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AA/PPS 02.01.20 - Academic Courses: Study Abroad, Study-in-America and Off-Campus Courses

Academic Courses: Study Abroad, Study-in-America and Off-Campus Courses

AA/PPS No. 02.01.20 (2.03)
Issue No. 2
Effective Date: 2/28/2018
Next Review Date: 12/01/2019 (ONY)
Sr. Reviewer: Director, Distance and Extended Learning

  1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    1. Texas State University is committed to maintaining a well-designed and effective process for developing and implementing academic courses and programs, regardless of instructional location. This process is guided by policies and procedures found in AA/PPS No. 02.01.01, Academic Credit Courses: Additions, Changes, and Deletions, and AA/PPS No. 02.01.10, Academic Programs: Additions, Changes, and Deletions. The purpose of this document is to provide definitions, expectations, and support for the development of courses and programs to be delivered via off-campus education.

    2. Faculty members have primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum as implemented in a variety of instructional modalities and locations. In conjunction with faculty, academic program coordinators, department chairs, school directors and college deans, the Division of Academic Affairs is responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of off-campus education at the university, maintaining compliance with federal, state, institutional policies and regulations related to off-campus education, identifying new off-campus education opportunities, ensuring the health and safety of students, and coordinating with units to ensure quality and continuous improvement.

    3. This policy conforms to the rules and regulations of The Texas State University System Board of Regents (BOR), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Off-campus courses and programs are subject to the rules and approval processes implemented by these organizations.

    4. Courses subject to this policy include the following:

      1. courses whereby the student receives more than one-half of the instruction outside Texas but in the United States, which are deemed Study-in-America courses;

      2. courses whereby the student receives more than one-half of the instruction outside the United States, which are deemed Study Abroad courses; and

      3. courses whereby the student receives more than one-half of the instruction within Texas but away from the main campus, which are deemed off-campus courses.

    5. The Office of Distance and Extended Learning (ODEL) is the administrative unit charged with oversight of non-study-abroad extension courses including study-in-America and off-campus activities.

    6. The Study Abroad Office (SAO) is the administrative unit charged with oversight of Study-Abroad activities.

    7. Oversight entails ensuring that the activities and responsibilities described in Section 03. are carried out within the scope of the university’s mission, vision, and strategy using resources effectively and efficiently while establishing processes and procedures that ensure quality and continuous improvement.

  2. DEFINITIONS

    1. Academic Program Coordinator – for each major within a degree program, the academically-qualified faculty member responsible for ensuring that each program contains essential curricular components, has appropriate content and pedagogy, and maintains currency in the field.

    2. Extension Course – academic credit course delivered face-to-face or by distance education, including correspondence, whose semester credit hours are not submitted for formula funding. Face-to-face, academic credit extension courses may be delivered on-campus or off-campus.

    3. Faculty Member – an instructor of record with the responsibility for teaching a particular academic course, regardless of that person’s academic rank (e.g., associate professor, senior lecturer, graduate teaching assistant, or lab assistant).

    4. Formula Funding – the method used to allocate appropriated sources of funds among institutions of higher education.

    5. Formula-funded Course – an academic credit course delivered face-to-face or by distance education, including correspondence, whose semester credit hours are submitted for formula funding.

    6. Main Campus – the primary campus or campuses of an institution of higher education supplying instruction and supported on-site administration. The San Marcos campus is the main campus of Texas State University.

    7. Off-campus – generally indicates a class or student that is located physically away from the main campus.

    8. Off-campus Course – course in which a majority (more than 50 percent) of the instruction is delivered with the instructor and student in the same physical location away from the main campus. The course may receive formula funding or may be self-supporting.

    9. Off-campus Education – the formal educational process that occurs when students and faculty members are located physically apart from the main campus of the university. In Texas, off-campus education units include teaching sites, higher education centers, university system centers, multi-institutional teaching centers, regional academic health centers, branch campuses, and all other off-campus educational endeavors.

    10. Off-campus Program – an academic program in which a student may complete a majority (more than 50 percent) of the credit hours required for the program through off-campus education courses.

    11. Self-Supporting Courses and Programs – academic credit courses and programs (additionally defined as extension courses or programs) whose semester credit hours are not submitted for formula funding.

    12. Study Abroad Course – academic credit course where instruction is delivered outside the United States, primarily to regular on-campus students.

    13. Study-in-America Course – academic credit course where instruction is delivered outside Texas but within the United States, primarily to regular on-campus students.

  3. Institutional Context and Commitment

    1. Off-campus education courses and programs are developed within the context of the university’s mission, goals, shared values, and university plan.

    2. Off-campus education at Texas State is guided by the following policies and best practices:

      1. SACSCOC policy statement for Substantive Change; and

      2. THECB policy Approval of Distance Education, including Off-Campus Courses and Programs.

    3. Texas State has written procedures for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in off-campus courses or programs, including UPPS No. 01.04.31, Access to Student Records Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

    4. Texas State provides support services appropriate for off-campus learners, such as academic advising, career counseling, library and other learning resources, tutoring and financial aid.

    5. Texas State offers services and takes appropriate measures to mitigate health and safety risks associated with off-campus education and travel, including provisions of UPPS No. 05.06.03, Student Travel.

    6. Advertising, recruiting, and admissions information adequately and accurately represent the off-campus education programs, requirements, and services available to Texas State students. Advertising and marketing for off-campus education emphasizes the instructional nature of the course and program.

    7. Texas State is responsible for providing faculty, staff, services, and technological infrastructure to support off-campus education.

    8. Texas State provides accurate enrollment figures for off-campus education courses and programs as required by the THECB and SACSCOC.

    9. Texas State implements AA/PPS No. 02.03.10, Instructional Contact Time and Academic Credit to ensure that a credit hour associated with an off-campus education course represents the equivalent amount of student work and instructional time as a credit hour in any other modality or location. Expectations for a credit hour remain the same regardless of instruction mode:

      1. For Off-campus Education Faculty – Time spent in direct instruction via learning activities, lectures and lessons, discussions, field research, exams and assessments, experiential exercises, class meetings, site visits or excursions, and other activities requires the same amount of engagement and work as expected of a faculty member teaching an equivalent on-campus course.

      2. For Off-campus Education Students – time spent with assigned readings, exams and assessments, group work, homework, research, projects, experiential exercises, class meetings, site visits or excursions, and other activities requires the same amount of engagement and work as expected of a student in an equivalent on-campus course.

    10. Texas State is responsible for providing a continuous improvement process for off-campus courses and programs including regular review and evaluation of these courses and programs.

    11. Texas State is responsible for establishing guidelines and best practices to assist faculty and students in understanding and mitigating health and safety risks associated with off-campus education programs and courses.

  4. Curriculum and Educational Programs

    1. Texas State’s faculty members have the primary role in the design, development, implementation and revision of off-campus education courses and programs.

    2. Before being offered, off-campus education courses and programs must be on the university’s inventory of courses and programs and have received approval by the BOR, THECB and SACSCOC, as appropriate.

    3. The approval of off-campus education courses and programs follows standard processes used at Texas State.

    4. Off-campus education courses and programs are appropriately integrated with the academic unit administering courses and programs.

    5. Off-campus education courses and programs are designed to meet the same quality standards and learning outcomes applicable to on-campus courses and programs.

    6. Locations for off-campus courses and programs must be justified to ensure they complement the learning experience and outcomes for students through academic, cultural, and related resources available at the location.

  5. Qualifications and EXPECTATIONS OF FACULTY

    1. Faculty members who teach off-campus education courses are selected in the same manner as those teaching on-campus courses.

    2. Faculty members for graduate-level off-campus education courses are approved in the same manner as graduate faculty for on-campus courses.

    3. Academic program coordinators are assigned to off-campus education programs in the same manner as coordinators assigned to oversee on-campus programs. Typically, one academic program coordinator is assigned to a program delivered both on-campus and off-campus.

    4. Faculty members ensure that each off-campus education course and program results in collegiate-level learning outcomes appropriate and equivalent to on-campus courses and programs as demonstrated by syllabi, learning outcomes assessment, and related documentation.

    5. Faculty members provide regular and substantive interaction with students enrolled in off-campus courses. This interaction is instructor-driven, frequent, and consistent throughout the semester. Courses that do not meet this standard are considered self-paced correspondence courses. Faculty members use a variety of methods and resources appropriate to the course and discipline to facilitate contact with students. Among other strategies, interactions typically include:

      1. meeting face-to-face;

      2. grading and providing feedback to students;

      3. lecturing, leading and facilitating discussions;

      4. holding office hours;

      5. holding review and tutoring sessions;

      6. utilizing the course management system; and

      7. facilitating student learning at designated sites and excursions.

    6. Faculty members ensure that off-campus education students are aware of the university’s Honor Code and its applicability to off-campus education courses.

    7. Academic units provide appropriate support for faculty members engaged in off-campus education courses. Support may include training and development, hardware and software, and other services and resources.

    8. Faculty members engaged in off-campus education may not realize unusual perquisites, gifts, or financial gain (i.e., free tickets for travel, accommodations, and other incentives that are incidental to the instructional program).

    9. Faculty members engaged in off-campus education understand the unique nature of these courses and programs and take measures to understand and mitigate health and safety risks in consultation with ODEL or the SAO.

  6. Support PROCEDURES and expectations of Students

    1. Students enrolled in off-campus education satisfy requirements for admission to the university, to the program, and to academic credit courses, as are required of on-campus students applying to the same program. Some exceptions may occur with self-supporting courses and programs.

    2. Students enrolled in off-campus education are provided with clear, complete, and timely information on the curriculum, location, availability of support services, and other policies.

    3. Students in off-campus education courses and programs are aware of the university’s Honor Code and its applicability to off-campus education.

    4. Students have access to technical support, hardware, software and other services that support off-campus education.

    5. Students have access to support services appropriate for off-campus learners, such as academic advising, career counseling, library resources, tutoring, and financial aid.

    6. Students are expected to participate as partners with faculty and the university in understanding and mitigating health and safety risks associated with off-campus education courses and programs.

  7. Evaluation and Assessment PROCEDURES

    1. Students enrolled in off-campus courses have the opportunity to evaluate courses and provide feedback for course improvements.

    2. Students in off-campus education programs have access to a procedure for resolving complaints, as noted in UPPS No. 07.10.06, Procedures for Students Seeking Resolution or Reporting University- Related Complaints.

    3. Faculty members who teach off-campus education courses are evaluated by equivalent standards, review, and approval procedures used by the institution to evaluate faculty members responsible for on-campus courses.

    4. Academic program coordinators for off-campus education programs are evaluated by equivalent standards used by the institution to evaluate academic program coordinators for on-campus programs.

    5. Programs offered through off-campus education are evaluated in the same manner as on-campus programs through the periodic academic review process outlined in AA/PPS No. 02.01.50, Academic Program Review or through accreditation standards and processes, as appropriate.

  8. DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY PROCEDURES

    1. Faculty members interested in the development of new courses to be delivered off-campus will consult with the appropriate department chair or school director and curriculum committees. All new and revised courses are developed using the forms and processes described in AA/PPS No. 02.01.01, Academic Credit Courses: Additions, Changes, and Deletions, and supported by this policy.

    2. Faculty members interested in the development of new programs to be delivered off-campus will consult with the appropriate department chair or school director and curriculum committees. All new and revised programs are developed using the forms and process described in AA/PPS No. 02.01.10, Academic Programs: Additions, Changes, and Deletions and supported by this policy.

    3. Faculty members interested in the development of Study Abroad activities shall consult with the Study Abroad Office. Faculty members interested in the development of extension activities including Study-in-America and off-campus activities shall consult with ODEL. These offices implement proposal development standards and procedures and offer support services related to academic quality, program design and continuous improvement, faculty and student readiness, risk assessment, travel criteria, safety and health standards, and financial viability.

    4. Academic units interested in the implementation of courses and programs at off-campus locations in Texas will consult with ODEL at least nine months in advance of the first offering. Off-campus courses and programs may require review and approval by the BOR, THECB, SACSCOC and other entities.

  9. GENERAL RELEASE

    1. All students, faculty, and other individuals who participate in off-campus education and travel must sign an Activity Release of Liability, Indemnification and Assumption of the Risk Agreement prior to departure.
  10. REVIEWERS OF THIS PPS

    1. Reviewers of this PPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Director, Distance & Extended Learning December 1 ONY
      Assistant Vice President for International Affairs December 1 ONY
      Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs December 1 ONY
  11. CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

    This PPS has been reviewed by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Academic Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded. Director, Distance and Extended Learning; senior reviewer of this PPS

    Assistant Vice President for International Affairs

    Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs