Recommendations on Distance Learning

Resolution Number: 
Assigned to : 
Distance Learning

Resolved that the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges adopt the following recommendations on the expansion of distance learning instruction in the California Community Colleges:
RECOMMENDATION #1- IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES: Establish a community college task force to design, implement, and evaluate pilot projects in distance learning over a four-year period. Modify current regulations to allow policies and practices governed by the recommendations which follow. Include representatives from appropriate consultation groups on the Task Force. RECOMMENDATION #2- ACCESS: Removing Barriers: Innovative methods of removing barriers to access which are created when courses are offered solely by cable and/or telephonic transmission, should be part of the pilot project proposals so that all students have access to distance learning. Outcome measures used to evaluate the pilot projects should be analyzed by age and motivation as well as by comprehensive demographic measures. Where possible, outcome measures should also be applied to other sections of the same course taught by traditional means. RECOMMENDATION #3- ACCESS: Reaching New Students Pilot project accountability measures should include the proportion of distance learning students who would not or could not have come to campus. Proposal approval criteria should require strategies to reach new students such as those who are geographically remote or have not considered college an option previously. RECOMMENDATION #4- FACULTY SELECTION, TRAINING, AND INPUT: Faculty who are not trained in distance learning methodology must be provided such training and compensated for their training time. Project proposals must include adequate instructional design assistance. State funding should be provided to hold an annual Higher Education Distance Learning Institute. The pilot project results should be published and discussed widely. RECOMMENDATION #5- PERSONAL STUDENT/FACULTY CONTACT: Personal student/faculty contact must be a required component of all pilot proposals. Computer assisted instruction should supply quality individualized interactive responses. RECOMMENDATION #6- ACADEMIC STANDARDS: Colleges must demonstrate that courses with distance learning components adequately cover all topics in the existing course outline. All such courses will continue to require extensive reading, writing, and critical thinking. Distance learning must be evaluated in program review. Outcome measures and accountability standards should be included as described in these recommendations. The Curriculum Standards Handbook should include a section on academic standards for distance learning courses. An intersegmental task force should be convened to set standards for approval of distance learning courses for transfer and to address intersegmental cooperation in the offering of such courses.
RECOMMENDATION #7- COURSE APPROVAL: Courses with distance learning components should be developed and approved using accepted college curriculum procedures beginning with discipline faculty and followed by review and approval by local curriculum committees, academic senates, and boards of trustees. Distance learning methods as well as traditional modes should appear on the course outline of record. Courses in distance learning format which are significantly different in content from traditional courses should be approved and articulated as separate courses.
RECOMMENDATION #8- COURSE SIZE: Since increases in course size and other faculty workload issues have quality implications and are negotiable issues in districts with collective bargaining, this is an area where academic senates and unions must work together to represent faculty interests. Quality instruction in larger classes can be assured only if these recommendations are followed.
RECOMMENDATION #9- SUPPORT SERVICES: Adequate support services must be provided to students who cannot come on campus. Such services include all matriculation componen