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RSCC Policy AA-21-01; Distance Education

Roane State Community College
Policy Number: AA-21-01
Subject: Distance Education
  1. Purpose
    Distance education is an established and effective method for extending educational opportunities. To provide the citizens of the college's service area with greater access to postsecondary education, Roane State Community College (RSCC) affirms the effectiveness of distance education, and recommends the use and development of distance education technologies when deemed appropriate and in the best interest of the student by divisional faculty.
  2. Definition
    Distance education is a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may use the internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devises; audio conferencing; or video cassettes, DVD’s, and CD-ROMs if used as part of the distance learning course or program.
  3. Requirements and Standards
    1. All distance education courses offered by Roane State will meet the same academic requirements and quality standards as traditional academic courses. These courses will also be consistent with the level, nature, and mission of the college.
    2. When a course is offered via the distance education mode, it will carry the same code, title, and credit as other sections of that course. Students will be afforded the opportunity to evaluate the course's organization, content, and delivery through procedures equivalent to those used for traditional on-campus courses.
    3. Students wishing to enroll in these courses must meet the college's institutional admission criteria and any special admission guidelines of programs of which these courses may be a part.
    4. Each distance education course will ensure interaction and timely feedback between students and the instructor teaching the course. As appropriate, these interactions may be individual, group, or mixed. They may take place electronically, e.g. by telephone, by computer, or by interactive compressed video.
    5. Standards for success or failure and procedures for monitoring and assessing student performance and providing timely student feedback will be as rigorous as those used in traditional courses.
    6. Assessment of distance education delivery modes will be conducted through regular student assessments as outlined in RSCC policy PA-26-02, Faculty Evaluations. (You can access the complete policy at Student performance in distance education courses will be compared on a regular basis to courses taught via a traditional format and reviewed by the appropriate academic dean.
    7. Distance education students shall have reasonable and adequate access to the range of student services and student rights appropriate to support their learning and successful matriculation and comparable to those offered to on-campus users. Support services may include but are not limited to academic advising, counseling, tutoring services, and financial aid. All Roane State students including distance education students, can access library resources and services online through the Roane State library website. Off-campus users are authenticated with their RaiderNet username and password.
    8. Each student enrolled in a distance education course shall have the same opportunity as students enrolled in traditional courses to file a student complaint or grade appeal as stated in the Student Handbook.
      1. Student Complaint information can be found in the Student Handbook.
      2. Grade Appeal information can be found in the RSCC catalog.
    9. In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Section 495 (HR 4137), RSCC authenticates online student identification with the use of a secure log-in and pass code. In addition, GA-18-01 Ethical and Responsible Use of Computer Resources policy addresses the use of a unique student username and password. (Access the complete RSCC policy at
  4. Applicability of Tennessee Board of Regents Policies
    Unless otherwise provided, all board, accrediting agencies, and institutional policies, standards, and guidelines for on-campus instruction apply to distance education instruction. Applicable Board policies include, but are not limited to:

    Policy Approval of Academic Programs, Units, and Modifications
    Policy Admission at the Community Colleges
    Policy Undergraduate Academic Retention and GPA Standards
    Policy Policy for Classifying Students In-State & Out-of-State for Paying College Fees & Tuition & for Admission Purposes
    Policy Faculty Promotion at Community Colleges
    Policy Inter-institutional Relationships and Off-Campus Offerings
  5. Funding of Distance Education
    The written procedure and college fee schedule are published online on the bursar’s webpage for Student Fees. Roane State will budget for the acquisition and maintenance of distance education hardware and courseware and shall maintain careful records of all operating costs.
  6. Administration
    1. Faculty and other personnel involved in the development and implementation of distance education have defined roles and responsibilities as evidenced by job descriptions and other RSCC policies. Please refer to RSCC policies AA-07-01 Curriculum Development, PA-24-01 Faculty Job Description and PA-24-02 Job Description for Academic Deans. (Access the complete RSCC policies at
    2. The selection and appointment of faculty will be provided by the academic deans.
    3. Faculty involved in distance education are provided training in the use of the medium. Roane State will determine teaching load equivalents and faculty compensation for distance education. RSCC will ensure compliance with all applicable intellectual property laws concerning the reproduction of printed materials and the use and transmission of films, filmstrips, videotapes, recordings, performances, or other protected works. Please refer to RSCC policy GA-28-01 Intellectual Property. (You can access the complete policy at
    4. RSCC protects the privacy of all students and their education records and complies with federal and state guidelines regarding information security whether students are enrolled in distance education courses or attend class on campus. Please refer to SA-01-01 Student Records and Security policy and GA-18-08 Data and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Security. (You can access the complete policies at In addition, all college personnel (administrators, staff, faculty, adjunct faculty and part-time employees) are required to complete data security training.
    5. RSCC has no additional fee for authentication or verification of student identity.
Revision History: 02/15/1999, 07/02/2007, 07/10/2014, 01/30/2015, 08/20/2018
TBR Policy Reference:
Revision Date Effective: 07/24/2023
Revision Approval By: Christopher L. Whaley, President
Original Date Effective: 02/15/1999
Original Approval By: Sherry L. Hoppe, President
Office Responsible: Vice President Student Learning
Reviewed: 01/30/2023

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