Distance Education Program Development and Approval

4256.1 Distance Education Programs

In order for a major, minor, or certificate program at Wright State University (WSU) to be officially designated and offered through distance delivery methods, including but not limited to electronically offered or on-line programs, it must first be reviewed and approved by the appropriate college or school curriculum committee, the college or school faculty if required by that unit, the University Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee (UCAPC), and the Faculty Senate. Major programs and certificate programs must then be approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). If the program is being proposed as a new major program, approval must be obtained from the WSU Board of Trustees and the Ohio Board of Regents prior to submission to the HLC..

Distance education programs as defined herein are governed by the agreement of the regional accrediting associations:

Distance education is defined, for the purposes of accreditation review, as a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. Distance education may employ correspondence study, or audio, video, or computer technologies.

The definition and additional guidelines adopted by regional accrediting associations of the Higher Learning Commission are available as follows:

Guidelines for Distance Education.pdf

In proposing to offer distance education programs, departments and colleges or schools are to ensure that the expectations in the Guidelines for Distance Education are met.

4256.2 Procedures and Guidelines for Preparing Distance Education Program Proposals

All distance education program proposals, whether they involve the creation of new academic programs or involve an existing academic program, must be submitted to UCAPC for review and approval and subsequently by UCAPC to the Faculty Senate based on the criteria established by the HLC's Seeking Approval of Proposed Changes: Documentation to Support a Change Request and contained in the following:

Documentation for Approval of Distance Learning Programs.pdf

An original and nineteen copies of the Documentation are to be submitted through the dean's office of the department's college or school to UCAPC. At the same time, the dean's office should provide copies to all other deans of colleges and schools to be made available for additional review by curriculum committees, departments, and faculty and to the Office of the Provost, and other university offices as deemed necessary by the Office of the Provost and the Council of Deans.

Once the program has received approval through the WSU process and, when required, the WSU Board of Trustees and the Ohio Board of Regents, the Office of the Provost will submit the proposal for review to the HLC.

4256.3 Additional Procedures and Guidelines Required by WSU Faculty Governance Policies

Depending on the nature of the proposal, it may be necessary to submit additional documentation following WSU policies and procedures.

When the distance education program being proposed is a new major program, a new minor program, or a new certificate program, it is required that, in addition to the above Documentation, the appropriate WSU policies and procedures be followed for creating new programs:

When the distance education program being proposed involves an existing WSU approved major, minor, or certificate program but also carries with it changes in that program including changes in admission, program and graduation requirements, or changes in the program of courses as would typically be listed in the undergraduate catalog, namely, the specific listing of course requirements and options and corresponding numbers of credit hours, it is required that, in addition to the above Documentation, the WSU policies and procedures be followed for changes in existing programs:

  • Procedures and Guidelines for Preparing Changes in Existing Programs UP# 4270


4256.4 Best Practices for Electronically Offered Programs

To assist institutions in implementing and maintaining electronically offered programs, the eight regional accrediting commissions have developed and published Best Practices For Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs. In developing, implementing, maintaining, and assessing distance learning programs, departments and colleges and schools should follow those practices available as follows:

A flowchart of the curriculum and academic policy review process for distance education programs is contained in the following PDF file: