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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Distance Education : A-070

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Guidelines

Applicable Divisions

Community Colleges, Universities


The following guideline supplements the provisions of the Tennessee Board of Regents Policy 2:05:00:00 (Distance Education).That policy requires that institutions planning and offering distance education courses address that policy and the following guidelines, which cover academic standards and planning and implementation issues.


  1. Academic Standards
    1. In establishing policies and procedures, the following stipulations shall apply:
      1. Each distance education course offered by an institution must be consistent with the level, nature, and mission of that institution.
      2. When a course is offered through distance education, it will carry the same code, title, and credit as other sections of that course.
      3. Each distance education course must provide for interaction and timely feedback between students and faculty member(s) teaching the course.
      4. As appropriate, these interactions may be individual, group, or mixed.
      5. They may take place electronically, e.g., by telephone, by computer, or by interactive video.
      6. Each distance education course must include an assessment of that delivery mode in its procedures for monitoring and assessing student performance.
      7. Each student enrolled in a distance education course shall have access to all the academic support services, instructional equipment, and campus events and other non- academic activities, which the institution provides for other students.
      8. Support services may include but are not limited to academic advising, counseling, library and other learning resources, tutoring services, and financial aid.
  2. Program Planning and Implementation 
    1. Institutional policies and procedures must contain a written statement of the purpose and goals of the distance education program and describe the assessment methods used to evaluate the success of the program in carrying out those goals and objectives. The following issues must be addressed as institutions plan and implement the distance education program:
      1. Faculty, administrators, and other support personnel involved in the development and implementation of distance education must have clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and duties.
      2. Faculty involved in distance education must receive specialized training in the use of the medium.
      3. Institutions will determine teaching load equivalents and faculty compensation for distance education.
      4. The institution must make academic and administrative information available to distance education students.
      5. This information may include but is not limited to: exams, grading, student-faculty interaction, proctoring, the provision of support services, and registration and fee-payment procedures.
      6. Censorial arrangements among two or more institutions for the development, production, or transmittal of distance education courseware and materials should always be considered.
      7. Whenever possible and to effect the greatest savings, the acquisition of courseware should be made through the Tennessee Board of Regents' Media Consortium.


TBR Meeting, September 30, 1983; TBR Meeting, September 21, 1990; TBR Meeting, September 17, 1993.

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