Policy: Policy 3-3-11: Distance Education Online Policy Date Adopted: Apr 06, 2012
Department: Academic & Student Affairs Contact: Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Statement: Distance Education Online Policy

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Faculty Training
  3. Course Development
  4. Course Delivery
  5. Online Course Review
  6. Faculty Compensation for Online Course Development and Course Sharing

Section 1: Introduction

  1. NSHE Code: Definition of Distance Education (Section 11)
    1. The term distance education means a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when the student and instructor are separated by geographic distance or time. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. Distance education may employ correspondence study, audio, or other electronically mediated technologies.
  2. Western Nevada College offers online courses in a learning centered environment that fulfill the same objectives, meet the same outcomes, and are assessed with the same rigor as traditional courses. Just as traditional courses observe standards appropriate to that mode, online courses observe the guidelines and standards defined in this document.
  3. All WNC courses will adhere to current WNC policies and bylaws, and to all NSHE requirements.
  4. Definitions:
    1. Online Course An online course provides all instruction in the current Learning Management System (LMS) in an asynchronous manner and has limited or no regular on-campus schedule, with the exception of proctored assignments when applicable. Synchronous chat room activities may be used when appropriate. Flex courses fall under this section.
    2. Web-Enhanced Course A web-enhanced course shall use the current LMS and flexible learning formats to enhance student learning. It will include an in-class component and the current LMS, but the format may differ from a traditional course by using online components, and/or other delivery modalities (such as video, interactive video, cable media, other).
    3. Traditional Course A traditional course conducts all class sessions on campus in a synchronous manner. Traditional courses may use Web resources such as class notes, quizzes, and other class resources. Web assignments for traditional courses may be asynchronous. Students enrolled in traditional courses with important or required web components may access any online course components through WNC computer labs. In person courses using non-LMS web resources fall under this section.

Section 2: Faculty Training

  1. The institution provides appropriate training and the opportunity for exposure to new and innovative technologies, tools and software for enhancing access and learning.
  2. All Faculty teaching online or web enhanced courses for the first time are required to attend training prior to teaching their first session of that class in the accepted LMS used by WNC. The person responsible for Distance Education (DE) will notify the Distance Education Committee and the Academic Director of instructors who have met the training requirements.
  3. All faculty teaching online classes are required to go through the currently established quality assurance faculty training.
  4. Academic Directors will complete LMS training.
  5. The instructor ensures approval and/or copyright permissions and clearance for all multimedia that will be used in their courses.
  6. If an instructor chooses to use a third party vendor, it is his/her responsibility to provide accessibility instructions and login information.
  7. Western Nevada College copyright policy must be followed: http://www.wnc.edu/policy/3-2-8/

Section 3: Course Development

  1. Approval for a new web course must be obtained from the Academic Director.
  2. New courses shall be designed using the self-review rubric, which will be submitted to the academic director.
  3. The instructor ensures approval and/or copyright permissions and clearance for all multimedia that will be used in their courses.
  4. If an instructor chooses to use a third party vendor, it is his/her responsibility to provide accessibility instructions and login information to students. Additionally, the instructor must provide login information to the Department of Instructional Innovation.
  5. Western Nevada College copyright policy must be followed: http://www.wnc.edu/policy/3-2-8/
  6. After being taught twice, the course is eligible to go through the Peer Review process.

Section 4: Course Delivery

  1. All online and web enhanced courses must be delivered in the accepted WNC LMS.
  2. All online classes must be complete with content one week prior to the start of the semester.
  3. All courses will be available by 8:00 AM on the first day of instruction.
  4. Faculty will log into all online classes a minimum of three times weekly, evenly spaced to ensure proper student/instructor interaction.
  5. Faculty will respond to student communications within 48 hours except during weekends and holidays. This will be stated in the syllabus.
  6. Faculty will return graded assignments in a timely manner, consistent with the nature of the assignment and the general guidelines for reviewing the assignments posted in the course.
  7. Exam Proctoring of Online Courses
    1. Exam proctoring for online courses insures equal access for all students.
      1. Students participating in an online course are allowed to complete proctored exams at any instructor-approved proctoring site.
      2. Approved sites may include schools, libraries, colleges and organizations actively engaged in learning and proctoring capability.
      3. Students have the responsibility of procuring an instructor approved proctoring site and communicating this information to the course instructors.
      4. Online course instructors will facilitate the completion of the proctored exam. This could include several process steps.
        1. Contacting the test proctor.
        2. Transmitting the testing materials to the proctoring site.
        3. Informing the testing site of proctoring instructions.
      5. Students will be required to provide proper current photo identification when they attend the proctoring session. Approved forms of ID will consist of: drivers license, state-issued photo ID, military ID, student ID, or passport.
      6. Third party online proctoring is available and can be set up through the course instructor. Students may be assessed an additional fee for this service.
    2. A WNC onsite test proctoring schedule will be published online by the second week of the semester.

Section 5: Online Course Review

  1. WNC is committed to quality online instruction.
    1. After designing a course, instructors will conduct a self-evaluation of their courses based upon the Self-Review Procedure established by the Distance Education Committee.
    2. A minimum of one course per instructor must meet the internally designed rubric, following the Peer Review Procedure, as established by the Distance Education Committee.
    3. The Distance Education Committee will establish a list of instructors, annually, that will need to have one of their online courses reviewed.

Section 6: Faculty Compensation for Online Course Development and Course Sharing

  1. Faculty may be compensated only for courses the Academic Director has requested be developed. Courses compensated must meet the Course Development Guidelines.
  2. Faculty may elect to receive compensation for developing an online course.
  3. Faculty receiving compensation will receive a one instructional unit release or one instructional unit overload per instructional unit (as defined in the Academic Faculty Workload Policy) developed.
  4. Sharing Developed Course
    1. Nothing in this policy reduces the faculty members right to their intellectual property.
    2. If compensated to develop a course, then the institution has the right to use that course with other instructors. However, the faculty who develops the course has the first right of refusal on teaching the course.
    3. If the faculty member was not compensated in developing the course, then the faculty can choose to share a course with a specific person or not.
    4. The institution may offer to buy a developed course from an instructor at a mutually agreed upon rate. The faculty who developed the course has the right to take this course upon departure from the institution.
    5. An instructor using a course developed by another faculty member only has rights to use the course during the semester designated and only at Western Nevada College.

Date(s) Revised May 8, 2018; February 19, 2016; June 19, 2013; Date(s) Reviewed