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POLICY #6.48
SUBJECT: Distance Education


I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to establish policy for credit-based distance education courses delivered through telecourses, outreach, self-support, credit workshop, Concurrent Enrollment, and other courses.


III. DEFINITIONS

  1. Distance Education: Distance Education is defined as a planned teaching/learning experience in which the instructor and learners are separated by physical distance and instructor-learner interaction occurs through multiple modalities of existing and evolving media. This form of education requires special techniques of course design, instructional techniques, assessment, and methods of communication by electronic and other technology, as well as special organization and administrative arrangements. Both synchronous or asynchronous methods can be used in Distance Education. The University will use the definitions of modalities found on the SUU Registrar’s Definition of Face-to-Face, Hybrid, and Online courses.

IV. POLICY

  1. Mission and Objectives
    1. The mission of distance learning is to deliver courses and programs in the SUU curriculum to off-site learners through current technology. In general, it is expected that distance learners will receive the same quality of instruction, assessment of learning objectives, and curricular content as face-to-face learners.
    2. A faculty and staff advisory board, comprised of at least one (1) faculty member from each College/School and key stakeholders from across campus, will advise the Online Teaching & Learning (OTL) staff regarding faculty and staff needs, pedagogical practices and issues, evaluation of tools provided to learners and instructors, etc.
    3. The Office of Online Teaching & Learning, in collaboration with the advisory board, will provide:
      1. Leadership in the development and review of hybrid and online courses;
      2. Professional Development for full-time and adjunct faculty on the pedagogical best practices of building and delivering distance education to ensure distance education is delivered with appropriate rigor and within standards of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities;
      3. A point of contact with the Utah Education Network (UEN);
      4. Assistance with Concurrent Enrollment at SUU;
      5. Technical support before, during, and after a course is offered; and
      6. Faculty access to course content for a reasonable length of time after the course is taught.
  2. Instruction
    1. Faculty and staff members may teach classes in adherence with the University’s Policy 6.27 and Policy 8.3.8 respectively. Faculty and staff members who teach classes for Continuing Education may receive extra compensation in accordance with the aforementioned policies.
  3. Course Content and Accessibility
    1. Faculty members have the primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum as implemented in a variety of instructional modalities.
    2. Faculty members and the Office of Online Teaching & Learning will share the responsibility of ensuring course and instructional material accessibility for learners with disabilities based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and/or other comparable guidelines. This includes providing:
      1. appropriate resources (software, staff, etc.) to monitor accessibility in distance education courses;
      2. reviewing Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) and accessibility statements for 3rd party vendors; and
      3. assisting with resolving or creating accessible instructional materials for all learners.
  4. Faculty-Learner Interaction
    1. Faculty members must provide regular and substantive interaction with learners enrolled in a Distance Education course per the guidelines provided by the Department of Education, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the Office of Online Teaching & Learning. This interaction is instructor-driven, frequent, and consistent throughout the term. Faculty members may use a variety of methods and resources appropriate to the course and discipline to facilitate contact with learners. Among other strategies, interactions may include:
      1. Providing feedback to learners;
      2. Making weekly announcements with comments;
      3. Leading and facilitating discussion boards;
      4. Posting instructional materials;
      5. Moderating group work;
      6. Facilitating learner-to-learner communication;
      7. Providing real-time audio or video conferencing;
      8. Holding scheduled virtual office hours;
      9. Sending emails;
      10. Holding review and tutoring sessions; and
      11. Meeting face-to-face if necessary/possible.

V. RELEVANT FORMS/LINKS


VI. QUESTIONS/RESPONSIBLE OFFICE

The responsible office for this Policy is the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. For questions about Distance Education, contact the Office of Online Teaching and Learning.


VII. POLICY ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT DATES

Date Approved: December 7, 2004

Amended: January 21, 2022