Table of Contents. SACS Standards and Requirements...1. Section I: UHCL Mapped Standards...2. Section II: Appendix A: SACS Policy Statements...

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1 Table of Contents SACS Standards and Requirements...1 Section I: UHCL Mapped Standards...2 Section II: Appendix A: SACS Policy Statements...7 Section III: Appendix B: THECB Distance Education Principles of Good Practices...18 Section IV: Appendix C: Minimum UH Requirements for Online Programs...31

2 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission Standards There are many interpretations of SACS standards and requirements for distance learning amongst colleges, universities and other professional organizations. For many years the UHCL Office of Online Programs have mapped requirements for quality assurance of distance learning courses/programs from the various academic communities and provided recommended best practices. This guide seeks to provide clarification of SACS distance learning policies, guidelines, good practices and expectations. In 2012, SACS included Appendix C, a guideline for addressing distance learning in the Principles of Accreditation. For each standard concerning specifically distance learning there are questions that SACS evaluation teams are charged with to examine the institution s processes and practices. The questions were designed to guide/help institutions in the review of the self-assessment process. According to the SACS language used in the Principles of Accreditation, we have outlined four guiding terms that SACS uses to help institutions met the requirements for distance learning accreditation. Policies. A policy is a required course of action to be followed by SACSCOC Board of Trustees or the Commission s member or candidate institutions. Commission policies may also include procedures, which are likewise a required course of action. The Principles of Accreditation requires that an institution comply with the policies and procedures of the Commission. Guidelines. A guideline is an advisory statement designed to assist institutions in fulfilling accreditation requirements. As such, guidelines describe recommended educational practices for documenting requirements of the Principles of Accreditation and are approved by the Executive Council. The guidelines are examples of commonly accepted practices that constitute compliance with the standard. Depending upon the nature and mission of the institution, however, other approaches may be more appropriate and also provide evidence of compliance. Good Practices. Good practices are commonly-accepted practices within the higher education community that enhance institutional quality. Good practices may be formulated by outside agencies and organizations and endorsed by the Executive Council or Commission s Board of Trustees. Expectations and questions related to standards and requirements of the Principles of Accreditation. Accreditation requirements are outlined and unless an expectation is the same as a requirement in the Principles of Accreditation, it should not be interpreted as a required standard; rather, it should be considered a good practice in distance education. Page 1 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

3 The QA list below serves as a guide for the UHCL online quality assurance process and evaluation procedures and criteria for use when evaluating new distance learning courses. Each question from 1 to 38 has been mapped to specific SACS policy statements, THECB Good practices and the University of Houston online program requirements. SECTION I UHCL Checklist Mapped Against SACS Policy Statement, THECB and the University of Houston Requirements UHCL QA Check list SYLLABUS: 1 Does the course have a syllabus? 2 Does it list phone number, address and office hours of the instructor? 3 Does it contain a course description? 4 Does it contain a course goal and learning objectives 5 Does it determine type of course as fully online? 6 Are prerequisites to the course and technical skills required for the course determined on the syllabus? 7 Does it state the required materials such as texts or software? 8 Does the instructor list their policies on late work? (required) SACS Policy Statement THECB Distance Education Principles of Good Practice Minimum UH Requirements for online programs Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Section 4 -Q9 Section 5 Q4 Faculty Section 4 -Q9 Section 4.2 Section 4.1 Q12 Section 6 -Q7 Resources Section 4.2 Section 5 -Q4 Faculty Section # 1 Course Information Section # 1.1, Section 2.5 Section # 1.1 Section # 6.1, 6.16 Syllabus Section # 2 Identify LMS Platform Section # 1.1 Course Information Section # 2.5 Technical Section # Appendix A 1 Appendix G Appendix G- 1/2/3 Appendix G Appendix A - 2./ Appendix G-5 Appendix G-a Appendix A /Appendix G-4 Appendix G- 6 Appendix F a/b Section # 6.1c Appendix A-7 Appendix G-12 9 Does the instructor list their policies on grading/grading scales? Section 4.10 Section # 6.1c Appendix A -9 /Appendix G-9 Page 2 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

4 10 Will students need to communicate with the instructor more than once? ( , feedback, chat rooms, bulletin boards) 11 Is there a policy stated about absenteeism or noncommunication? 12 Does the instructor list their policies on incompletes? 13 Does the instructor state the amount of time students could expect to spend on the course and activities? 14 If synchronous communication is required, is the time and date clearly stated? UNIVERSITY POLICIES 15 Does the instructor state their policy concerning academic honesty and cheating? 16 Is the last drop date and add date listed for the semester? 17 Does the instructor state their willingness to accommodate students with disabilities? SACS/THECB checklist for QA COURSE STRUCTURE 18 Is there an instructor introduction? Section 5 Q4 Faculty Section 5 Q4 Faculty Section 4.1, 4.10 Section 4.1 Section 5 -Q16 Faculty Section 4.1 Section 5 Q4 Faculty Section 5 Q16 Faculty SACS Policy Statement Section 5 Q4 Faculty Section # 6.1b Appendix A -3 Section # 6.1c Appendix A -7 /Appendix G-10 Section # 6.1c Appendix G-13 Section # 6.1b Context # 7 Section # 2.5 Content # 3 Section # 6.1c Appendix G-10/15 Section # 6.1c Context 8 Section # 2.5 THECB Distance Education Principles of Good Practice Section # 6.1.3/3a Appendix A-10/ Appendix G-15 Minimum UH Requirements for online programs Undergraduate courses (Support end of course) evaluation. The instructor communicated effectively. HB2504 Page 3 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

5 19 Do the students introduce themselves to other classmates? 20 Are there activities that encourage the student and instructor to communicate? ( , feedback on assignments, questions) 21 Are there activities that encourage students to communicate with each other? 22 Is there a course calendar or schedule of activities and assignments listed in the web site? 23 Is there access to resources outside of the course relative to links for downloading software or freeware, or encouragement to use other resources on the Internet? Section 5 Q16 Faculty Section 5 Q16 Faculty Section 5.4/ 5 -Q16 Faculty Section 4.10 Sections # 6.1, 6 -Q3, 6 -Q4 Resources Section # 6.1.3/3a Section # 6.1.3/3a Section # 6.1.3/3a Section # /2b Section # 6.3 Pages of Content Appendix A-3 Appendix A-3/ Undergraduate courses (Support end of course) evaluation. The instructor communicated effectively. HB2504 Appendix A-3 Appendix G-7/ 12 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The instructor conducted class as scheduled. HB2504 Appendix A-5/ Appendix G 24 Does the instructor use a variety of activities and assessments including selfcheck activities with timely feedback that are sequenced and appropriate regarding the content of the course? 25 Is the course divided into instructional modules? Section # 4 Q9, Q12 Section # 4.7, 4 -Q12 Section # 6.3 Pages of Content Section # 6.9.1, & 6.9.5c Standards Appendix A-8/11/ Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The instructor provided opportunity to learn. HB2504 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The Page 4 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

6 26 Does each module have learning objectives written from the student perspective? 27 Does each module list the activities and assignments that go with it? 28 Are the activities and assignments listed separately? 29 Does each module have activities that use the knowledge presented therein for the level of the course? 30 Do instructor materials match the learning objective? Section # 4.2, 4 -Q6 Section # 4 - Q Section 5# - Q2 Faculty Section # 4 - Q Section 5# - Q2 Faculty Section # 4 - Q Section 5# - Q2 Faculty Section # 4.1, 4 -Q6 Section # 6.9.5c Standards Section # 6.9.5c Standards Section # 6.9.5c Standards Section # 6.9.5c Standards Section # 6.9.5c Standards course was organized effectively. HB2504 Appendix A-2/ Appendix G-5 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course goals were made clear. HB2504 Appendix G-7 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course was organized effectively. HB2504 Appendix G-7 Appendix A-8/ Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course was organized effectively and provided opportunity to learn. HB2504 Appendix A-2 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course was Page 5 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

7 31 Do the tools and media support student engagement? Section # 4.1 Q12 Section # b organized effectively and provided opportunity to learn. HB2504 Appendix A-5 32 Is the course easy to navigate, or is there a need for a navigation map to the web site? 33 Is there a place for students to go for support? Section # 4.1 Q12 Section # 4.1 Q15 Section # 6.9.5c Section # 6.3 Technical Support Appendix A-13 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course was organized effectively. HB2504 Appendix A-6/ Context-5 34 Is there a place for the student to evaluate the course and their satisfaction in it? ASSIGNMENTS: 35 Are the directions to the assignments and activities posted easy to understand? 36 Does the instructor list any policies concerning how to submit assignments, uploading files or posting on the bulletin board, or talking in the chat room? Section # 5 Q8, Q12 Faculty Section # 4.2 Section # 4.2 Section # Evaluations Required in Blackboard Section # 6.9.5c Standards Section # 6.1c Context-6 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). HB2504 Appendix A-11 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course was organized effectively and provided opportunity to learn. HB2504 Appendix A-5 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The course was Page 6 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

8 37 Does the instructor specify how the assignment will be graded, or provide a rubric? 38 Does the instructor explain how the student receives feedback on their assignments with regards to turn-around time for grade postings and communication? Section # 4.2 Section # 5 Q4, Q16 Faculty Section # 6.9.5c Standards Section # 6.3b Feedback for students organized effectively and provided opportunity to learn. HB2504 Appendix A-9/ Appendix G-9 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). The instructor communicated effectively. HB2504 Appendix G-13 Undergraduate courses (Support end of course evaluation). communicated effectively. HB2504 SECTION II: Appendix A. SACS Policy Statements Definition of Distance Education Page 7 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

9 For the purposes of the Commission on College s accreditation review, distance education is a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may use the internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; audio conferencing; or video cassettes, DVD s, and CD-ROMs if used as part of the distance learning course or program. Definition of Correspondence Education Correspondence education is a formal educational process 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. Interaction between the instructor and the student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student; courses are typically self-paced. Policy Statements 1. At the time of review by the Commission, the institution must demonstrate that the student who registers in a distance or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using, at the option of the institution, methods such as (1) a secure login and pass code, (2) proctored examinations, and (3) new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification. 2. An institution that offers distance or correspondence education must ensure that it reports accurate headcount enrollment on its annual Institutional Profile submitted to the Commission. 3. Institutions must ensure that their distance and correspondence education courses and programs comply with the Principles of Accreditation. This applies to all educational programs and services, wherever located or however delivered. Guidelines in the Application of the Principles of Accreditation To Distance and Correspondence Education With the underlying concept that the Principles of Accreditation apply to all programs of the institution, regardless of mode of delivery, institutions should consider the following guideline statements in implementing and reporting on distance and correspondence education programs. Mission (Expectations: Section # 1) If an institution offers significant distance and correspondence education, it should be reflected in the institution s mission. Page 8 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

10 Evaluators Questions 1. Is there evidence that the governing board has been involved in the decision to include distance education courses or programs as a part of the institution s mission? 2. Are distance learning programs part of the mission statement of the institution? How does the mission of distance learning fit the overall mission of the institution? 3. Is there evidence of understanding on the part of the governing board, the administration, and the faculty concerning how extensive distance education should become? Organizational Structure (Expectations: Section #2) Administrative responsibility for all educational programs, including the offering of distance education courses and programs, should be reflected in the organizational structure of the institution. Evaluators Questions 1. What is the administrative structure responsible for the quality of distance learning programs? 2. Does the institution maintain control over distance education programs? 3. Does the organizational chart for the institution indicate responsibility for distance education? 4. Does the organizational structure at the institution reflect the relationship between courses/programs offered in traditional formats and courses/ programs offered by distance education? Institutional Effectiveness (Expectations: Section # 3) 1. Comparability of distance and correspondence education programs to campus-based programs and courses is ensured by the evaluation of educational effectiveness, including assessments of student learning outcomes, student retention, and student satisfaction. 2. The institution regularly assesses the effectiveness of its provision of library/learning resources and student support services for distance or correspondence education students. Evaluators Questions 1. How do distance learning programs fit into the overall plans of the institution? 2. Who directs the development, planning, and evaluation of distance learning programs? Page 9 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

11 3. To what extent are faculty members involved? 4. Has the institution implemented a plan for the collection of data relating to its distance learning programs? 5. Is the collected data used in the planning and evaluation process? 6. Are the research activities for collecting data regularly evaluated? 7. Is there evidence that outcomes for the program have been identified? 8. Is there evidence that the effectiveness of the distance education program is regularly assessed and steps taken for improvement of the program? 9. Is the evaluation plan part of a broader institutional plan? 10. Has the institution developed student learning competencies for the courses/programs offered by distance education? If these are the same competencies for courses /programs offered by traditional methodologies, is assessment identified for distance learning students separate from students taking courses by traditional methodologies? and Instruction (Expectations: Section # 4) 1. The faculty assumes primary responsibility for and exercises oversight of distance and correspondence education, ensuring both the rigor of programs and the quality of instruction. 2. The technology used is appropriate to the nature and objectives of the programs and courses and expectations concerning the use of such technology are clearly communicated to students. 3. Distance and correspondence education policies are clear concerning ownership of materials, faculty compensation, copyright issues, and the use of revenue derived from the creation and production of software, telecourses, or other media products. 4. Academic support services are appropriate and specifically related to distance and correspondence education. 5. Program length is appropriate for each of the institution s educational programs, including those offered through distance education and correspondence education. 6. For all degree programs offered through distance or correspondence education, the programs embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with the institution s mission and is based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education. Page 10 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

12 7. For all courses offered through distance or correspondence education, the institution employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded and justifies the use of a unit other than semester credit hours by explaining it equivalency. 8. An institution entering into consortial arrangements or contractual agreements for the delivery of courses/programs or services offered by distance or correspondence education is an active participant in ensuring the effectiveness and quality of the courses/programs offered by all of the participants. 9. The institution s curriculum designed for distance learning is directly related and appropriate to the mission of the institution. 10. The institution makes available to students current academic calendars, grading practices, and refund policies. Evaluators Questions 1. How appropriate are the delivery systems for the programs being offered? 2. Are admissions, degree completion, curriculum, and instructional design policies and procedures the same as those used for traditional campus based programs? 3. Does the institution contract for any or all of its distance learning program with an outside party to deliver instruction? 4. Do the contracts provide for quality control by the institution awarding credit for the distance learning course or program? 5. Are provisions of the agreement, contract, or arrangement clearly delineated? Is there provision for regular evaluation of the effectiveness of the arrangement? 6. Are goals and objectives, and skills and competencies for distance learning programs comparable to those expected for traditional campus-based programs? 7. Does the administrative structure for provision of distance education courses/programs appropriately involve faculty as well as administrators? 8. What role do the academic departments play in the design and coordination of courses? 9. Are faculty members in distance learning programs also involved in curriculum development, in coordinating syllabi, and in preparing comprehensive examinations? 10. Is there appropriate technological assistance for faculty charged with developing distance education courses/programs? Page 11 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

13 11. If outside experts develop and provide distance education courses/ programs, what is the role of the institution s faculty? 12. Are the technological delivery modes, instructional design, and resource materials appropriate for the courses and programs? Does the technology used enhance student learning? 13. Does the institution provide adequate technology for its distance education courses and does it upgrade the technology as needed? 14. Does the institution make training in technology available to faculty members teaching distance education courses? 15. Is assistance in use of required technology provided to distance education students who need it? Faculty (Expectations: Section # 5) 1. An institution offering distance or correspondence learning courses/programs ensures that there is a sufficient number of faculty qualified to develop, design, and teach the courses/programs. 2. The institution has clear criteria for the evaluation of faculty teaching distance education courses and programs. 3. Faculty who teach in distance and correspondence education programs and courses receive appropriate training. Evaluators Questions 1. What role is expected of faculty members relative to distance education courses/programs? 2. Are there policies concerning the expectations of full and part time faculty planning for, designing, and teaching distance education courses? What is the percentage of fulltime/part-time faculty who are involved in courses/ programs designated as distance and correspondence education? 3. Is there evidence that consideration is given to the demands of teaching distance learning courses and do faculty loads reflect this consideration? Page 12 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

14 4. What procedures are in place to ensure communication between faculty and students? 5. What are the defined qualifications for faculty members teaching distance education courses? 6. How does the institution ensure that faculty are qualified to teach those courses? 7. Is there evidence that the institution has considered the differences between teaching distance education courses and teaching courses offered using traditional methodologies? 8. Does the institution regularly evaluate the effectiveness of faculty members who teach distance education courses? 9. Are the criteria clear for evaluating distance education faculty? 10. How does the institution orient and train faculty for teaching in these programs? 11. Does the institution make professional development activities and training available to distance education faculty members and ensure that distance education faculty members engage in that training and professional development? 12. Is there evaluation of faculty members teaching distance education courses? 13. Is there a clear understanding among distance education faculty members concerning expectations and criteria for evaluation? 14. Does the institution publish its criteria for evaluation of and expectations concerning the teaching of distance education courses? 15. Is there evidence in faculty files of evaluation of distance education faculty members using established and published criteria? 16. What is the interaction that occurs between students and faculty in these programs and how is the quality of interaction perceived by faculty and students? Library and Learning Resources (Expectations: Section # 6) 1. Students have access to and can effectively use appropriate library resources. 2. Access is provided to laboratories, facilities, and equipment appropriate to the courses or programs. Page 13 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

15 Evaluators Questions 1. What arrangements has the institution made for ensuring that students have access to appropriate learning resources? 2. Are the resources adequate to support the programs? 3. What learning resources are available to distance education students? 4. How distance education students are made aware of the available learning resources? 5. Do distance education students have access to professional assistance at times when they are likely to need assistance? 6. How does the institution know that its provision of resources and assistance to distance learning students is adequate? 7. Does the institution make available to distance education students information concerning what will be needed to access learning resources for their enrolled distance education courses? 8. Does the institution provide regularly scheduled orientation sessions for distance education students? 9. Is data available indicating that provision of learning resources to distance education is effective and that it is regularly evaluated and improved where appropriate? Student Services (Expectations: Section # 7) 1. Students have adequate access to the range of services appropriate to support the programs offered through distance and correspondence education. 2. Students in distance or correspondence programs have an adequate procedure for resolving their complaints, and the institution follows its policies and procedures. 3. Advertising, recruiting, and admissions information adequately and accurately represent the programs, requirements, and services available to students. 4. Documented procedures assure that security of personal information is protected in the conduct of assessments and evaluations and in the dissemination of results. 5. Students enrolled in distance education courses are able to use the technology employed, have the equipment necessary to succeed, and are provided assistance in using the technology employed. Back to UHCL Page 14 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

16 Evaluators Questions Facilities and Finances (Expectations: Section # 8) 1. Appropriate equipment and technical expertise required for distance and correspondence education are available. 2. The institution, in making distance and correspondence education courses/programs a part of its mission, provides adequate funding for faculty, staff, services, and technological infrastructure to support the methodology. Evaluators Questions 1. Has the institution made appropriate and necessary adjustments to ensure adequate student development services for students involved in distance learning programs? 2. Is there a supervisor responsible for ensuring such services? 3. Does the institution have a sufficient number of trained student service personnel to ensure provision of appropriate support in such areas as admissions or counseling? 4. Does the institution have a sufficient number of trained academic support personnel to ensure provision of academic assistance needed by distance education students? 5. Does the institution ensure that services are available? 6. Does the institution provide distance education students with material indicating student services and academic services which are available to them and how to access the services? 7. How does the institution identify distance education students who need academic assistance and how does it intervene to provide that assistance? 8. Is there data that demonstrates achievement by distance education students of learning outcomes established by the institution? Facilities and Finances (Expectations: Sub-Section # 9) 1. The institution provides appropriate facilities, equipment, and technical expertise required for distance and correspondence education. Page 15 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

17 The institution, in making distance and correspondence education courses/programs a part of its mission, provides adequate funding for faculty, staff, services, and technological infrastructure to support the methodology. Back to UHCL Evaluators Questions 1. Does the budget reflect provision of funding for needs of distance education at the institution to include technology, faculty, staff, administrative personnel, learning resources, and services? 2. Are the funding needs reflected in the annual budget and in long-range budgetary projections for the institution? 3. Are the technological resources, means of delivery, and other physical resources available, maintained, staffed, and current? 4. Are there sufficient financial resources available and committed to support distance learning activities and how is it supported by the budget? 5. Is there a financial plan for maintaining the support systems needed for the programs, including upgrading systems currently being used and maintaining currency of technological delivery? 6. What arrangements has the institution made for required laboratories, workshops, etc. associated with distance learning programs? Federal Requirements (Expectations: Section # 9) Expectation 1: The institution is expected to provide distance education students with processes by which they can submit complaints. Questions: 1. Do distance education students know how they may file a complaint and receive feedback on resolution of the complaint? 2. Is there a process by which a distance education student may file a complaint and receive response within a reasonable time is provided to the student upon registration? 3. Does documentation exist indicating that institutions are responsive to student complaints and to resolving the complaint within a reasonable time period? Expectation 2: All recruitment materials accurately represent the institution s practices and policies. Page 16 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

18 Questions: Back to UHCL 1. Who is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of materials used for the recruitment of students? What is the process for maintaining accuracy? 2. Are recruitment materials accurate? Expectation 3: An institution that offers distance or correspondence education demonstrates that the student who registers in a distance or correspondence education course or programs is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using such methods as (1) a secure login and pass code, (2) proctored examinations, or (3) new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification. Questions: 1. What are the methods used by the institution to verify student identity? 2. Are the methods adequate and effective? Expectation 4: The institution has a written procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in distance and correspondence education courses or program. Questions: 1. What is the procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in these courses? 2. Is the procedure adequate and effective? Expectation 5: The institution has a written procedure distributed at the time of registration or enrollment that notifies students of any projected additional student charges associated with verification of student identity (if a charge is assessed). Questions: 1. What is the procedure for notifying students regarding additional student charges associated with such verification? Back to UHCL 2. Where is it written and how is the student notified? What is the timing of notification? Page 17 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

19 Adopted: SACSCOC Board of Trustees: June 2010 Edited: January 2012 Reformatted: July 2014 Back to UHCL SECTION III: Appendix B. THECB Distance Education Principles of Good Practices GUIDE FOR INCORPORATING THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE INTO ELECTRONICALLY-BASED COURSES Introduction The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, through the Distance Education Advisory Committee, commends and encourages the development of online courses and other electronically delivered courses that enhance access to higher education throughout the state of Texas. THECB works closely with Texas College and university systems as well as with ICUT (Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas) to ensure that the quality of distance education is high. To that end, all course providers and all institutions are encouraged to use the Principles of Good Practice for Electronically Offered Academic Degree and Certificate Programs as developed by the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET), a program of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and as endorsed by THECB. The document below is a recommended guide and evaluation to be utilized by institutions when development of a new electronically delivered course is completed. It is designed to determine whether the course confirms to the Principles. Institutions seeking approval for distance education plans through THECB must demonstrate that all courses adhere to the Principles. Use of a course evaluation document such as this one is one way to demonstrate adherence to the Principles. The document is adapted from one developed by the University of Texas System TeleCampus. SACS Distance Education Policy Statement # THECB Distance Education Advisory Board GUIDE FOR INCORPORATING THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE INTO ELECTRONICALLY-BASED COURSES #1 Page 18 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

20 Course Information Section 1 Please be sure that information is accurate and complete. Title of Course, Number: Name (s), title (s), component (s) of instructional faculty: Name, title, phone number and of principal contact person: Is this course for credit? Is this a non-credit course? Prerequisite (s) and/or required academic skills/background of students: Number of students recommended: Brief course description: Technical Notes: Section 2 Note: As you complete this section of the self-study, please consult with the appropriate staff at your institution. Course Management Platform (for example, Prometheus, Blackboard, WebCT, other) Indicate which one: Students will use a variety of browsers and hardware. Have you tested your course on a combination of browser versions and hardware platforms? (For example, Netscape 3.X on an older Pentium PC, or Explorer on a Mac running OS7.X). Please provide details. #5 Student Discussion/Chat: Asynchronous (Threaded Discussion): yes no Synchronous (Live Chat): yes no yes no Additional Information: Back to UHCL Audio: Number of segments: Length of longest segment: Method of delivery: Streaming via RealAudio ; QuickTime or other ; CD-ROM Transcript of Audio Included yes no Additional information as appropriate Video: Number of segments: Length of Longest segment: Method of delivery: Streaming via Real/Media ; QuickTime or other ; CD-ROM Transcript of Video Included: yes no Additional Information as appropriate Does the program or course meet the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act and specifically the Rehabilitation Act Amendments in (Section 508). For information on the actual guidelines, see the following: or Yes No Course Copyright and Permissions Section 3 It is the responsibility of the instructor and his/her colleagues to ensure that all copyright provisions are met and that permissions have been obtained as appropriate. Have you confirmed that the inclusion of all course materials in the course not developed by the copyright holder meet fair use guidelines, or that you are otherwise exempt from liability from infringement, or you have received appropriate permissions from all copyright holders? Page 19 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

21 # 5 #5 Please work with your home institution in ascertaining this and in obtaining appropriate permissions. Information on copyright laws relating to the use of intellectual materials is available through institution inserts its own link to materials. (An example would be the UT System Copyright Crash Course Tutorial that is online at the UT TeleCampus. A link to this is: ->Faculty Resources -> First Steps.) In any case where the institution and/or course author (s) contribute copyrightable expression, the institution and/or course author (s) warrant that they are the only owner (s) of the course and have full power and authority to make this agreement; and that the course does not infringe any copyright, violate any property rights, or contain any scandalous, libelous or unlawful matter. Name (s) of copyright holders: Have you confirmed that the course materials and any course materials not developed by the copyright holder are fair use or that you are otherwise exempt from liability from infringement? Yes No In Process If not, have you acquired permission to use or link to the materials? Yes No In Process Additional Information/Comments as appropriate: Back to UHCL Principles of Good Practice Section 4 The Principles of Good Practice for Electronically Offered Academic Degree and Certificate Programs were developed by the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications and adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. These principles provide an outline for consideration when developing, teaching or evaluating the quality of electronic instruction. Therefore, the Distance Education Advisory Committee of THECB recommends that all instructors complete this Guide as an assurance that all courses offered through distance learning in Texas meet these guidelines. It is not necessary for you to provide a positive answer to each question. However, those questions for which you report a negative answer may well represent areas in which should provide additional information/rationale for that decision. #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 #9 Assumptions of the Principles of Good Practice Section 5 1. The program or course offered electronically is provided by or through an institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and authorized to operate in the state where the program or course originates. 2. The institution s programs and courses holding specialized accreditation meet the same requirements when offered electronically. 3. The institution may be a single institution or a consortium of such institutions. 4. These principles are generally applicable to degree or certificate programs and to courses offered for academic credit. 5. It is the institution s responsibility to review educational programs and courses it provides electronically and certify continued compliance with these principles. 6. Institutions offering programs or for-credit courses are responsible for satisfying all in-state approval and accreditation requirements before students are enrolled. Principles of Good Practice: and Instruction Section 6 #9 1. The course results in learning outcomes appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the degree or certificate awarded. Yes No Degree or certificate (if applicable) Page 20 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

22 #2 #14 2. The course offered electronically is coherent and complete. a. Necessary course materials are identified. Information on how to purchase or obtain materials online or via phone is provided, if necessary. Yes No b. If students are not required to meet on campus, they can complete the course without physically visiting the institution offering the course. (i.e. all necessary instruction and support infrastructure is in place to serve the off-campus student.) Yes No #1 c. The course includes: Note: A positive response is not required for every item below. This section should be used as a checklist and should be dependent upon the course content and the target audience. Introduction Yes No Course Title Yes No Course prerequisites Yes No Syllabus includes: Course number and title Yes No Instructor name/contact number Yes No Required text including purchase information Yes No Learning objectives Yes No Descriptions of lessons/modules Yes No Information on course assessment Yes No Links to appropriate library and other learning resources Yes No Policies and Procedures of the course Yes No Calendar of all assignments Yes No #3 Pages of content Graphical and multimedia elements Yes No PDF and other downloadable files Yes No Links to other web sites Yes No Interactive exercises Yes No Evaluation instruments Yes No Link to online conference or chat Yes No Technical support information or link Yes No Technical requirements for the course Yes No #1 3. The course provides for appropriate interaction between faculty and students and among students. a. Interaction with and among students is achieved through (check all that apply): Asynchronous discussion Synchronous chat Team projects Individual Group Audioconference Interactive Video (ITV) Student posting of projects/assignments for review by faculty/other students: Other Page 21 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

23 #1 b. Feedback for students on assignments and questions will be provided in a timely manner and guidelines for feedback are defined or outlined in the syllabus or course menu. Yes No Additional information as appropriate: #1 & 7 c. When teaching the course, the faculty member (s) will be available to support and communicate with the students and oversee student projects and evaluation. Yes No #1 d. Students have the opportunity to interact with each other and with faculty and administrators outside of class to build a learning community. Yes No #2 & # 9 4. Courses offered electronically are offered on the campus of the institution where the programs or courses originate. a. Is this course part of the institution s course inventory? Yes No b. Did this course obtain approval through the regular approval process used for all courses? Yes No #9 #1 & #16 #1 & 16 #9 #9 5. Academic standards for all programs or courses offered electronically will be the same as those for programs or courses delivered by other means at the institution where the program or course originates. a. The course provides students with clear, complete and timely information on course goals and objectives. Yes No b. The course specified necessary technology competence and skills. Yes No c. This course meets the institutional standards for content, reflective learning, competencies, etc. as other courses? Yes No Back to UHCL d. Student learning online is comparable to student learning offered at the campus where the program or course originates? Yes No Page 22 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

24 Principles of Good Practice: Institutional Context and Commitment Section 7 #16 1. The course and associated technology requirements are consistent with the institutional technology policies. Yes No 2. Course announcements and catalog entries provide appropriate information about the course and services associated with the course. Note: If 50% of the course content is delivered electronically or off-campus, it must be listed as a distance learning course in the official schedule of courses and in all promotional materials. Yes No #13 & #14 3. Enrolled students have reasonable and adequate access to the range of student services and student rights appropriate to support their learning. Financial Aid: Yes No Library Resources: Yes No Counseling: Yes No Special Student Services Yes No Career Services Yes No Technical Support Yes No #8 4. The institution has admission/acceptance criteria in place to assess the extent to which a student has the background, knowledge and technical skills required to undertake the program or course. This would include, if appropriate, prerequisite technical and/or content background. Yes No #6 & #7 5. The institution provides your and your co-developers (when applicable) support services specifically related to teaching via an electronic or distance format. Yes No #7 6. The institution provides training for you and your co-developers who teach via the use of technology. Yes No #7 #6 & #7 What training have you and your co-developers received (check those that apply): a. General technology skills workshops b. Web-course development and delivery workshops c. Other training 7. The institution provides support for you and your co-developers as they revise the course. #6 Yes No Back to UHCL 8. The institution provides adequate equipment, software, and communications access to you and your co-developers to support the interaction with students, other faculty and other institutions or services. Yes No Page 23 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

25 #9 9. Courses offered electronically may also be offered on the campus of the institution where the programs originate. Indicate below the status of this course as it relates to on-campus sections of the same course. a. A separate section of this course is sometimes taught on campus. N/A Yes No 10. Will this course be a part of or in addition to the assignment of you and your codevelopers? Yes No #9 #9 #9 Principles of Good Practice: Evaluation and Assessment Section 8 1. Students will be given an opportunity to evaluate this online course. Yes No 2. Student achievement in the course will be assessed. Yes No #9 3. The effectiveness of the course will be evaluated by students at regular intervals. Yes No 1. You and your co-developers will use the results of assessment to make necessary revisions of this course at regular intervals. Yes No Page 24 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

26 Faculty and Institutional Commitment/Approval This signature page must be completed and returned along with the answers to the self-study. It should be completed and signed by the instructional faculty and the appropriate dean or vice president. Faculty Commitment Back to UHCL The answers to the questions in this self-study are accurate and truthful. All efforts have been made to ensure that copyright permissions have been obtained. All efforts have been made to comply with institutional policies regarding technology and other learning resources. Signature: Printed Name Signature: Printed Name Departmental Approval (if appropriate) The answers to the questions in the self-study are consistent with departmental policy. Signature: Printed Name Title: Date: Institutional Commitment (Dean or, if appropriate, Vice President) The answers to the questions in the self-study are consistent with college and/or University policy. Signature: Printed Name Title: Date: Completed self-study will be housed in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs or an office designated by the VPAA and used as part of the institutional plan for distance education activities as required by state law and coordinated through the Distance Education Advisory Committee of THECB. Adopted: Adopted by the Distance Education Advisory Committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on March 28, Back to UHCL Page 25 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

27 SECTION IV: Appendix C. Minimum UH Requirements for Online Programs Back to UHCL RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES FOR UH ONLINE COURSES Page 26 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

28 Courses taught through Distance Education at the University of Houston are strongly encouraged to follow the quality standard guidelines provided through Faculty Development and Instructional Support (FDIS), Distance Education (DE), and with support of Academic Affairs. This set of guidelines provides clarification of State of Texas regulations concerning the delivery of Distance Education courses, University of Houston policy and definitions regarding distance delivered courses, determination of quality, and resources available to support both students and faculty. SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) policy statement regarding Distance Education provides the underlying concepts for the implementation of quality delivery of all University of Houston programs and courses. The best practices statement can be found on the SACS website at the following URLhttp://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/Distance_and_correspondence_policy_final.pdf This document describes guidelines and recommendations needed to implement quality online courses. DEFINITION OF DISTANCE EDUCATION: At the University of Houston, a course delivered through Distance Education is defined according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board definition. Chapter (9) Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) rules define a Distance Education course as:...a course which the majority of the instruction occurs when the students and the instructor are not in the same physical setting. A course is considered to be offered by DE if students receive more than ½ of the instruction (51%) at a different location than the instructor. A DE course can be delivered synchronously or asynchronously to any single or multiple location(s) through electronic, correspondence, or other means. The course may be formula funded or offered through extension, and it may be delivered to on-campus students and those who do not take courses on the main campus. The University of Houston defines distance education classes as follows: Online classes have the bulk of the material delivered online (Blackboard, etc.). Face-to-face sessions are discouraged but acceptable up to 15% of instructional time (maximum of four 1 ½ hour meetings during a long semester). All required meeting days, times, and locations should be included in the class footnotes so students are aware of this requirement prior to registration. Hybrid classes at the University of Houston combine traditional classroom instruction with a significant amount (over 50%) of instruction delivered through educational technology. Hybrid courses meet approximately half of the time in a traditional face-to-face classroom environment with the remainder of the course presentation, interaction, activities, and exercises delivered through various electronic means (online). Page 27 of 41 Office of Online Programs, Updated October 2015

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