There is a growing demand for distance delivery graduate programs offered in a combination of modes, including on-site, on-campus and technologically mediated instruction. Support is given for innovative programs that demonstrate high quality, provide students with genuine professional development and lead to opportunities for further study. Distance graduate programs must meet the same standards of quality that are expected of equivalent programs offered on campus.
In order to achieve this equivalency, the following guidelines have been established related to program, admission, instruction and supervision, and instructional resources:
- The university must make the same commitment to students regarding the availability and method of delivery of a complete program as it makes to students enrolled in on-campus programs.
- The program must include an on-campus component to be defined by the university.
- Course content and contact hours must be equivalent to comparable courses offered on campus.
- Course must not be offered in so compacted a time frame as to preclude opportunities for independent study, reflection and investigation within each course.
- Wherever possible, the same choices of elective courses that are available in equivalent on-campus programs must be offered to students.
- Time limits for program completion must be the same as the limits for equivalent on-campus program.
- Admission criteria required of all students must be no less than those required for equivalent on-campus programs.
- Unclassified or occasional students who are allowed to register in individual courses of the program must meet the same registration criteria as required for courses in equivalent on-campus programs.
Instruction and Supervision
- There must be immediate, on-going interaction both between individual students and the instructor and among students in the delivery of each course.
- Each student must be assigned to a program supervisor/advisor who is a member of the academic staff of the university. The quality of supervision or advising must be no less than that available to students in equivalent programs on campus.
- Qualifications and selection procedures for instructors and supervisors/advisors must be no less stringent than those required for equivalent on-campus program
- Instructional resources (for example, library, computer, media and laboratory resources) necessary for graduate-level study must be available to all students.