Distance Education Procedure

AP 4105 – Distance Education Procedure

Below is a list of some Key Points found in Palomar College’s AP 4105 Distance Education Procedure:

Definition of Distance Education

Distance education means instruction in which the instructor and student are separated by time and/or distance and interact through the assistance of technology. An “online” distance education course uses the District-supported Learning Management System with no face-to-face or on-campus requirements. Any distance education course that requires students to attend on-campus orientations, assessments, scheduled class meetings, or other required activities is a “partially online” course.

Authentication of a Student’s Identity

The District must authenticate or verify that the student who registers in a distance education course is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit.

The District shall utilize one or more of these methods to authenticate or verify the students’ identity:

• secure credentialing/login and password;
• proctored examinations; or
• new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Course Approval

Each new or existing course to be provided through distance education shall be reviewed and approved separately. If any portion of the instruction in a course or a course section is designed to be provided through distance education, an addendum to the official course outline of record shall be required.

Course Quality Determinations

Determinations and judgments about the quality of the course offered through distance education are made with the full involvement of the Curriculum Committee.

Instructor to Student Interaction

Any portion of a course through distance education includes instructor-initiated regular substantive interaction between instructor and students either synchronously or asynchronously, through group or individual meetings, orientation and review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, voicemail, e-mail, or other activities.

Student to Student Interaction

Faculty will ensure opportunities for ongoing regular and effective student-to-student contact. Best practices include, but are not limited to, implementing communication means for varied types of interaction in the course design, assigning and monitoring weekly assignments and projects that promote collaboration among students, posing questions in the discussion boards that encourage critical thinking skills and promote interaction, and monitoring student engagement to ensure that students participate with depth.


Accessibility Standards

Distance education courses, materials, and resources must be designed and delivered in such a way that the level of communication and course-taking experience is the same for students with or without disabilities. Distance education resources must generally be designed to provide “built-in” accommodation (i.e. closed captioning, descriptive narration) and/or interface design/content layout, which is accessible to “industry standard” assistive computer technology in common use by persons with disabilities.

There is a list provided of specific Federal Laws and Guidelines but, for practical application, we use the criteria listed in Section D of the OEI Course Design Rubric (Links to an external site.) to meet basic accessibility guidelines.


Faculty Online Certification

Validation of preparedness or certification of faculty to teach online shall be determined in at least one of the following ways:

1. Evidence of successful completion of Faculty Senate-approved distance education pedagogy workshops. (i.e. this POET course)
2. Evidence of coursework, certificates, and/or degrees that focus on online teaching which were completed at other accredited higher education institutions.
3. Evidence of a successful course design and facilitation as demonstrated by alignment with the criteria approved by the Faculty Senate, which is the OEI Course Design Rubric (Links to an external site.)