Comprehensive Standard 3.13.4a: Reaffirmation of Accreditation and Subsequent Reports
Applicable Policy Statements. An institution includes a review of its distance learning programs in the Compliance Certification.
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s (USF Sarasota-Manatee) distance education program is an alternative mode of delivery that extends the reach of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s credit-bearing programs. The core requirements, comprehensive standards, and federal requirements that apply to the “traditional” methods of delivering USF Sarasota-Manatee’s credit-bearing courses/programs also apply to USF Sarasota-Manatee’s distance education courses. A table of SACSCOC Requirements and Standards Aligned with USF Sarasota-Manatee Distance Education is provided. The first and second columns list the sections of the Reaffirmation report in which USF Sarasota-Manatee reviewed its distance learning programs, and the last column contains a summary of the review.
After developing courses, faculty must obtain approval from the Academic Programs Committee (APC) of the Faculty Senate, the Academic Council, and the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs before the courses can be offered in any delivery mode (See Comprehensive Standard 2.7.2 (Program Content) for more information). Courses are reviewed on a cyclical basis as part of the academic program review process using USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Program Review Guidelines and as part of the annual academic programs assessment process (See Comprehensive Standard 18.104.22.168 (Institutional Effectiveness) for more information).
USF System Policy 10-042 Non-traditional Education Including Online Delivery and Continuing Education, specifically assigns accountability to the academic colleges for ensuring that student learning outcomes and the academic content of distance education courses/programs comply with requirements and procedures that are mandated through the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), and USF System Policies and Procedures, including but not limited to:
- ensuring the comparable assessment of student learning outcomes for traditional and nontraditional courses and programs,
- documenting appropriate qualifications for faculty teaching distance education courses,
- providing regular evaluation of distance education faculty, and
- ensuring distance education faculty members engage in training and professional development that focus on the successful delivery of distance education.
Additionally, Section III.E. of USF System Policy 10-065, Credit Hours, mandates that credit hours awarded to students enrolled in USF Sarasota-Manatee courses meet the Federal definition of a credit hour. The policy also requires that credit hours awarded to distance education courses be awarded on the basis of the following:
- documented student learning outcomes that reflect the amount of academically engaged time for a typical student in a traditional format, and
- documentation of the amount and type of work a typical student is expected to complete within a specified period of academically engaged time.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND EVIDENCE