Distance Education Policies and Compliance

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Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS)

Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)

Recommended Guidelines for Online Courses at TSU

Tracking Student Attendance in Online Courses

The U.S. Department of Education requires that students complete academic activities before they may be counted in attendance at any time during the semester. This applies to distance education courses (online courses) as well. The U.S. Department of Education will not accept the simple act of logging into the University’s learning management system as proof of attendance at any time during the semester. Students must complete an academic activity to be counted as attending the online course. For this reason, faculty members are required to include an academic activity for students to complete early in the semester. Completion of this activity will be used to verify students’ attendance and participation in the online course.

ADA and Section 508

Students with Disabilities and Online Classes

"Title 5, section 55200. Definition and Application. Distance education means instruction in which the instructor and student are separated by distance and interact through the assistance of communication technology. All distance education is subject to the general requirements of this chapter as well as the specific requirements of this article. In addition, instruction provided as distance education is subject to the requirements that may be imposed by the American with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §12100 et seq.) and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended."

Title 5 is clear that online classes must fulfill the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (often abbreviated as "ADA" and "508"). These requirements deal with things such as media, format, alternate descriptions, color, tables, html code, and image maps.

Additional Resources for ADA Content Development:

Accessibility Best Practices for eTeaching: A checklist of best practices from George Washington University to help faculty members think through and improve accessibility for online courses and materials. It is based on a rubric from Quality Matters, a collegial process for promoting quality in online/blended courses.
Creating Accessible Content: A resource from University of Central Florida for faculty teaching online/blended courses and dealing with ADA and 508 compliance.
Web content accessibility validation solution, created to identify errors in design related to Section 508 standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This service is a free accessibility validation tester.
E-Toolbox from University of Connecticut features e-Tools that faculty can select and incorporate into course planning, content delivery, and assessment of student learning in online and technology blended courses to address the different learning styles of students, including students with cognitive disabilities.
WebAIM Section 508 Checklist: A checklist by WebAim to determine if your online materials and courses are compliant