I. OBJECTIVE & PURPOSE
To articulate the position of the University of North Florida on distance learning and to ensure compliance with other UNF policies and procedures. This policy is also intended to ensure compliance with the requirements of regulatory and accrediting agencies, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), and federal regulations. Distance learning 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 (SACSCOC).
II. STATEMENT OF POLICY
The University of North Florida supports the development of distance learning to meet the needs of students in a manner that is consistent with our mission. The University provides centralized oversight through UNF Online to ensure compliance with current policy and state and federal regulations.
Distance learning at UNF adheres to the same standards and rigor expected from on ground courses and programs. UNF complies with the Principles of Good Practice
defined by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and to policies in the Application of the Principles of Accreditation to Distance and Correspondence Education.
This policy shall not delete from, or conflict with, or change in any substantive manner conditions set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Distance learning takes place in a variety of modalities. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous and use a range of technologies. See UNF’s Distance Learning Definitions for specific program and course modality definitions.
IV. GENERAL POLICY
1. Irrespective of delivery mode, all academic programs are coordinated by faculty academically qualified in the teaching discipline, approved by the same institutional process, and governed by UNF policies, Florida State statutes, and Florida Board of Governor regulations.
2. Admission, degree, curriculum, and contact hour policies are the same as those used for traditional campus-based programs.
3. In order to ensure that the student who participates in and completes a distance learning course is the same student who registered for the course, all distance learning courses must use one or more of the following: secure login and password with multifactor authentication; proctored examinations; and/or new or emerging technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.
4. All distance learning courses are delivered via the University’s official Learning Management System to ensure compliance with the University’s data privacy policies.
5. Information about any additional costs associated with verifying student identity in a distance learning course or program must be provided to students at the time of enrollment.
6. Information about any required campus or online synchronous meetings in a distance learning course/program must be provided to students at time of enrollment.
7. Students enrolled in distance learning programs have reasonable and adequate access to academic, support, and technical services and UNF Online regularly evaluates the adequacy of those services.
8. Instructors teaching distance learning courses have access to appropriate technologies and to support for the platforms and tools used to deliver courses.
9. The University provides online proctoring services for distance learning courses.
10. The University’s FERPA and privacy policies apply with equal force and effect to distance learning student records.
11. The University’s procedures for student complaints are outlined on the Ombuds page and applicable to students in distance learning courses and programs.
12. Intellectual property rights are governed by the University’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and its Intellectual Property policy.
13. UNF Online is the administrative unit for all non-state fundable, self-supporting college credit courses and programs offered online.
14. Instructors consider copyright, trademark, and licensing issues when designing courses and adhere to UNF’s copyright policy and guidelines.
15. The University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students. Instructional materials distributed to students via digital platforms must be accessible to students with disabilities.
16. As per the Collective Bargaining Agreement the University requires each instructor to maintain posted office hours and to be available by appointment. Instructors teaching distance learning courses are available via online synchronous tools and/or via telephone.
17. Each student in a distance learning course or program is responsible for personally completing all of the academic requirements of that course/program and for adherence to the principles of academic integrity as outlined in the University’s Academic Misconduct policy. Each student in a distance learning course or program is responsible for adherence to the policies and procedures outlined in the UNF Student Code of Conduct.
18. The University evaluates courses in all delivery formats using a standard online instrument "Instructional Satisfaction Questionnaire" (ISQ).
19. To support regular and substantial interaction, course size is considered during scheduling. The appropriate class size for distance learning courses will be dependent on the subject matter, the types of learning and class activities, and the available supports, such as academic coaches.
20. Distance learning courses are scheduled consistent with university scheduling practices and instructional modality is indicated on course schedule. Academic units determine the appropriate instructional assignment for the course, instructor and student population.
21. Instructors who teach distance learning courses complete appropriate training.
22. Distance learning courses complete a course design quality review process within two years of initial delivery and again every five years.
23. Academic units complete the Distance Learning Program Transition process prior to implementation of online programs to ensure that appropriate resources are available.
III. STATEMENT OF PROCEDURES
The University Distance Learning Committee provides advisory support to UNF Online in the development of procedures and policies that are consistent with, and that will advance, the purpose and goals stated above.