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Program Revisions: Distance Education The use of distance technology in academic programs is defined by its contrast to traditional, face-to-face instruction: instructors employing distance technology are not in the same place as the students they are instructing. Distance education may be synchronous with student learning (live video streaming), or asynchronous with student learning (web-based). Methods utilized may include DVD/CD, video streaming or web-based methods of instruction, or some combination (“blend”) of these. An academic program is considered “distance education” if the delivery method or blend of methods amounts to 50% or more of the program.

Because the traditional techniques for monitoring student performance and tracking contact hours do not always apply in distance education programs, campus/college/school officers responsible for academic affairs must uphold standards to ensure that the quality of instruction remains equivalent to traditionally offered programs.

The University is required to keep the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) updated in advance about all programs that can be offered 25% or more via any form of distance technology. The Commission on Higher Education (CHE) requires notification about all programs that can be offered 50% or more via distance technology.

For programs offered 25-49% via distance, approval procedures begin with completion of the Academic Program Action (APA) form. Subsequent approvals are required at the department, campus/college/ school, and university levels, before notification is forwarded to SACSCOC by the Provost’s Office. The process may take up to nine months until SACSCOC acknowledgement.

For programs offered 50% or more via distance, approval procedures begin with completion of the Academic Program Action (APA) form. Subsequent approvals are required at the department, campus/college/ school, and university levels, before notification is forwarded to CHE and SACSCOC by the Provost’s Office. The process may take up to eighteen months until CHE and SACSCOC acknowledgements are received.

General Approval Timeframe: For 25-49% distance programs, nine months from submission to Dean’s Office to admission of first students. For 50% or more distance programs, eighteen months from submission to Dean’s Office to admission of first students.



Questions? Contact your campus, college or school Academic Program Liaison for more information.

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