Per the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 34, Subtitle B, Chapter VI, Part 600 Institutional Eligibility Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as Amended):
Distance education means education that uses one or more of the technologies listed in paragraphs (1) through (4) [below] of this definition to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously* or asynchronously.**
The technologies may include:
- The internet;
- One-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite or wireless communications devices;
- Audio conferencing; or
- Video cassettes, DVDs and CD-ROMs, if the cassettes, DVDs or CD-ROMs are used in a course in conjunction with any of the technologies listed in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this definition.
* Synchronous is direct communication, where all participants in the communication are present at the same time. Examples include a telephone conversation, a virtual classroom, online chat session and instant messaging.
** Asynchronous communication allows participants to engage in the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants’ involvement at the same time. Examples include e-mail, discussion boards, blogs and text messaging over cell phones.
A course designated as distance education is a classroom-type course (i.e., the course is not an internship or individual investigation as two examples) whereby the instructor and students are separated by location and/or time, but are able to communicate through the use of technology such as videoconferencing and the Internet. The exchange between instructor and students may be synchronous or asynchronous and may be a hybrid delivery, whereby a specific percentage of in-class activities are required. Regular and substantive interaction between the instructor and students must occur.
Credit hours for a distance-education course are determined as the equivalent amount of instruction and student effort leading to equivalent learning outcomes as required for the on-campus instructional delivery as defined on Schedule Type Definitions.
The delivery modes for distance-education course sections at Kent State are the following:
- Web-based courses are taught via the Internet, and courses can be either asynchronous or synchronous. Content is presented in multiple formats, which may include text, recorded or live-streaming audio or video; and interactive presentations. Communication tools include live chats, discussion groups and e-mail. Some web-based courses have hybrid online/on-ground delivery and may require students to come to campus for several class sessions. In Banner, the following codes define a web-based course section:
V1: Course is 100 percent online, requiring no face-to-face or online live sessions (asynchronous).
V2: Course is 100 percent online, with one or more concurring online live sessions (synchronous).
V3: Course is a blend of substantial online sessions (asynchronous or synchronous) and one or more required face-to-face meetings.
- Room-based video conferencing (e.g., Polycom, VTEL) is a traditional distance learning system where students see class materials, their instructor and fellow students on large television monitors in the front of the classroom; they speak to the instructor and fellow students from a microphone at their seat. Video conferencing allows classes to be delivered to/from any campus.
- PC-based conferencing (e.g., iLinc) has each student and the instructor sitting at individual computers and talking to each other live (synchronously). It may be video and audio or solely audio. Classes are live and interactive, so class hours are much like a classroom-based class; however, the students and instructor are not all in one place.
The correct coding of online courses is required for federal and state reporting, correct bursar billing of tuition and fees, accreditation, international student tracking and veteran’s services benefits processing.
NOTE: Institutions must distinguish its distance and correspondence education courses using the federal definition below. The key distinction between distance and correspondence education is whether the courses are self-paced and the interaction with faculty is student-initiated. Courses of this nature are correspondence education regardless of whether they are delivered electronically or through any other mechanism. Kent State has NOT received approval by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission to offer correspondence education courses.
“Correspondence Education: Courses in which the institution provides instructional materials and examinations by mail or electronic transmission to students who are separated from the instruction. Interaction between the instructor and the student is not regular and substantive, and it is primarily initiated by the student. Correspondence courses are typically self-paced. Correspondence education is not distance education.” Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education