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Comprehensive Standard 3.13
Policy Compliance

17. The institution complies with the policies of the Commission on Colleges.

3.13 C. Reaffirmation of Accreditation and Subsequent Reports

Applicable Policy Statement. An institution includes a review of its distance learning programs in the Compliance Certification and in its Fifth-Year Compliance Certification.

Documentation: In order to be in compliance with this policy, the institution must have incorporated an assessment of its compliance with standards that apply to its distance and correspondence education programs and courses.

Judgment of Compliance:

Compliance

Narrative/Justification for Judgment of Compliance:

Florida Gateway College (FGC) has included an assessment of its distance learning programs in the Fifth-Year Compliance Certification. Distance education at FGC is limited to online and hybrid learning. The college does not offer correspondence education programs.

The college offers internet and hybrid course sections within most programs and disciplines. Coordinators and department/program instructors review their assigned curriculum on a regular basis. Distance learning courses are part of the faculty member’s work load each semester and are included in the reviews. Instructors are qualified to review curriculum and make recommendations for all course delivery methods.

Courses are maintained in the Blackboard learning management system and follow a basic instructional design based on a rubric [1]. The director of distance learning and the part time instructional designer oversee distance learning offerings and offer assistance to students and faculty. Distance Learning Guidelines [2] are posted on the college website. Faculty teaching online courses complete an institutional developed certification course to improve online teaching methods [3].

FGC reviews degree and certificate programs as part of its ongoing institutional effectiveness process which includes comprehensive program review [4]. The review process is applied equally for all course delivery methods. The college addresses distance learning in narratives throughout the Fifth Year Compliance Certification report where applicable, specifically CR 2.8, CR 2.10, CS 3.3.1.1, CS 3.4.11, CS 3.11.3 and FR 4.2 – 4.9. Below is a synopsis of each compliance narrative within the report.


CR 2.8 Number of Full Time Faculty

The college offers internet and hybrid course sections within most programs and disciplines. Distance learning courses are part of the faculty member’s work load each semester. Distance learning courses are considered when making decisions about the adequacy of the number of full time faculty.


CR 2.10 Student Support Services

Distance learning students have access to student support services and information from the college website and through the college’s course learning management system.

Registrar

Distance learning students can access registration services and information through the online self-service portal, MyFGC, available on the college’s website. Registration information and services are also available from the registrar’s webpage.

Advising Services

Distance learning students can access advising services and information, including pre-admission advising, career-related services, academic and transfer advising, registration assistance, and help developing an educational plan, through the advising services webpage. Academic advisors are available to assist distance learning students by telephone, e-mail and webcam conferencing as needed.

Collegewide Learning Lab

Distance learning students can access services and information provided by the collegewide learning lab through the college website. Students can access tutoring services through the college’s course learning management system. Tutoring services are available through Blackboard Collaborate™ and NetTutor.

Distance Learning Support

Distance learning students can access services and information through the college’s website and distance learning webpage. The director of research and institutional effectiveness/distance learning and the instructor/instructional designer provide additional and support for students and faculty.


CS 3.3.1.1 Institutional Effectiveness

Learning outcomes are identified and assessed using the same process for all course delivery methods. Data collected from assessment is evaluated and used to make decisions that drive institutional improvement. Assessment of distance learning courses is included in decision making.

CS 3.4.11 Qualified Program Coordinators

Coordinators and department/program instructors review their assigned curriculum on a regular basis. Distance learning courses are part of the faculty member’s work load each semester and are included in the review. Instructors are qualified to review curriculum and make recommendations for all course delivery methods. Instructors teaching online or hybrid courses are required to complete the FGC faculty certification course delivered through Blackboard.

CS 3.11.3 Physical Facilities
Facilities

Routine and preventative maintenance is performed on a regular basis on all college facilities, including off campus site. Off campus sites are also included in all facilities planning and maintenance activities.

Technological Infrastructure

The technological infrastructure is sufficient for the needs of the institution, including off campus sites. Wireless internet service is provided to serve all FGC students. The college maintains and upgrades the infrastructure as necessary.

4.2 Program Curriculum

Curriculum development and revision for online and traditional courses is identical.

4.3 Publication of Policies

College policies are published in the academic calendar, Student Handbook, and College Catalog and available to all students through the college website. Publications in hard copy and CD formats can be distributed by various means on request.

4.4 Program Length

Distance learning courses are incorporated within degree programs and are considered when determining the appropriate program length. Program length is the same whether courses are completed online or in a traditional on campus setting.

4.5 Student Complaints

Complaints from distance learning and on campus students are documented and maintained using the same procedure. Distance learning students can access all complaint policies and procedures through the college website. Information for distance learning students wishing to file complaints with the state agency in the state which they reside is also available.

4.6 Recruitment Materials

Recruitment materials are published on the college website and through various media outlets, including brochures and flyers; newspaper advertising, billboards and radio; video; and digital and social media. Distance learning students have access to recruitment materials through the various outlets

4.7 Title IV Compliance

FGC disseminates financial aid and consumer information to all students and the public through the college website, student handbook, and the college catalog.

3.10.2 Financial Aid Audits

The annual financial aid audits include funds disbursed to all students including distance learning students. There have been no questioned costs and no improvement recommendations which would impact distance learning.

4.8 Distance Education
4.8.1 Verifying Identity

Florida Gateway College (FGC) verifies the identity of all students who register for a distance education course by enforcing the student’s use of a secure login and Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password.

4.8.2 Student Privacy

Florida Gateway College (FGC) has a written procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in distance and correspondence education courses or programs.

4.8.3 Additional Charges

Florida Gateway College (FGC) publishes the current fee schedule, which is approved annually by the District Board of Trustees (DBOT). The college has no projected additional student charges associated with verification of student identity.

4.9 Definition of Credit Hour

DBOT Policy 6Hx12:04-17, Postsecondary Credit Definition, defines credit hours awarded for courses and programs based on Florida Administrative Code Rule (FAC) 6A-10.033. The same state mandated standards apply to upper and lower division courses regardless of mode of delivery. The college adheres to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Credit Hour Policy.

[1] Evaluation Rubric for Distance Learning
[2] Distance Learning Guidelines
[3] Faculty Certification Course
[4] Comprehensive Program Review Sample
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Page Last Updated: July 13, 2015