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GRCC Distance Learning Standards

Quality Standard 


A. Seven Principles of Good Practice

1. Encourages Student & Faculty Contact

  • Faculty respectfully responds to personal e-mail within 24 hours.
  • Faculty creates multiple forums for communication with students.
  • Faculty is available and informs students of availability.

2. Encourages Cooperation Among Students

  • Faculty uses online communications tools to create study groups, collaborative learning, and group problem solving.
  • Faculty creates opportunity for class discussion of assignments and concepts through discussion threads.

3. Encourages Active Learning

  • Faculty effectively uses real-time chat tools.
  • Faculty designs lessons that use simulation, hands-on events or research.

4. Gives Prompt Feedback

  • Faculty uses e-mail (or other methods that ensure privacy) to give students prompt, constructive and meaningful feedback.
  • Faculty regularly monitors the online classroom to ensure student concerns are addressed.

5. Emphasizes Time on Task

  • Faculty allocates appropriate amount of time to complete online modules.
  • Faculty points students towards available resources.
  • Faculty designs the online course in a way that allows for flexibility in students¿ time.

6. Communicates High Expectations

  • Faculty uses criteria for evaluating products and performances that are clearly articulated or even generated collaboratively with students.
  • Faculty illustrates the standard with some samples of excellent, average, mediocre, and faulty work.

7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning

  • Faculty recognizes different methods of learning through powerful visuals and well-organized print; through direct, vicarious, and virtual experiences; and through tasks requiring analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, with applications to real-life situations.
  • Faculty encourages self-reflection and self-evaluation.
  • Faculty assesses student learning styles and tailors the online experience.
  • Faculty drives collaboration and group problem solving.

B. NCA Guidelines for Distance Education 


1. Curriculum and Instruction

  • Programs provide for timely and appropriate interaction between students and faculty, and among students.
  • The institution's faculty assumes responsibility for and exercises oversight over distance education, ensuring both the rigor of programs and the quality of instruction.
  • The institution ensures that the technology used is appropriate to the nature and objectives of the programs.
  • The institution ensures the currency of materials, programs, and courses.
  • The institution's distance education policies are clear concerning ownership of materials, faculty compensation, copyright issues, and the utilization of revenue derived from the creation and production of software, telecourses, or other media products.
  • The institution provides appropriate faculty support services specifically related to distance education.
  • The institution provides appropriate training for faculty who teach in distance education programs.

2. Evaluation and Assessment

  • The institution assesses student capability to succeed in distance education programs and applies this information to admission and recruiting policies and decisions.
  • The institution evaluates the educational effectiveness of its distance education programs (including assessments of student learning outcomes, student retention, and student satisfaction) to ensure comparability to campus-based programs.
  • · The institution ensures the integrity of student work and the credibility of the degrees and credits it awards.

3. Library and Learning Resources

  • The institution ensures that students have access to and can effectively use appropriate library resources.
  • The institution monitors whether students make appropriate use of learning resources
  • The institution provides laboratories, facilities, and equipment appropriate to the courses or programs.

4. Student Services

  • The institution provides adequate access to the range of student services appropriate to support the programs, including admissions, financial aid, academic advising, delivery of course materials, and placement and counseling.
  • The institution provides an adequate means for resolving student complaints.
  • The institution provides to students advertising, recruiting, and admissions information that adequately and accurately represents the programs, requirements, and services available.
  • The institution ensures that students admitted possess the knowledge and equipment necessary to use the technology employed in the program, and provides aid to students who are experiencing difficulty using the required technology.

5. Facilities and Finances

  • The institution possesses the equipment and technical expertise required for distance education.
  • The institution's long range planning, budgeting, and policy development processes reflect the facilities, staffing, equipment and other resources essential to the viability and effectiveness of the distance education program.