Since the time that the first fully online course was taught in the California Community Colleges more than twenty years ago, the educational landscape has changed dramatically. What was once considered distance education—one-on-one correspondence that utilized pen, paper, and the post office as the sole channel of communication between pupil and teacher, limited in content, desultory, and educationally disparaged—has evolved to enable students to engage their instructors and their fellow students through interactive online environments in which content is delivered to the student through varied means. The development of this technology, combined with the andragogy that has advanced alongside it, has led to the creation of courses that can rival, and in some cases perhaps even surpass, an in-person classroom in terms of positive student experience, rigor, and efficacy. In short, distance education has evolved from correspondence courses to a legitimate instructional modality in the form of online education.
The purpose of this paper is to address the need for guidance on professional standards for educational practices in online education. Since 1995, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) has provided leadership in the introduction and successful implementation of distance education. During this time, the ASCCC has played a leading role in shaping policies and procedures for distance and online education in order to ensure that students are receiving the most effective educational experience possible. At the Spring 2016 Plenary Session, the delegates adopted Resolution 11.01 (S16) calling for an update of the ASCCC paper on best practices for online education