upon completion of an assessment. The Career and Employment Relations Coordinator works with students in a variety of ways, including resume, cover letter and interview support. These services and feedback are accessible via and phone. The Coordinator hopes to develop an online career development class for any students unclear on a career direction, as well as online career discussions with instant messaging and upload options. Library: Students can access the library website with a link on the Blackboard login screen as well as one on the College homepage. The library web site provides library resources online in the form of periodical indexes, online reference books and databases, thousands of educational films, and more than 60,000 e-books. Students can reserve materials, contact the library staff by phone or , request interlibrary loans, and get assistance with a variety of links to helpful resources. The Library also provides a testing center. 26. How does the institution measure and promote interactions among distance delivery students and faculty (e.g., , online chats, discussion groups, phone or streaming audio, office hours, cyber buddies/mentors and tutors)? Strong student-student and student-instructor engagement is a best practice in online delivered courses. As such it is discussed in many of the workshops and courses offered by the Teaching Learning Center. Methods for student engagement are examined in the basic and advanced Blackboard classes and the Online Facilitation course. A number of the scheduled workshops also cover communication topics. These workshops include such topics as Using the Discussion Board in Blackboard, Best Practices in Online Instruction, and Student Engagement and Web 2.0. The Teaching Learning Specialist sends out weekly s containing three types of information: 1. Scheduled Workshops or classes to be offered that week, 2. Instructional Technology Tips and 3. Tips on Blackboard use These tips often cover student engagement issues. A number of faculty members have begun including a discussion forum in their classes that they title Raise Your Hand. This forum is used by students to ask a question about the content or processes in a class. When the teacher answers all the rest of the students can see the answer thus providing the information to students who either didn t realize they had a question or were afraid to ask. Higher Learning Commission Page 17 Version 2.1. August 2011

18 Some faculty members are also including a discussion forum called Student Café in their online classes. The instructor does not comment in this forum. It is used by students to help set up study groups and to share study tips, successes and frustrations. Rules of courtesy are defined and the instructor only steps in if the discussion becomes hurtful to one of the students. The Instructor Support website, contains a portion that provides information on how to use the communication tools in Blackboard. These tools include the discussion board, , wikis, messages, and groups and their tools. Some instructors hold virtual office hours for their online students either in Blackboard, on external video conferencing products or on the phone. In order to measure but also to promote interaction between students and faculty, the Online Course Rubric is used to evaluate all online curriculum projects. This rubric, found in Appendix A, contains requirements pertinent to student engagement. The course must provide standards for instructor response and availability (turnaround time for , discussion postings, grades, feedback on work). The courses are also checked for the following three items to be sure there are means for student-instructor and student-student interaction. The course includes a clear description of expectations/guidelines for instructor/student contact including asking questions. Communication protocols are clearly described and Netiquette is addressed and reinforced. The course includes a forum for self-introduction by each student. The course includes requirements for student-to-student interaction, including individual, small group, and whole class interaction. Student initiated interactions are encouraged and facilitated. Curriculum projects for courses that do not meet these requirements are returned to the instructor for revision. 27. How does the institution assure that the distance delivery students it enrolls and to whom it awards credit and credentials are the same ones who did the work and achieved the institution s learning goals (student authentication)? Online and Hybrid courses are presented in the College s learning management system, Blackboard. Blackboard access requires a username and password. The College is exploring alternative approaches to verify a student s identity in anticipation of further regulations. Instructors use several other methods to ensure the same person is always completing the work in their online classes. Some require proctored exams at which a student ID must be presented to the proctor. Other faculty use group assignments and/or multiple lower stake assessments spread throughout the semester to get to know their students styles, level of comprehension, and experiences. A number of faculty also use SafeAssign, a plagiarism checking service in Blackboard, to check to be sure the assignments turned in are not someone else s work. 28. How does the institution protect student identity and personal information? Though Blackboard stores the student s name, address, student ID, department, home phone, cell phone, and username, only the first and last name is available to other students in the class Roster tool. The instructor can turn off the Roster tool completely if he/she doesn t want even that information to show. When is sent from Blackboard the addresses are not displayed thus safe-guarding that information. Part 7. Evaluation and Assessment 29. How does the institution assess, review, and evaluate quality in distance-delivered offerings? The Online Course Rubric is used to evaluate curriculum developed for new online/hybrid courses and is recommended for all established online/hybrid courses. This rubric was developed by the Online Learning Committee during the school year and was piloted in the summer of It is now used routinely for all curriculum projects involving new online content. The dean/associate dean/coordinator who assigns faculty for a program receives student evaluations of all adjunct faculty members for each course, each semester. These evaluations can be factored into the assignment of adjunct faculty to any class, online-delivered or traditionally delivered. The dean receives a summary of the student evaluations for full-time faculty. These evaluations are formative in nature and thus are used by the faculty to improve their courses. Higher Learning Commission Page 18 Version 2.1. August 2011

19 The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) uses standard processes for curriculum approval, student outcome assessment and program review for all courses and programs, no matter the format in which they are offered. All courses must contain competencies to define what a student should be able to do at the end of the course. They also include conditions under which the assessment of those competencies is given and the criteria for success on each competency. The information about the competencies, criteria, conditions, and learning objectives is kept in Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) files where all faculty members can access them. Each program has defined program outcomes that students should be able to perform upon successful completion of that program. Curriculum is performance based, thus it is what the student is able to perform at the end of the instruction that is important. In order to evaluate the level of success for students in their programs the WTCS is working on Technical Skills Attainment (TSA). The WTCS system office describes TSA in the following way. The Technical Skills Attainment (TSA) project is a major system-wide initiative required by the federal government under Carl Perkins IV legislation. WTCS programs will assess the attainment of program outcomes to ensure graduates have the technical skills needed by employers. The assessments are approved by the System Office and implemented by districts. They will be linked to industry standards and meet state criteria including validity, reliability, and fairness. In this project each program identifies the assessments it will use to demonstrate success on its program outcomes. Once a year data is sent to the state showing the number of students who successfully met the program outcomes, the number who have not been completely assessed yet, and the number who were not successful. The format of the classes the students take is not factored into these decisions so online students must meet the same standards as any other students. The data for online students can be reviewed separately if so desired. Every five years each program goes through a Quality Review Process (QRP) to determine whether it is meeting the needs of its stakeholders including students, area businesses, and the public. This process looks at the whole program regardless of the format in which the courses are offered. 30. How are the measures and techniques the institution uses for distance-delivered offerings equivalent to those used to assess and evaluate traditional face-to-face offerings? If there are differences, why are these differences appropriate? The Wisconsin Technical College System uses the Quality Review Process (QRP) to evaluate educational programs. In this process each program is evaluated once every five years. Using data, the college staff identifies areas of opportunity, develops solutions for those areas and then implements those solutions. Since many of the data sources are standardized among the 16 technical colleges in Wisconsin, there is the ability to compare similar programs offered at different schools. The purposes of the QRP are to: Identify factors of program/service quality through quantitative and qualitative analysis Facilitate program/service continuous improvement through data based decisions Innovate programs by anticipating future trends Identify and prioritize state and local resources Ensure responsiveness and accountability to customers and stakeholders Improve overall organizational performance practices and capabilities Facilitate communication and sharing of best practices information among the colleges through the Internet QRP does not depend on the delivery method of the program. All programs are expected to meet the same standards. The curriculum development and approval processes are the same for courses and programs regardless of delivery method. All classes and programs have Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) files containing program outcomes and course competencies, performance standards, and learning objectives. All programs are part of the Technical Skills Attainment (TSA) project to gather data regarding the success of the students in meeting the program outcomes. The delivery method does not affect this process. The only evaluation process that is different is the use of the Online Course Rubric. This rubric is only used for curriculum projects involving courses that will be delivered either online or in a hybrid format. The College feels that it is important for the Higher Learning Commission Page 19 Version 2.1. August 2011

20 online courses to be designed according to identified best practices to promote the greatest success for students. In hybrid and face-to-face classes issues with the online design or presentation of materials can be discussed during class. 31. How does the institution assess the learning of the students it educates in its distance-delivered offerings to ensure that they achieve the levels of performance that the institution expect and that its stakeholders require? Blackhawk Technical College is a performance-based learning institution. Each program, whether online or traditionally delivered, uses performance-based program outcomes and course competencies to inform students of the skill level they should attain by completion. Faculty members determine how to assess whether these outcomes/competencies have been met. Regardless of the delivery format they must be met for successful program/course completion. Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) files are maintained for each course and program to store these course competencies and program outcomes. In 2008 the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) began the Technical Skills Attainment (TSA) project, as a systemwide initiative required by the federal government under Carl Perkins IV legislation. This project helps districts create and implement methods for assessing the level of skill attainment in their program students. Blackhawk Technical College is actively involved in the project and a number of the college s programs have completed their assessment plans and are in the implementation phase. Of the five programs for which this application is requesting online accreditation, two are in the implementation phase (Accounting and Business Management), two are in the development phase (Early Childhood and Criminal Justice) and the other is gathering information (IT Web Analyst/Programmer). The delivery mode for the program does not change the need for assessment or the general type of assessment. The WTCS system website describes the TSA project in the following way. WTCS programs will assess the attainment of program outcomes to ensure graduates have the technical skills needed by employers. The assessments are approved by the System Office and implemented by districts. They will be linked to industry standards and meet state criteria including validity, reliability, and fairness. During the WTCS Quality Review Process data regarding student success is gathered and is shared with the program s Education Director at the WTCS state office. A WTCS Education Director is an administrative staff member from the System Office who provides leadership and technical assistance to the districts related to educational issues, including the approval and assessment of courses and programs. There are nine education directors each responsible for a different subject area. The subject areas listed on the WTCS website are: Business and Information Technology Health and Human Services Manufacturing Engineering Electronics, Transportation and Automotive Fire Service EMS/Protective Services and International Education Transfer Information Apprenticeship Agriculture and Natural Resources The relevant education director works with the college to use the data to improve the program. If rates of student success are lower than desired, the education director will work with the district on improvement plans. 32. How does the institution encourage and ensure continuous improvement of its distance-delivered offerings? Blackhawk Technical College is a member of the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), an accreditation process used by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC defines AQIP in the following way. The Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) supports continuous performance improvement and provides an alternative process for colleges and universities to maintain their regional accreditation. As part of AQIP the College works to view processes through a continuous improvement lens. The delivery method of the course/program does not affect the quality standards. All programs are expected to work toward continuous improvement. The College always has a number of action projects in process including one in the student learning area. Higher Learning Commission Page 20 Version 2.1. August 2011

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