Coordination of Distance Education in A&S
Relation to Mission
Distance education should be developed in relation to the teaching mission of the College. Offerings, whether courses or degree programs, should be chosen and evaluated for their contribution to that mission, in which our primary responsibility is to the citizens of the Commonwealth and, in particular, to the urban population of the Louisville metropolitan area. Currently, the College has too few faculty members to provide enough coursework to meet demand. "Availability of classes" is the Deyta Survey item on which we receive the lowest marks. Distance education should be explored for its potential to increase the availability of high-quality instruction that is not time-bound. The College should therefore foster development of the following kinds:
Rotations of courses that will enable students to complete degree programs even if they cannot attend classes during the day. Patterns of registration, course completion, and graduation should be monitored to determine if this form of distance education does indeed improve retention and graduation.
Courses for which there is a demonstrated pattern of "Unmet Demand," as documented by the Registrar's reports.
Degree programs and courses that are unique in the region or for which there is demand from a population that cannot complete the degree on campus.
Instructional Quality and Integrity
Departments offering the distance education courses and/or degree programs will be responsible for ensuring that they provide an educational experience as good as or better than their face-to-face equivalents. It is to be expected that the medium will enhance some aspects of the learning experience but make it more difficult to achieve other learning goals. It must be demonstrable, however, that students learning through distance education have acquired the same skills and knowledge as students acquire through on-campus classes. Departmental procedures for evaluating teaching must be applied or adapted to distance education classes. Likewise, faculty are responsible for ensuring the integrity of the grading process, just as they are in on-campus courses.
Resources for Providing Distance Education
Because it is a goal of the College to use distance education as a means to provide additional classes, faculty should be encouraged to teach such courses on an overload basis. Chairs may, however, with the permission of the dean, assign faculty to teach distance education courses as part of their regular teaching load, as long as the department does not reduce the number of courses taught on campus by full-time faculty or the total enrollments available to students in campus courses. Compensation should be sufficient to motivate faculty to develop and to continue to teach distance education courses. Chairs have discretion in determining faculty pay for distance education courses, but the pay should not exceed $5000 per course or 10% of the faculty member's base salary, whichever number is larger. Faculty will be limited to teaching one such overload course in each semester of the academic year and two in the summer. Departments are responsible for determining that a course has sufficient enrollment to pay its costs. Initially, the College may have to "front" the overload salaries, but the costs will be deducted from the income received.
Income from Distance Education
At present, 45% of the income from distance education is returned to the department and 5% returned to the College. Departments are accountable to the College for the income they receive from distance education. An annual report will be due to the dean at the end of each academic year, indicating how revenue from distance education was expended.
It is the responsibility of the College to oversee the offering of distance education courses and degree programs and to evaluate their contribution to the teaching mission. The following are some of the specific areas of oversight:
Ensure that schedules are balanced among departments whose offerings might "compete" for enrollment
Foster development of courses that improve progress toward graduation
Approve processes of oversight for expenditure of income
Ensure appropriate compensation for faculty across departments