Organizational Commitment

Principle

  • Distance learning must be backed by an organizational commitment to quality and effectiveness in all aspects of the learning environment.

Discussion

  • To be effective distance learning programs must be backed by a commitment on the part of the institution or organization to include distance learning in its planning and goal-setting, to treat distance education and on-campus education equitably in its policies and procedures, and to provide the necessary resources – human, fiscal, programmatic and technical --- to support those programs.

Operational Criteria

  1. The institution's distance learning activity is consistent with the institutional mission.
  2. The institution shows evidence - through its priorities, goals, strategic plans, policies, procedures, faculty recognition, and infrastructure - that it values distance learning.
  3. The institution's distance learning programs show evidence of careful planning, including identification of the need, the nature and size of the intended audiences, provisions for serving those audiences, and a plan for adding resources (financial and human, including instructional staffing and support functions) to accommodate future program growth ("scalability").
  4. The institution has committed sufficient resources to its distance learning programs and services to ensure their effectiveness.
  5. The institution has clearly identified a single office or officer with responsibility for assuring the quality of all distance education across the institution.
  6. The institution ensures that the administration of its distance learning programs by knowledgeable personnel with adequate time and resources to accomplish this task.
  7. The institution has developed and implemented a process for sustaining faculty professional development in distance learning.  This process recognizes that teaching in the distance learning environment requires different pedagogical and communication strategies to function effectively, and that the faculty member and the institution share responsibility for assuring effectiveness.
  8. If the institution uses courses, programs, or academic support services from another provider, it has an adequate process in place (with faculty participation) for evaluating their quality, academic rigor, and suitability for the award of college credit and a degree or certificate.
  9. The institution has in place a comprehensive, viable technology plan for distance learning.
  10. The institution has a clear policy on ownership of course materials developed for its distance education courses; this policy is shared with all faculty and staff involved in distance education at the institution.
Last Updated: October 22, 2009