SECTION EBA.1


INSTRUCTION
ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF INSTRUCTION
DISTANCE EDUCATION

Procedure


DEFINITIONS


For the purposes of this procedure, “distance education” means education that uses one or more of the technologies listed below to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously. The technologies may include:

  • the Internet;
  • one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices;
  • audio or video conferencing
  • software applications, media, or instructional content if used in conjunction with any of the above technologies.

STANDARDS AND CRITERIA


With respect to distance education, Navarro College shall:

  1. Comply with the standards and criteria of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  2. Adhere to criteria outlined in Principles of Good Practice for Degree and Certificate Programs and Courses Offered through Distance Education.
  3. Provide students academic support services appropriate for distance education, such as advising, career counseling, library, and other learning resources.
  4. Report enrollments, courses, and graduates associated with distance education offerings as required by the commissioner.

If a non-Texas resident student enrolls in regular, on-campus courses for at least one-half of the normal full-time course load as determined by the institution, the institution may report that student’s fully distance education or hybrid/blended courses for formula-funding enrollments.


OUT OF STATE


Navarro College will not offer distance education classes to students whose primary residence is out of state unless those students are also attending face to face classes on one of the physical campuses of the College District.


DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES


Each course shall be within the role and mission of Navarro College and shall be on its inventory of approved courses.

All courses shall meet the quality standards applicable to on-campus courses.

Navarro College shall report to the Coordinating Board, in accordance with Coordinating Board policy and procedures, all distance education courses and programs.

Students shall satisfy the same requirement for enrollment in an academic credit course as required of on-campus students. The instructor of record shall bear responsibility for the delivery of instruction and for evaluation of student progress.

Prior Coordinating Board approval may be required before Navarro College may offer programs in certain subject area disciplines or under other conditions specified by the Coordinating Board or the commissioner.


DISTANCE EDUCATION FACULTY


Faculty shall be selected and evaluated by equivalent standards, review, and approval procedures used by the institution to select and evaluate faculty responsible for on-campus courses.

The Office of Online Instruction shall coordinate training and support to enhance the added skills required of the faculty teaching courses through electronic means.

Prior to approval for a faculty member to teach a distance education course, the faculty member shall attend a Canvas Training Workshop provided by the Office of Online Instruction and demonstrate competency to the Dean of Online Learning. That certification will be presented to the Academic Council for review and approval before the faculty member is allowed to teach a distance education course.

Faculty who have completed training in the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) at a location other than Navarro College may be permitted to teach online or hybrid courses IF they meet the following conditions:

  1. Professor must provide documentation of having successfully completed Canvas LMS training provided by another educational institution (K-12, Higher Ed, etc.). This documentation can be in the form of certificate, letter, etc. and include a date of completion. A minimum of 3 hours of Canvas instruction is preferred, but not required.
  2. Documentation will be evaluated by the Dean of Online Instruction and (if necessary) the Online Instruction Committee for approval.

The supervising, monitoring, and evaluating processes for faculty shall be equivalent to those for on-campus courses.


INSTITUTIONAL PLAN


Prior to offering any distance education courses or programs for the first time Navarro College; shall submit an Institutional Plan for Distance Education to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for approval. The commissioner shall provide guidelines for development of the report and a schedule for any periodic submission of updated reports.


TECHNICAL SUPPORT


The College provides technical support to ensure that online classes are delivered to students with minimal disruption. Instructors should document technical problems that interfere with instruction and communicate that information to both the Information Technology (IT) Department and the Dean of Online Instruction. Suppliers of third-party applications and software used by the College will also provide technical support to students as necessary.  Whenever possible, routine IT maintenance is completed within a time frame which prevents disruption of the class schedule.

Faculty and student support for issues that are non-technical in nature (such as inability to access Navarro College user accounts or questions regarding use of Navarro College’s online resources) will be provided by the One-Stop Service Desk and the Dean of Online Instruction, if applicable.


EVALUATION 


As stated in the Navarro College Board Policy Manual, Section DH.1: Personnel – Employee Performance, “Navarro College values quality and effective instruction tht leads to student success and the fulfillment of its mission. Therefore, the College regularly evaluates the effectiveness of each faculty member.

Faculty are evaluated annually for the first three years of employment and every threes years thereafter.”

Essentially, faculty who teach Online and/or Hybrid courses will follow the same evaluation process as their traditional, face-to-face counterparts as outlined in Section DH.1: Personnel – Employee Performance of the Navarro College Board Policy Manual.

A) Faculty Performance Appraisal. The Faculty Performance Appraisal Form should be used for all faculty evaluations as it represents a narrative assessment which highlights strengths and opportunities for improvement in the four categories listed above; combined with the following rating system: Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, and Improvement Needed. Faculty are expected to score at the level of Meets Expectations for all categories. The appropriate dead creates and implements a Professional Growth Plan should the faculty member receive more than 4 Needs Improvement in the aggregate or more than 1 Needs Improvement in any of the four appraisal categories.

B) Student End-of-Course Evaluation. As outlined in the Navarro College Board Policy Manual, Section DH.1: Personnel – Employee Performance, students evaluate faculty members every fall and spring semester by completing an electronic Navarro College End-of-Course Evaluation. Faculty members are encouraged to review the student evaluations and to make appropriate adjustments in their classes as a result of student responses.

C) Formal Departmental Course Review. The Office of Online Instruction will schedule a consultation with the Department Chair/Program Coordinator (or designee) to formally examine a sample of the department’s online and hybrid courses. This examination will be part of the Comprehensive Program Review and occur on a three-year cycle.

Results of these evaluations will be used to improve instruction and assure quality.


STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES 


Students enrolled in on-line courses have access to academic support services, including academic advising, counseling, library, and other learning resources, technological access, tutoring, and financial aid. Students enrolled via the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas (DigiTex) program access these services at their “host” campus. Navarro College provides these services to students enrolled through Navarro College in a DigiTex course or an online course provided by the College.


PUBLICITY AND PROMOTION OF ONLINE COURSES 


Online course orientation dates and instructor contact information are published in the printed schedule and posted on the College’s web page. Navarro College courses which are available through DigiTex are also posted onto the DigiTex web site by the Dean of Online Learning.


REQUESTS TO DEVELOP A NEW ONLINE COURSE 


All instructors are encouraged to develop courses and will be given equal consideration. An instructor desiring to create a new on-line course should complete the New Online/Hybrid Course Application form located on the Navarro College MyNC Portal and submit it to his/her Instructional Dean. Based on the needs of the institution and other relevant factors, the Instructional Dean may approve or disapprove the request to develop a new online course. If approved by the Instructional Dean, the application will be forwarded to the Academic Council for review. If approved, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will provide final authorization. Instructors who wish to retain intellectual property rights to their course may do so provided they create the course outside of regular work hours and do not receive institutional funds to develop the course.


APPROVAL TO TEACH ONLINE COURSES AND STUDENT SUPPORT 


A. Technical Competency: Before an instructor is approved to teach an online course, he/she must demonstrate proficiency in technical skills and effective on-line teaching strategies.
B. Online course assignment: The teaching assignments and the number of online course sections needed in any given semester will be determined by centralized scheduling and the Instructional Dean in consultation with the Department Chair/Coordinator.
C. Approval to teach online courses: Instructional Deans will approve assignments to teach online courses based on course quality, faculty load, faculty skill set and other appropriate criteria.

  1. In some cases, courses may be duplicated if enrollment demand warrants it.
  2. All online courses should be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs before being offered.
  3. Unnecessary course duplication should be avoided due to the additional costs to the institution and the additional difficulty it creates associated with ensuring course quality.
  4. To address issues of course quality and instructional evaluation, all student issues and complaints must be referred first to the instructor teaching the course and then follow normal administrative appeal procedures if not resolved.
  5. Instructor technical training in the proficient use of the Learning Management System (LMS) and related technologies will be provided on a regular and ongoing basis for all instructors through the Office of Online Instruction and IDEA Center.
  6. Student technical support will be provided by the One-Stop Service Desk, the Office of Online Instruction, and the IT Department. Suppliers of third-party applications and software used by the College will also provide technical support to students as necessary.

 

REVIEW OF ONLINE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES


The Online Instruction Committee, which is made up of the Dean of Online Instruction, Executive Deans, and Faculty Representatives, will recommend appropriate adjustments, amendments, and/or changes to the Distance Learning Policies and Procedures as necessary on an ongoing basis. The Committee will consult the appropriate departments and/or administration, for approval of any amendments.


FACULTY RESPONSIBILITIES 


All faculty teaching online courses will be evaluated by the same standards, go through the same review process, and follow the same approval procedures that apply to all other instructors. Any instructor teaching a transfer online course must have the credentials established by the College. The instructor of record for an online course is responsible for the delivery of instruction and for evaluation of student performance in the course. Part-time faculty members are eligible to request approval to develop or teach an online course but must comply with the same development guidelines and processes herein


INSTRUCTOR LOAD 


Full-time Instructors may be assigned to a maximum limit of eight (8) courses including online and lecture courses. A full-time teaching load for faculty equals fifteen (15) non-prorated credit hours per fall/spring semester. The 15 hours may be composed of 16-week or 8-week classes. The Vice President for Academic Affairs may make an exception. Part-time faculty may be assigned a maximum limit of three (3) courses per full semester.

A. No individual full-time instructor should be scheduled for an exclusively online load during the fall and spring semesters unless a departmental need arises and the exception is approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
B. Full-time faculty will be scheduled to teach a minimum of a 15-hour course load unless a departmental need arises and the exception is approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or his/her designee.
C. At least nine (9) of the fifteen (15) hours will be taught face/face and the remaining six (6) hours may be online or hybrid courses.
D. Online or hybrid courses taught as part of the fifteen (15) hour load will not receive extra compensation according to the online compensation policy.


COMMUNICATION WITH ONLINE STUDENTS 


Instructors are expected to respond to student communication in a timely manner. Instructors should respond within 24 hours during weekdays.

Instructors should provide several means of communication including e- mail, messages via the LMS (ie. Canvas Inbox), “frequently asked questions” pages in the course site, and phone numbers for student use.

Instructors are not required to publish personal home telephone numbers or cell phone numbers. However, a Navarro College office telephone number with voice message system must be published for all courses. At minimum, part-time instructors must publish the departmental telephone number for students to use in contacting them if necessary.


STUDENT ACCESS TO INSTRUCTORS 


Instructors should be available to students on all days when assignments are due or make clear provisions for a “grace period” for circumstances beyond student control.

Instructors should make provisions for calm, anxiety-free problem resolution when students who are genuinely acting in good faith are unable to complete the assignment on time due to the many things that can cause interference in this instructional delivery method.


HYBRID COURSES 


The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) defines hybrid courses as courses in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent) of the planned instruction occurs when the students and instructor(s) are not in the same place.

Hybrid courses at Navarro College require the same instructional approval process as online courses. Instructional Deans in consultation with Department Chairs must:

  • approve the hybrid course offering,
  • assign individual faculty to initially teach a hybrid course; and
  • verify faculty member has met the mandatory training certification requirement through the Office of Online Instruction prior to the start of the semester.

Thereafter, an approved hybrid course taught by the approved faculty member may be scheduled as needed and at the discretion of instructional administrators on each campus. Navarro College requires all hybrid courses meet the following criteria:

  1. Hybrid courses will be classified as traditional lecture courses for the purpose of faculty compensation and load.
  2. A minimum of 50 percent of the course must be taught online in order to be classified as a hybrid course.
  3. For consistency, all sections of a hybrid course offered within a department will be taught with the same ration of face-to-face instruction versus online instruction regardless of professor. For example, if one section meets 75% online and 25% in the classroom, then all sections of this course must do the same. This proportion may vary from course to course. The Instructional Dean and Department Chair will establish the proportion of online and face-to-face instruction.
  4. Classes must meet during the time, day, and location as scheduled. Days, times, and locations of the face-to-face component will be established by the appropriate Instructional Dean in the consultation with the Department Chair/Program Coordinator.
  5. Enrollment in hybrid courses will be limited by the ordinary enrollment limits for the traditional lecture courses in the respective disciplines.
  6. Hybrid courses will have activity codes of “LEC” or “LAB” in the course schedule but section numbers must end with an “H” designation.

A course which may have mandatory face-to-face sessions totaling no more than 15 percent of the instructional time shall be classified as a fully distance education course and NOT a hybrid course. Examples of face-to-face sessions may include orientation, laboratory, exam review, or an in-person test.


ACADEMIC INTEGRITY 


To ensure the academic integrity of student work, the instructor must take necessary steps to determine that the student is meeting all ethical expectations of college students and is abiding by guidelines regarding academic honesty established by Navarro College.


COURSE CONTENT 


All subject content, testing schedules, course rigor, and other content-related issues will be the responsibility of the instructor and will parallel in-class/on-campus course content, testing, and rigor. All College policies and procedures related to attendance and withdrawal will apply to on-line classes.


ENROLLMENT 


All subject content, testing schedules, course rigor, and other content-related issues will be the responsibility of the instructor and will parallel in-class/on-campus course content, testing, and rigor. All College policies and procedures related to attendance and withdrawal will apply to on-line classes.

Students desiring to enroll in an online course must satisfy the same requirements as all students for admission to the institution, to the program of which the course is a part, and to the class/section itself. Before enrolling in an online class, students must make formal application to Navarro College and satisfy all admission requirements. Currently enrolled high school students may have additional admission requirements from their ISD, but in no manner may the enrollment requirement be less than those required by Navarro College. All admission requirements are the same, regardless of the method of course delivery.
Admission to Navarro College does not automatically admit the student to specific programs or courses. Individual course prerequisites must be met, and all Texas Success Initiative requirements must be satisfied before a student is admitted to a class that might require established proficiency in related skills.


STUDENT GRIEVANCES 


Students enrolled in online courses have access to the same student grievance procedures as on-campus students. All online student complaints will be addressed in accordance with formal procedures published online in the Navarro College Student Handbook and/or College Catalog.


TESTING 


Departments will determine which courses require proctored testing. A notation must be made in Colleague to inform students of the proctored exam requirement for each course. Exams will be proctored at the College Testing Centers and/or other approved locations at the instructor’s discretion.

In instances where tests require a proctor, students will be responsible for making necessary arrangements with the Testing Center locations on the Corsicana, Waxahachie, Midlothian, and Mexia campuses. Students who are unable to access a campus site for testing because of distance or other extreme circumstances must procure an instructor-approved testing location prior to the test deadline. Additional fees incurred by the student may be required when testing at a non-Navarro College testing location.


EQUIPMENT 


Computers for online courses are available in open labs on the Corsicana, Waxahachie, Midlothian and Mexia campuses and may be used by online students when available. However, online students must obtain access to computers and appropriate software from non-College sources when open labs are not available.


COMPENSATION 


Compensation for online courses will include the part-time/adjunct faculty rate for the first 30 students based on enrollment reflected on the 5th day day of the term for 16 and 12-week semesters, and on the 2nd day of the term for 8-week, 6-week and mini-mesters. An overload payment will be provided for each student over 30. The amount of overload payment will be based upon compensation rates as determined by the institution.

Online instruction classes will typically not exceed 40 students, though some departments may cap enrollment at a number less than 40. The Vice President for Academic Affairs may make an exception for online course capacity, on a course by course basis.


FORMULA FINDING


Navarro College shall report distance education courses submitted for formula funding in accordance with the Coordinating Board’s uniform reporting system and the provision of 19 Administrative Code Chapter 4, Subchapter P.


FEES 


For courses not submitted for formula funding, Navarro College shall charge fees that are equal or greater than Texas resident tuition and applicable fees and that are sufficient to cover the total cost of instruction and overhead, including administrative costs, benefits, computers and equipment, and other related costs.


Date Issued: January 22, 2015

Updated: July 25, 2017, August 13, 2019