What Legal Basis Supports Distance Learning

As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, some accrediting and state licensing agencies are beginning to recognize the opportunities of distance learning and allow for the delivery of parts of programs through remote modalities. We will continue to rely on state accrediting agencies and regulatory bodies to determine when and if distance learning opportunities meet students` education and training needs in specific fields. Comments: Many commenters asked the Department to maintain the regulatory language agreed upon by consensus with non-federal negotiators for regular and substantive interaction and the requirements for trainers in distance education programs. Several commentators noted that the consensus agreement on the proposed definition of “distance learning” reflected a much-discussed compromise among negotiators. The topic list contains a list of index terms (topic list) for each CFR exhibit number cited in the document title. The terms form a common vocabulary for indexing all organizations` regulatory documents and form the basis of the “CFR” created by the CAO. Two commenters explicitly argued that the Department should include paragraph 600.2(2)(iv), “participation in an interactive tutorial, webinar or other computer-assisted interactive instruction” in the definition. Commenters stated that they believe this inclusion will help clarify the role of adaptive learning and other technologies in the delivery of academic engagement. Discussion: While we agree that it should be possible for a student to earn hours by participating in asynchronous online learning activities, we disagree that an institution can measure these hours without monitoring a student`s actual participation in these activities.

An hour is a period of 50 to 60 minutes over a 60-minute period devoted to receiving lessons or actively participating in a particular educational activity, and institutions are responsible for measuring the amount of time students spend on these activities. The ministry has never allowed institutions to allocate hourly hours based on estimates of work performed, and it does not intend to do so for remote scheduling programs. We also disagree with the commentator that the technology necessary for this surveillance does not exist or cannot be obtained by institutions and students. The department witnessed demonstrations of this technology from institutions offering curricula and was convinced that the technology was both practical and suitable for use in monitoring asynchronous clock times. Discussion: We welcome general support for our proposal to expand the definition of “credit time” to focus on student learning rather than sitting time, and to be flexible enough to accommodate innovations in delivery models used by institutions. Even among commentators, whose support was tempered by reservations about the proposed definition of an “hour of credit” that either stuck too closely to the current definition or expanded it too much, there was strong agreement that no changes should be made to the consensus language of the NPRM. Comments: One commenter urged the Ministry to be flexible in institutions offering distance learning programs, whether taught in synchronous or asynchronous learning environments, so that, when monitoring schedules, institutions have the option of allocating hours based on student assignments, provided there is good communication between teacher and students. The commenter mentioned that the flexibility to monitor instructors providing relevant duties equal to the number of hours a student is enrolled in would be appropriate, as the quality of the educational program has been reviewed and monitored by the school`s accrediting body.

Comments: Several commenters opposed the final regulations, expressing concern that they would weaken existing regulatory requirements for distance learning programs. Other commentators rejected the final regulations because they were concerned about the potential negative impact on colleges, universities and learning environments for all students. One commentator suggested that the cumulative effect of the proposed rule would allow for radical and unnecessary changes in the name of efficiency and innovation, while sacrificing learning and student protection, which would cause more harm to students and taxpayers. Many of these commentators expressed similar concerns that the proposed changes would expose students and taxpayer-funded federal assistance to undue risk. Concerned that the proposed definition of “credit hour” does not sufficiently take into account credits transferred, one commenter suggested changes to the text of the amendment in the NPRM that would change the characterization of an hour of credit as “a lot of student work” to “work of a student with average but reasonable preparation.” “and the recognition and consideration of the importance and widespread use of inter-institutional credit transfers. The commentator also suggested that the Department address a perceived gap between the career expectations of students taking courses on campus and those offered by distance education. The commenter proposed to establish the equivalent workload in accordance with paragraph (1)(i) of the definition of “credit hour” for other academic activities, as determined by the institution, with requirements for on-campus work and online monitoring of student work being consistent across institution and course. Discussion: We agree that it is important that the regulations clearly distinguish between the definitions of “distance learning” and “distance learning” and believe that the proposed definitions achieve this objective. While the definition of a distance learning course limits the interaction between students and teachers in such a course as “limited.

Not regular and substantial, and. The definition of distance learning requires regular and substantive interaction between students and teachers and clearly explains the requirements of each component of this definition. We also agree on the importance of sticking to the language agreed upon by the members of the subcommittee and the committee as a whole, who were able to reach agreement on the definition of the term despite the strong initial differences of opinion on this issue. We agree with commentators who have emphasized the importance of regular and substantive interaction between students and faculty, particularly for students who are not adequately prepared, and believe that the requirements for such interaction expressed in the definition strike the right balance between ensuring interaction with qualified faculty and institutional flexibility. Programs that use innovative, student-centered teaching techniques. One commenter suggested that as a category under “school engagement,” the ministry includes instruction through computer-based adaptive instruction that modifies each student`s learning experience based on their needs. Another commenter asked the ministry to clarify that interaction with the instructor does not have to be exclusively with a human instructor. The Act lists twelve permitted uses of K-12 money. For example, the CARES Act provides ways to bridge the digital divide. This ensures that students from remote areas or disadvantaged communities can follow distance learning during the lockdown. However, it is not enough for students to have access to distance learning. Students must have access to safe distance learning, regardless of their economic situation.

As cases continue to rise and the virus is expected to recover in the fall, schools must provide shelter for students who are learning at home and in the classroom on their computers.