Assuring Quality Student Learning in Distance Programming
In March of 1997, the Kirkwood Faculty Association and the administration approved a statement of guidelines and principles for the distance programming we offer. We are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and this statement is based on their "Guidelines for Distance Education."

Curriculum and Instruction

  • Distance learning outcomes will equal or surpass face-to-face outcomes.
  • Any degree program offered at a distance in part or in its whole will be coherent and complete.
  • Appropriate student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction (synchronous or asynchronous) will be provided.
  • Full-time faculty will be given the first opportunity to design new credit courses or adapt existing courses for Guided Self-Study (GSS)* or Internet delivery.
  • New or adapted GSS* or Internet course materials developed by persons other than full-time faculty will be sent to the appropriate associate dean for review and comment according to procedures established by the academic department.
  • Whenever possible, participation by faculty in distance courses will be voluntary.
  • State licensure requirements must be adhered to when assigning faculty to teach distance courses.
  • Preference will be given to faculty with teaching experience.

* "Guided Self-Study" is the former name of Distance Learning.

Institutional Context and Commitment

Role and Mission

  • Distance programming is consistent with the mission of the college.
  • The appropriateness of the technology being used is determined by assessment of student learning.

Faculty Support

  • Faculty will receive support in adapting teaching methods, identifying appropriate media, developing assessment tools, designing and posting Web pages (for Internet courses), preparing and distributing printed material, making arrangements for monitoring tests, and obtaining copyright permissions.

Students and Student Services

  • Students will be advised that distance learning requires self-motivation and good time-management skills.
  • Students will be provided with clear, complete, and timely information on the curriculum, course and degree requirements, nature of student/student and faculty/student interaction, assumptions about technical competence and skills, technical equipment requirements, availability of academic support services and financial aid resources, and costs and payment policies.
  • Student support and/or admission requirements will be based on student success data.
  • Enrolled students will have reasonable and adequate access to the range of student services appropriate to support their learning.

Evaluation and Assessment

The institution will evaluate the educational effectiveness of the programming, including assessments of student learning outcomes, student retention, and faculty satisfaction with the mode of delivery. Students have access to such evaluation data.

The NCA statement, "Principles of Good Practice for Electronically Offered Academic Degree and Certificate Programs," was used as a source for this document.