Principles of Good Practice
Kentucky's Virtual Campus (KYVC) follows its mission of being a student-centered, technology-based system for coordinating the delivery of postsecondary education that meets the needs of citizens and employers across the Commonwealth. KYVC consists of these primary components:
- A clearinghouse for quality distance learning opportunities provided by existing providers both within and outside the state, primarily certificate and degree programs
- Competency-based credentialing
- A single point of access to statewide student, library, and academic support services.
KYVC facilitates and enhances the efforts of Kentucky's postsecondary and other education providers to help students find and enroll in their courses and programs from a distance with the aid of modern electronic communication technologies.
KYVC provides a coordinated statewide method for students to access high quality electronically-delivered courses and programs and high quality student services from one or more providers. Students can access a single course or a complete degree, diploma, or certificate program offered by a provider or collaborating providers.
The KYVC Web site and the KYVC Call Center allow students to obtain information about each KYVC course and program and the standards that the offering providers have pledged to meet. Students interested in enrolling in a course or degree, diploma or certificate program are able to communicate easily through the KYVC with the college, university, or organization offering the course or program.
Students can complete most or all of the work for a single course electronically and may not need to leave their hometowns or local campuses. Meeting degree requirements for complete programs may require some study on the provider's campus, but the aim is to provide as much coursework and advising as possible electronically, so students may remain in their home communities while achieving a high quality degree, diploma or certificate.
The KYVC Principles of Good Practice are drawn from the earlier work of the Southern Regional Electronic Campus (of the SREB), the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), the agreement on distance learning guidelines among regional accreditation associations (per North Central), the American Council on Education (ACE), and others. All colleges and universities offering KYVC courses, programs, and student services will adhere to the Principles of Good Practice.
Purpose and Use of Principles
The Principles of Good Practice identify the expectations and requirements for provider participation in the Kentucky Virtual Campus (KYVC). The quality of the postsecondary coursework offered through the KYVC is of paramount importance. Thus, each provider and faculty member offering an electronically-delivered distance learning course or program and related student services through the KYVC will be asked to comply with these principles.
Offering providers will be responsible for quality control. KYVC will be responsible for effective coordination of all KYVC offerings.
The Principles of Good Practice will serve three purposes:
- Guide the development of electronically-delivered courses, programs, and student services to ensure that they exhibit characteristics of quality teaching and learning;
- Ensure at the provider level that the quality of each course, program, or related student service meets the criteria for nomination to the KYVC; and,
- Provide a standard for reviewing the quality of a program, course, or related student service prior to acceptance by the KYVC.
Several assumptions are central to these Principles:
- Providers offering courses and programs will be accredited by a nationally-recognized accrediting body (regional agencies that accredit providers) and authorized by the Council on Postsecondary Education to offer courses and programs in Kentucky and elsewhere through the KYVC.
- Providers offering courses and programs through the KYVC will satisfy all requirements of Kentucky approval agencies and those of nationally recognized regional/specialized accreditation agencies before students are enrolled in them and provide students with information about possible transfer problem issues.
- A provider's specialty-accredited courses and programs will meet the same or equivalent requirements when offered electronically through the KYVC.
- A "provider" may be a single provider, an interinstitutional partnership, or a consortium of providers.
- These Principles apply generally to credit-bearing courses; degree, diploma, and certificate programs; and student services delivered through the KYVC.
- A provider is responsible for reviewing the educational courses and programs it provides electronically and for ensuring continued compliance with these Principles for all courses, programs and services listed with the KYVC. Listings with the KYVC represent such assurance to the public.
- The KYVC will coordinate participation by providers delivering the offerings.
- All courses and programs offered through the KYVC will be developed, delivered, and assessed using processes that respect student and faculty needs, abilities, and learning processes.
Curriculum and Instruction
Each program or course of study results in learning appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the academic credit, degree, diploma or certificate awarded. A degree, diploma or certificate program, or course offered electronically is coherent and complete.
Review and approval processes ensure that course and program activities are designed to fit the specific context for learning - nature of the subject matter, intended learning outcomes, needs and goals of the learners, the environment in which they live and learn, and instructional technologies and methods.
The course or program provides for appropriate interaction between faculty and students and among students.
Faculty qualified by provider standards provide the appropriate supervision of the electronically-delivered course or program, ensuring the rigor of the course of study, the quality of instruction, and the currency of materials.
Academic standards for all electronically-delivered courses and programs are set by the course/program faculty and are comparable to the same or similar course or program delivered on the campus(es) of the provider(s) originating them.
Student learning in electronically-delivered courses or programs is comparable to student learning in courses or programs offered at the campuses of providers originating them.
Provider, Context & Commitment
Role and Mission
The course or program offering is consistent with the provider's role and mission.
The provider ensures the integrity of student work and the credibility of the degrees and credits it awards.
The provider's distance learning policies are clear and fair concerning ownership of materials, faculty compensation, copyright issues, and utilization of revenue derived from the creation and production of software, telecourses, or other media products used for courses and programs delivered electronically.
Students and Student Services
The program or course provides students with clear, complete and timely information on the curriculum, course and degree objectives and requirements, admission and registration, course schedules, advising, nature of faculty/student interaction, prerequisite technology competencies and skills, technical equipment requirements, availability of academic support services, financial aid resources, and costs and payment policies.
Enrolled students have reasonable access to appropriate student services and resources to support their learning.
The provider maintains and publishes admission/acceptance criteria to assess whether a student has the background, knowledge and technical skills required to undertake the course/program.
Advertising, recruiting and admissions materials clearly and accurately represent the courses, programs and services available.
The provider or the KYVC provides or arranges for reasonable assistance to students who experience difficulty using the required technology.
The provider or the KYVC maintains a process for resolving student complaints and for hearing student appeals through normal provider policies.
The provider and the KYVC provide faculty access to support services specifically related to teaching via an electronic system.
The provider and the KYVC ensure appropriate training for faculty who teach using distance learning technologies.
The provider ensures that faculty have and use appropriate equipment, software, and communications to enable them to interact with students, participating providers, and other faculty for a course or program delivered electronically.
Resources for Learning
The provider and the KYVC ensure that enrolled students and their faculty have access to library and other learning resources appropriate to a course or program delivered electronically.
The provider and the KYVC monitor, document, and assess the use of and costs related to electronic resources in terms of efficiency and appropriateness.
The provider provides access to laboratories, facilities and equipment appropriate to the course or program delivered electronically.
Commitment to Support
Provider policies for faculty evaluation include appropriate recognition of teaching, research, scholarship, and service activities related to courses and programs offered electronically.
The provider demonstrates a commitment to continuous quality improvement and ongoing support, both financial and technical, for courses and programs delivered electronically and offered by the KYVC.
The provider continues a course or program for a period sufficient to assess it effectively, within available resources, and provides reasonable means for students accepted into a program to complete the degree, diploma, or certificate should the electronic offering be curtailed or discontinued.
The provider has a plan and infrastructure (equipment and technical expertise) necessary to support the learning goals and quality delivery of courses and programs it offers electronically.
The provider's long-term planning, budgeting, and policy development procedures reflect the staffing, facilities, equipment, and other resource needs essential to offering a quality array of electronically-delivered courses and programs.
Evaluation and Assessment
The provider, and the KYVC where appropriate, evaluates course and program quality and effectiveness, including assessments of student learning, student retention, and student and faculty satisfaction, and uses its program review policies and adapting procedures to address unique characteristics of electronic delivery.
The provider provides for assessment and documentation of student achievement in each course upon its completion and of each program once a reasonable number of students have completed it.
Program and course announcements and electronic catalog entries provide appropriate, accurate, and timely information.
Postsecondary Education Context and Commitment
The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is responsible for the planning and implementation of the Kentucky Virtual Campus (KYVC) and supports the efforts and initiatives of providers to develop offerings appropriate to their missions and responsive to recognized needs and reasonable demands of communities and prospective students. The CPE, to the extent allowable given its available resources, supplements the providers' ability to accelerate the development of electronic offerings through grants to providers and special projects.
When appropriate, the CPE suggests and promotes inter-institutional collaborations and consortium arrangements that will support provider missions, produce quality program and course opportunities, and promote efficiencies in delivery approaches.
The CPE ensures that the review processes and accountability methods for the KYVC are developed in consultation with the providers and are sufficiently broad and flexible to enable rapid progress and leadership in quality electronically delivered instruction.