Principles of Good Practice for Distance Learning Programs & Amberton University’s Philosophy of Distance Learning
Years before the Internet was popular and the term “distance learning” was born, the University provided “conference courses” to the working adult who had responsibilities that prevented predictable scheduling of time. It was a natural and easy move for Amberton University to employ web-based technologies to make online available to those students who have the need, organizational skills, self-discipline, and talent for independent study and research.
Amberton’s distance-learning courses are identical to classroom courses in terms of learning outcomes, and both full-time and part-time professors who teach regular classroom courses also teach online courses. At Amberton University, in terms of competencies, classroom courses and online courses are identical.
Admission to the University, costs, and expectations of performance are the same for all students regardless of the student’s location or course selection. The University requires a certain degree of computer literacy of all students. However, a student choosing to take an online course must have the following skills and technical capabilities:
- Access to the Internet
- An e-mail address
- General knowledge in:
- Internet browser settings and configuration
- E-mail and file attachments
- Uploading and downloading files
- Use of a word processing package
- Ability to conduct on-line research
Principles of Good Practice
All of Amberton’s distance learning degree programs and courses comply with the following “Principles of Good Practice.”
Curriculum and Instruction
- Each program or course of study results in learning appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the degree or certificate awarded.
- A degree or certificate program or course offered electronically is coherent and complete.
- The course or program provides for appropriate interaction between faculty and students and among students.
- Qualified faculty provide appropriate supervision of the program or course that is offered electronically.
- Academic standards for all programs or courses offered electronically are the same as those for other courses or programs delivered at the institution where they originate.
- Student learning in programs or courses delivered electronically is comparable to student learning in programs or courses offered at the campus where they originate.
Institutional Context and Commitment
Role and Mission
- The program or course is consistent with the institution’s role and mission.
- Review and approval processes ensure the appropriateness of the technology being used to meet program or course objectives.
Students and Student Services
- The program or course provides students with clear, complete and timely information on the curriculum, course and degree requirements, nature of faculty/student interaction, prerequisite technology competencies and skills, technical equipment requirements, availability of academic support services, financial aid resources, and costs and payment policies.
- Enrolled students have reasonable and adequate access to student services and resources appropriate to support their learning.
- The University has admission/acceptance criteria to assess whether the student has the background, knowledge and technical skills required for undertaking the course or program.
- Advertising, recruiting and admissions materials clearly and accurately represent the program and the services available.
- The program or course provides faculty support services specifically related to teaching via an electronic system.
- The University ensures appropriate training for faculty who teach using technology.
- The program or course provides faculty with adequate equipment, software and communications for interaction with students, institutions and other faculty.
Resources for Learning
- The program or course ensures that appropriate learning resources are available to students.
- The program or course evaluates the adequacy of access to learning resources and the cost to students for access to those resources. It also documents the use of electronic resources.
Commitment to Support
- Policies for faculty evaluation include appropriate recognition of teaching and scholarly activities related to programs or courses offered electronically.
- The University demonstrates a commitment to ongoing support, both financial and technical, and to the continuation of the program or course for a period sufficient for students to complete a degree or certificate.
Evaluation and Assessment
- The University evaluates program and course effectiveness, including assessments of student learning, student retention, and student and faculty satisfaction.
- At the completion of the program or course, the institution provides for assessment and documentation of student achievement in each course.
- Program or course announcements and electronic catalog entries provide appropriate information.