IN THIS ISSUE
• Protecting Consumers by Resolving Complaints • Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs • DETC Welcomes New Institution • Accreditation Advice Goes Global
NEWS Fall 2009
DETC NEWS - Fall 2009 Contents Message from the Executive Director..............................................................
Save the Date for DETC's 84th Annual Conference........................................
Message from the Commission Chair..............................................................
DETC Welcomes New Institution . .................................................................
Protecting Consumers by Resolving Complaints............................................
Report from the Accrediting Commission.......................................................
From Paper To Electrons.................................................................................
Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs.........................................................
Accreditation Advice Goes Global.................................................................. 26
DETC NEWS—Published by the Distance Education and Training Council, 1601 18th Street, NW, Suite 2, Washington, D.C. 20009 (202-234-5100). Story ideas, feedback, letters to the editor and other reader submissions are encouraged and should be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “DETC NEWS SUBMISSION” as the subject line of your e-mail. The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) a nonprofit, voluntary association of accredited distance study institutions, was founded in 1926 to promote sound educational standards and ethical business practices within the distance study field. The independent DETC Accrediting Commission is listed by the United States Department of Education as a “nationally recognized accrediting agency.” The Accrediting Commission is also a charter member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
DETC Staff: Executive Director: Michael P. Lambert Associate Director: Sally R. Welch Director of Accreditation: Nan M. Ridgeway Director of Meetings and Publications: Robert S. Chalifoux Accrediting Coordinator: Lissette Hubbard Information and Accounts Specialist: Brianna L. Bates Legal Counsellor: Joseph C. Luman
Message from the Executive Director
The Tipping Point is Behind Us
by Michael P. Lambert Executive Director These past few months have seen a number of congruent pieces of evidence that strongly indicate that online and distance learning have passed the “tipping point” in terms of public acceptance and enrollments. It seems fairly clear that online learning is well along its way in becoming the preferred way for people to learn in the 21st Century. A U.S. Department of Education “meta study” of 51 research reports (ones that met a rigorous research design criteria) conducted since 1996 has found that students who took all or part of their instruction online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through faceto-face instruction. Further, the study found that those who took “blended” courses— those that combine elements of online learning and face-to-face instruction— appeared to do best of all. Many colleges report that blended
instruction is among the fastest-growing types of enrollment. Online students at publicly traded forprofit institutions now comprise approximately 50% of all their students, versus just 12% of their students in 2002. Online students went from 1.82 million students in 2007 to 2.13 million in 2008 in all of higher education. The Department of Defense spent more than $474 million on tuition assistance for military members’ voluntary education in FY 2008, and nearly two thirds of this amount went for online learning courses. If current trend lines hold, the amount could reach three fourths in FY 2009. The Obama Administration has announced it will award community colleges $500 million to create online instructional materials that would be available free to community colleges and their students. (continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Message from the Executive Director, continued)
institutions growing with each passing day, DETC and its member institutions face the stiffest and most well-heeled competition in our long and storied history. More than 130 million Americans have studied with a DETC institution since 1890, and all of this collective experience will come into play in the next few years. How should DETC members prepare to meet the new, vigorous, white hot competition? Here is my list of five suggestions:
Two Concord Law School online students performed brilliantly in the regional competition of the American Constitutional Society’s Moot Court Competition against students from law schools such as the University of Michigan, Duke, Berkeley, Wayne State, and others (there were close to 30 teams entered). In the Annual Reports for 2008 from all DETC institutions, One: Keep fore95% of the students most in mind the numsaid they had achieved ber one reason our the goals they had when learners have chosen "...DETC and its they enrolled, 96% said us as their “school:” member instituthey were satisfied with the convenience of the tions face the their studies, and 95% method. The more resaid they would recomstiffest and most strictions on learners’ mend their studies to a time that are put into well-heeled friend. our programs, the less competition in our In view of these convenient and less long and storied reputation-affirming attractive they will be. history." studies and developThere is a trade off to ments, it is little wonbe considered: How der why so many presmuch convenience tigious institutions, can you diminish bemany of which looked fore you erode market share? down on correspondence study as being an unwanted interloper on the pristine lawns Two: Adhere strictly to—and exceed of Academia, now want to climb aboard where possible—the DETC Standards for the online learning band wagon. Accreditation. The bar for gaining DETC DETC members have been in the accreditation is at its highest in history, and distance education vineyard since 1890, the DETC Standards have never been more and now find themselves competing for stringent. Having tough standards and firm the same students from hundreds of other enforcement serves all of the membership patrician higher education institutions, as well, since it ensures public confidence in well trade schools, for profit career colleges any school accredited by DETC. and of course, community colleges. With the popularity of online learning (continued) among both learners and higher education 2
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Message from the Executive Director, continued) Three: Keep tuition and fees affordable, within reach of the “average person.” Avoid the temptation to increase fees because there are federal loan programs or increased G.I. Bill benefits now. We are still in the grips of strong economic recession, and the recovery from it looks more and more to be a “jobless” one. Four: Avoid “placing all your eggs in one basket” by becoming overly-dependent on one or two sources of revenue. In particular, be very aware that any federal benefit program can have the rules suddenly changed, and your institution might suddenly find itself on the rocky shoals of a cash flow crisis, and not sailing the open seas. Five: Finally, while it is no doubt a good idea to enhance your curricula and your student services with the all the affordable and effective “ bells and whistles” offered by the new technology, bear in mind there is no substitute for rich curriculum content and timely, professional student service. These are key traits of successful institutions, and these, not technology, will see you through the rough spots. It’s official! The federal government, in its meta-study, has concluded that students who take all or part of their instruction online perform better, on average, than those taking the same course through faceto-face instruction. We have known this fact since 1890, but it is nice to have this truth recognized, even 119 years later.
As I survey the DETC community today, I see dramatic progress being made on every front, from credit acceptance, to employer acceptance, to student satisfaction. We, as a community, welcome the new competition, since we are confident that DETC institutions have the “right stuff” to lead the way in the new century for all institutions. The Tipping Point on the triumph of distance learning is now truly behind us.
Save the Date for Annual Conference Mark your calendar for DETC’s 84th Annual Conference, April 11-13, 2010 at the L’Auberge del Mar Hotel in Del Mar, California. Anyone interested in presenting at the DETC Annual Conference should contact Rob Chalifoux with a brief session description. Rob also can be contacted for more information about exhibiting at the Conference. The Title IV Federal Financial Aid Seminar originally scheduled to take place in conjunction with the Fall Workshop now will now be offered at the L’Auberge del Mar at the 84th Annual Conference. More information about the Annual Conference and Title IV Workshop will be available on the DETC Web site later this Fall. Please contact Rob Chalifoux, DETC’s Director of Meetings and Publications, via phone (202-234-5100, ext. 104) or e-mail (email@example.com) with any questions about the Annual Conference, or any other DETC Meetings and Events.
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
Message from the Commission Chair
Best Practices for DETC Institutions
by Tim Mott Chair, DETC Accrediting Commission It is clear that distance learning has come into its own throughout the American higher education scene. In addition, corporate and agency training environments are increasingly moving toward online and hybrid educational delivery models. With little guidance from regional higher education and state licensing authorities early on, many traditional colleges began to launch distance learning environments as components of their campus-based learning environment. In Ohio, I led the development and launch of a 100% distance learning baccalaureate degree program at a regionally accredited college back in 1993. While many early adopters were faced with developing online and distance learning environments from their own internal experience, others who operated in partnership with accrediting authorities experienced in distance and online learning, 4
DETC NEWS â€˘ Fall 2009
were guided by well-established standards and guidelines of professional practice to aid them in the design of an educational infrastructure to support their efforts and protect the needs of the students. DETC has, since 1926, been a recognized resource for those in higher education interested in understanding what constitutes a quality distance learning educational environment. In fact, all in higher educationâ€”including those who are guided by regional higher education agenciesâ€”can learn a lot from the DETC and their corresponding accreditation standards. Several years ago, I was asked to conduct faculty development sessions for groups of faculty who were considering the possibility of engaging in online distance learning. Many of those faculty questioned (continued)
(Message from the Commission Chair, continued) whether or not online learning environments could serve as an effective delivery method when their own traditional faculty experience was with classroom-based models. With some experience developing online distance learning environments myself, I felt there was a lot that traditional classroom teaching environments could learn from highly effective online distance learning-based environments. In my effort to address this question with faculty, I chose to engage them in a discussion of what they felt are the most important characteristics of any effective learning environment. Once we identified the characteristics they felt influenced their most positive teaching/learning experience, we then identified how those same characteristics are present every day in online and other forms of distance teaching/learning environments. Together, we began to unravel examples of how online learning practice can help to inform and influence positive practices even in traditional classroom based teaching/learning models. To the surprise of many, it became apparent traditional classroom teachers can often learn a lot from those involved in high quality distance learning environments. As a DETC Commissioner, and site visit team evaluator, I am regularly struck by how much overlap there is between the DETC Accreditation Standards and the characteristics faculty cite as most important to creating a positive learning environment—regardless of whether that environment is in the classroom or online.
Using Chickering and Gamson’s (1987) Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, a comparison can be drawn with the DETC Standards and commonly recognized principles of good practice. The following summary serves to highlight some of these similarities. Principle #1: Encourages Contact Between Students and Teachers. DETC Standards II and III incorporate performance indicators that measure the extent to which institutional practice encourages contact between students and teachers. In addition, there is emphasis on contact between students and their learning content as well as student contact with other supplemental learning resources. Principle #2: Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students. While the DETC Standards reflect the organization’s history with correspondence-based institutions, today’s commonplace learning technology is providing many institutions a first time opportunity to encourage collaboration among students. Standards related to sound principles of instructional design (II.H.), educational media and learning resources (II.K.), and appropriate technology (III.F.) are present to emphasize this principle. Principle #3: Encourages Active Learning. Active learning focuses on learning process more so than on learning products. A number of DETC sub-standards covered under Standard II: Educational Program Objectives, Curriculum and Materials as well as Standard III: Educational Services emphasize a focus on establishing a learning environment that actively engages (continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Message from the Commission Chair, continued) the learners in the learning process (e.g., organization of materials, ability to question and obtain guidance, responsiveness to individual differences, etc.). Principle #4: Giving Prompt Feedback. Even before online forms of distance learning became prevalent back in the 90â€™s, DETC standards emphasized the need to provide prompt feedback to learners at all phases of the learning process from initial inquiry all the way through the instructional process. Those principles today are still found interspersed in Standards II and III. Principle #5: Emphasize Time on Task. Whether instruction is online or via print-based correspondence, DETC Standards emphasize well organized learning design and content presentation in order to keep the learner focused on the learning task rather than figuring out what to do or study next. Principle #6: Communicate High Expectations. DETC Standards emphasize examination of student learning and other assessment techniques. Standards on assessment (IV.A.) require institutions to demonstrate assessment services are guided by published grading policies and are guided by appropriately qualified faculty or other qualified staff members. Principle #7: Respects Diverse Talents and Different Ways of Learning. DETC has always recognized that one size does not fit all learners. Responding
DETC NEWS â€˘ Fall 2009
to Standard III.B., high functioning organizations are responsive and flexible in order to meet the individual differences of students with diverse backgrounds, prior achievements, employment, and other relevant circumstances. Counseling and guidance are provided so that individual learning styles can be addressed. Faculty, instructional designers, staff support specialists and administrators of distance learning enterprises work together to create some of the most responsive learning environments available today. Classroom-based instructors can learn a lot from exploring the best practices approach to design of distance learning environments. Similarly, I believe those involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of distance learning organizations of all types can learn a lot by exploring the Standards and other resources made available by the DETC. Tested over time, and guided by ongoing application to distance learning enterprises worldwide, the DETC resources are among the most comprehensive tools available to those involved in the field today. It has been, and continues to be, a sincerely pleasure and honor to be associated with the DETC, my peer Commissioners and member institutions. While we are all faced with an external world of mixed opinions about the effectiveness of distance learning practice today, I would encourage everyone to continue to maintain a primary focus on the DETC Standards, common principles of good practice in teaching and learning, and the evidence that institutions across the country and around the world are producing in order to demonstrate results.
DETC Welcomes New Institution California Miramar University was founded in 2005 by way of an asset sale of the former PWU–California. The University is a wholly owned subsidiary of Education Development Corporation. CMU is an innovative institution of higher learning offering both online and hybrid undergraduate and graduate degree programs. CMU attracts students from around the globe. The diversity of the CMU student body has led the University to develop innovative and cost-effective programs that have been widely embraced and acclaimed in many parts of the world. The mission of California Miramar University is to provide students from around the world with programs that enable them to acquire skills, competencies, and academic excellence to enhance their careers and professions, enrich their personal lives, and enable them to make significant contributions to the global community. CMU is committed to providing quality educational programs through a delivery system which is both innovative and technologically advanced. This mode of delivery enables students to earn an academic degree at their own pace, time, and location. In keeping with their motto, “Educating Tomorrow’s Business Leaders Today,” California Miramar University’s goal is to educate individuals to become effective business leaders and managers of their organizations. California Miramar University prides itself on providing affordable, flexible, quality year round education. To this end, the Board of Directors of Cali-
fornia Miramar University is committed to keeping the cost of education extremely affordable. Under the leadership of Dr. Dominic Mwenja, CMU’s President, the University has become an innovative student centered institution where the needs of the students come first. As CMU’s DiDr. Dominic rector of Student Mwenja Services, Ms. Ilana Herring, points out, “The University should revolve around the student—not the other way around. At CMU we know our students by name; they’re not just another number.” According to CMU’s Dean of the School of Business and Management, Dr. Bijan Massrour, “CMU’s faculty brings real world business ethics and experience to both our graduate and undergraduate programs.” CMU’s philosophy is that hands-on teaching is the top priority for the faculty. Real world business experience, combined with advanced teaching skills, is a requirement for all members of the CMU faculty. Currently, California Miramar University has more than 140 courses delivered in seven degree programs designed to provide maximum flexibility to fit the schedules of working professionals as well as full time students.
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
Protecting Consumers by Resolving Complaints
A State Regulator's View by Patrick J. Sweeney School Administration Consultant, State of Wisconsin Educational Approval Board Editor’s Note: DETC has as one of its major ongoing efforts an effective complaint-handling policy, DETC Policy C. 20. DETC works with all the State Regulatory agencies to process and handle student complaints. We have invited one regulatory official from Wisconsin, Patrick J. Sweeney, to share his perspective on how to best handle student complaints. Wisconsin is the only state to have executed a Memorandum of Understanding with DETC on Complaint Processing which has benefited all parties, particularly students. The MOU also acts as a way for Wisconsin to manage many online institutions with the help of DETC.
Frankly, as state regulator, when I receive a student complaint, I automatically assume there’s an organizational problem at the institution. When a complaint reaches the desk of a state regulator, the institution has failed to resolve a problem with one or more of its students. Because the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board’s (EAB) statutory mission is consumer protection, I am legally bound to investigate and resolve the student complaint, a process likely to cost the institution and me time, energy, goodwill, and money. In this article, I will explain why consumer protection is so important to state regulators, present an example of a student complaint, and lastly provide practical suggestions for institutions to work cooperatively with state regulators (continued)
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Protecting Consumers by Resolving Complaints, continued) so student complaints are resolved without huge expenditures in time, money, and goodwill. Like most states, EAB statutes define its primary function: protecting consumers. The EAB accomplishes its mission by approving, regulating, and visiting private for-profit and non-profit postsecondary institutions. The EAB approves both nondegree and degree granting institutions. An institution which enrolls a Wisconsin resident needs EAB approval to operate legally, whether that institution is located within or outside Wisconsin. (NB: For DETC institutions with no physical presence in Wisconsin, the DETC-EAB MOU protects consumers and helps Wisconsin manage oversight of distance learning institutions with the help of DETC.) As a state regulator, EAB statutes tell me protecting consumers is my primary role. But for me and other state regulators, our work goes beyond simply upholding the law. My work is driven by a heartfelt need to help adult students who request our help. The adults who enroll in EAB-approved institutions hope the education and training they pay for will make their lives better, will make their dreams come true. For these adult students, paying for the institution’s education and training is much more meaningful and dear than is purchasing a new big screen television. Because EAB-approved institutions are really in the business of changing lives and fulfilling dreams, I believe these institutions have a moral and ethical duty
to provide a quality learning experience from good institutions in a well-managed and student-focused institution. For me, a student complaint represents a student’s dream destroyed and an institutional failure. A student complaint also means an investigation with lots of time, energy and resources expended by the EAB and the institution—and sometimes an accrediting association like DETC—for a problem that should not have happened and should have been solved before it got to me. Lastly, a student complaint causes me to question the institution’s capacity to deliver on its promises to students and to operate effectively. I received a student complaint this Spring, and resolved it with the able assistance of the Distance Education and Training Council. As noted above, EAB and DETC have a special working relationship and have jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about protecting Wisconsin consumers and allow EAB to manage the oversight of distance learning institutions. In April 2006, a Wisconsin resident enrolled in one course at a distance education institution, which at the time was DETC accredited as well as accredited by a regional association. The student dropped the course within a week by notifying the institution, which kept the $85 registration fee. In December 2008, she received a tuition bill of $850 from the institution for the dropped course and in January 2009 sent the account to a collection agency. On March 25, I received a student complaint which stated the person did not owe $850. I promptly called the institu(continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Protecting Consumers by Resolving Complaints, continued) tion, leaving phone messages with several school officials. No return calls for several days. I also sent the complaint to Michael Lambert at DETC, given the MOU and DETC’s long-standing interest in helping all online/distance students, and asked for his assistance. I have known Mike for many years, and I knew he would be just as concerned as I was about this situation. On April 7, I received an e-mail from the institution’s Director of Finance asking about EAB’s legal authority and stating the matter was with house counsel. My experience as a state regulator is nothing good happens when lawyers get involved, because the institution has now viewed the complaint as a legal issue, not as an organizational issue to be resolved quickly and effectively. Frustrated, I contacted DETC again about recent developments. I explained my next step is for EAB legal counsel to request by registered mail the institution’s refund policy and all documentation the institution has concerning this student with copies going to DETC and the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office. DETC reported it contacted the institution, but received no results. Friday, April 10, an institution official contacted me via e-mail stating it would like a conversation with me on Monday. I replied with my availability from 7:30 -11:30 a.m. No call on Monday, April 13, so I sent my availability for the next day. Tuesday morning at 10:00, the institution sent an e-mail asking if I’m available at 11:30 for
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
a call. I accommodated the request and a conversation finally occurred. April 16, the institution sent a letter to the student saying the account balance of $850 is cancelled. My copy arrived on April 21, and I closed the complaint file. Likely, the time, energy, and resources spent by the institution, DETC and EAB on this unfair and trivial matter exceeded thousands of dollars. And for what? For a two-year old, $850 tuition charge that was illegal according to EAB and accreditation refund policies. Frankly, the entire episode soured me on the institution. As a state regulator, a student complaint means something is broken at the institution. It likely means other students— experts have said that for every formal complaint filed, as many as two dozen other similar complaints exist, but are not filed—are dissatisfied and having problems, but didn’t have the courage to file a complaint. The student complaint means enrolled students are probably telling others about the institution’s problems, thereby damaging its reputation. Clearly, the institution should view a student complaint as a wake-up call to examine the institution’s organizational competence. The complaint is a “gift” to the institution, alerting it to issues/problems needing fixing. A complaint is first and foremost an organizational problem, not a legal issue. It is a message to the school’s leadership, like a warning light flashing on a pilot’s instrument panel. An institution should consider the following practical steps to work with a regulator in resolving a student complaint fairly and quickly for the good of all concerned: (continued)
(Protecting Consumers by Resolving Complaints, continued) • When a state regulator contacts an institution about a student complaint, have an institutional official with authority return the call quickly. • Request the state regulator to scan and e-mail to the institutional official the student complaint and all documentation, and promise to speak with the regulator in a day or two about the complaint. • View the complaint as an organizational problem to be investigated quickly and thoroughly, and not as a legal issue to be referred to legal counsel. • Contact DETC for help and advice. The DETC staff know and work with many state regulators and have experience resolving a variety of student complaints and issues. • In a day or two, contact the state regulator about your investigation of the student complaint and begin to craft a resolution that’s timely, fair and upholds the institution’s policies and procedures. • Resolving the complaint will likely mean addressing the institution’s organizational problem(s) and drafting a written action/solution with the student so the student and institution can move forward. • Send the regulator and student written documentation of the complaint’s resolution so the regulator can close the complaint file.
As a state regulator, I know the best consumer protection is a well-managed, student responsive institution which provides students the quality learning experience they want and expect and graduates satisfied consumers. State regulators want adult students to achieve their dreams and change their lives through the education and training provided by effective and successful institutions. How an institution handles a state regulator’s call about a student complaint can end in building positive relationships and trust, or it can lead to a confrontation costing all involved time, money, and goodwill. As one state regulator, I suggest a positive, problem-solving approach to resolving student complaints as opposed to a confrontational legal battle. In one approach, all parties can win; in the other approach, often no one wins. Patrick J. Sweeney is a School Administration Consultant for the State of Wisconsin Educational Approval Board. From 1983– 96, Pat worked for the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the state agency responsible for overseeing K-12 public education. Pat started his career in education as a high school English teacher for five years. Pat has two degrees from the University of Wisconsin–Madison: Bachelor of Science in English Education and a Master of Science in Journalism.
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
Report from the Accrediting Commission The DETC Accrediting Commission, the nationally recognized accreditation association for distance learning institutions, met June 5-6, 2009 and took the following actions: New Commissioners Elected Two new Commissioners were elected by the DETC membership at its Annual Business Meeting on April 6, 2009 for terms 2009-2012. The Commission welcomed the following new Commissioners to the meeting: Dr. Jack Nill, Dean of Education, Global University, Springfield, MO Ms. Judith Turner, Vice President and Director of Education, Art Instruction Schools, Minneapolis, MN One Institution Gains Accreditation The following institution was accredited on June 6, 2009: California Miramar University: 9750 Miramar Road, Suite 180, San Diego, CA 92126. Phone: (858) 653-3000; Fax: (858) 653-6786. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.calmu.edu. Dominic Mwenja, D.B.A., President and CEO. Founded 2005. One Institution Re-Accredited The following institution was re-accredited: • IMPAC University, Punta Gorda, FL
Change of Name The Commission approved the name changes for the following institutions: • Australasian College of Health Sciences to American College of Healthcare Sciences • Institute of Theology by Extension to INSTE Bible College • Richard Milburn High School to Milburn High School Online Voluntary Resignations of Accreditation The following institutions voluntarily resigned accreditation as of March 31, 2009: • University of Southern Queensland, Australia • Instituto Postsecundario de Educacion a Distancia, Puerto Rico Change of Location The Commission approved a change of location for the following four institutions: • Columbia Southern University moved to 21982 University Lane, Orange Beach, AL 36561 • HARDI Home Study Institute moved to 3455 Mill Run Drive, Suite 820, Columbus, OH 43026. • University of Atlanta moved to 6685 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30360. • University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences’ training site moved to 700 Windy Point Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069 (continued)
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Report from the Accrediting Commission, continued)
Proposed Changes The Commission also approved for public comment the following:
New Courses/Programs The Commission approved courses/programs from the following institutions:
• Proposed Addition to Standard II.L • New Business Standard, Section I.A.8.d • Proposed addition to C.5. Policy on Course/Program Approval • Proposed New Policy C.27. Policy on Teach-Out Plans
• Allied Business Schools, Inc. • American Sentinel University • Applied Professional Training, Inc. • Aspen University • Ashworth University • California Coast University • Grantham University • Independence University • McKinley College • Penn Foster College • Sessions Online Schools of Design • Straighterline.com–General Education courses • The Taft University System • University of Management and Technology • U.S. Career Institute • Yorktown University, Inc. Visit the DETC Web site for a complete list of approved courses/programs. Policies, Procedures and Standards The Commission voted to give final approval to the following Standards and Policy: • A.2. Business Standards • C.26. Policy on Pilot Programs The new Business Standards took effect June 6, 2009. To view a copy of these documents, please go to www.detc.org and select “Revised Documents” on the home page.
Visit the DETC Web site and click the “Call for Public Comment” link to view all proposed changes currently out for public comment. Any comments should be sent to Sally Welch (email@example.com) before November 1, 2009. Final adoption of these additions will be considered at the Commission’s January 2010 meeting. Applications for Accreditation and ReAccreditation The following institutions have applied for DETC initial accreditation or five-year re-accreditation: First Time Applicants: • Abraham Lincoln University School of Law, Los Angeles, CA • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, Sherman Oaks, CA • American Fitness Professionals and Associates, Manahawkin, NJ • American Graduate School of Education, Tempe, AZ • BILD International University, Ames, IA • California Southern University, Santa Ana, CA (continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Report from the Accrediting Commission, continued) • ChildCare Education Institute, Duluth, GA • Martinsburg Institute, Martinsburg, WV • National Institute of Whole Health, Wellesley, MA • New Learning Resources, Jackson, MS • Piccolo International University, Scottsdale, AZ • Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary, Newburgh, IN Applicants for Five-Year Re-accreditation: • American Institute of Applied Science, Youngsville, NC • American Sentinel University, Aurora, CO • Atlantic University, Virginia Beach, VA • Blackstone Career Institute, Emmaus, PA • California Coast University, Santa Ana, CA • City Vision, Kansas City, MO • Concord Law School, Los Angeles, CA • Hadley School for the Blind, Winnetka, IL • ICS Canada, Westmount, QC, Canada • Paralegal Institute, Glendale, AZ • Penn Foster Career School, Scranton, PA • Penn Foster College, Scottsdale, AZ
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
• Weston Distance Learning (At-Home Professions, U.S. Career Institute, McKinley College), Fort Collins, CO Next Meeting The next meeting of the Accrediting Commission will be January 15-16, 2010. All matters should be brought to the attention of Nan Ridgeway, Director of Accreditation (firstname.lastname@example.org) by no later than November 1, 2009.
Important Dates! Mark your calendars now for the following DETC activities: 2009
DETC Fall Workshop October 18-20 The Naples Grande Naples, FL
High School Seminar October 21 The Naples Grande Naples, FL
Accrediting Commission Meeting January 15-16
84th Annual Conference April 11-13 L’Auberge Del Mar Del Mar, CA
Accrediting Commission Meeting June 4-5, 2010
From Paper to Electrons A History of Distance Education in the Army Mr. Thomas Daley Chief, Army Institute for Professional Development Team Early in the 20th Century, General “Blackjack” Pershing faced a dilemma. He knew that the Army could be called upon to fight in a conflict at any time, and it was not prepared to do so. He also knew that budgets in the past provided few funds for equipment and training, leaving a peace-time Army ill-prepared to meet complex challenges. General Pershing understood that a global conflict would not just involve the Soldier in the regular Army but would also rely heavily on the U.S. Army National Guard and our nation as a whole. The National Guard had only limited training time because it was made up of citizen Soldiers. His answer to meeting his training requirements was to support the Soldier’s training needs wherever that Soldier was stationed. That vision inspired correspondence courses for the ranks. The first correspondence course used in the U.S. Army was developed by the Quartermaster School to supplement its resident training. Officers in the Quartermaster
Corps began taking that course by mail in 1917, with 650 students enrolled in that non-resident training within four months of its start. Since then, correspondence courses have evolved into an integral part of a Soldier’s professional development. That first course offering, mailed to the student, was the beginning of distributed learning (dL) for the Army: training conducted where distance and time separated the student from the classroom. The Army has an enduring relationship with distance education and training: a relationship as important today as it was at the turn of the century. The Army Training Support Center (ATSC) manages much of the Army’s dL mission. This article focuses on the role of ATSC as it facilitates training and education via dL. The Army’s dL capabilities support the philosophy of delivering training anytime and anywhere. Time and distance barriers are overcome when dL products are successfully delivered. (continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(From Paper to Electrons, continued)
more about this dynamic organization.
Distributed Learning Products Throughout its history, ATSC has manTraining Anytime and Anywhere aged paper-based training products. To Established in July 1976, ATSC’s keep pace with technology, it converted mission was to facilitate training for the U.S. Army, delivering it anytime and paper-based products to digital products, anywhere so our armed forces could integrating the most effective training maintain proficiency and readiness in a strategies while delivering computer-based wide variety of military occupational state-of-the-art dL courseware. Offices skills. As part of the Training and Doc- within the Education Training and Support trine Command (TRADOC), Combined Directorate (ETSD) manage the contracts to develop dL products, Arms Center (CAC), and enforce design ATSC works closely standards. The Staff with Headquarters and Faculty Division Department of the "Established in conducts instructor Army (HQDA), July 1976, the certification classes to TRADOC’s 33 cenATSC's mission was train and certify faculty ters and schools, and throughout the world. to facilitate traininstallations worldwide to ensure the ing for the U.S. Distance Education availability of many Army, delivering it ATSC pioneered training support caanytime and anythe use of Video Telepabilities. Additionwhere..." training (VTT) within ally, ATSC serves as the Army in 1988. the Executive Agent, Currently the VTT or delegated authorprogram supports the ity, for several Army Army with internet training support programs. These programs provide integral and satellite connectivity to train Soldiers training support products, services and around the globe. The VTT capability provides synchronous training that enables the enablers for Soldiers at all levels. ATSC’s workforce designs, develops, instructor to engage each student within and delivers training, as well as main- the class. The VTT program can contains and accounts for training products. nect up to 248 classrooms located within The workforce’s experience and special- the United States as well as 60 overseas ized skills uniquely qualify ATSC to sup- classrooms. port our nation at war with exceptional ATSC also manages nine satellite-based training support anytime, anywhere. Visit classrooms which are located in Germany, http://www.atsc.army.mil and download Egypt, Kosovo, and Iraq. In 2008, instruca copy of ATSC’s annual report and learn (continued) 16
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(From Paper to Electrons, continued) tors conducted 74,189 hours of training, covering topics ranging from areas such as Emergency Medical Training, Advanced Nurse Leadership, Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course, First Sergeants Course, and Fiscal Law. In some cases, the satellite-based classrooms and VTT are the only way deployed Soldiers can receive training. ATSC hosts an annual dL Workshop for the TRADOC centers and schools. Visit the ATSC Web site to learn more about other upcoming events. Collaborative Tools ATSC provides the connectivity and training that enables Soldiers, DoD civilians, and government contractors access to web-based programs from their office computers. These web-based collaboration tools include: Broadband Language Training System (BLTS), CollabWorx, and Defense Connect On-line (DCO). The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) uses BLTS to deliver individual and small group synchronous language instruction to nearly 100 low density/high profile DoD language students worldwide. DLIFLC also uses BLTS to teach Arabic, Chinese, Dari, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Farsi, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. BLTS provides the ability to uniquely train Foreign Area Officers and liaison officers who would not otherwise receive training. The BLTS is a prime example of ATSC’s commitment to provide training anytime and anywhere.
CollabWorx is a web-conferencing tool that offers high quality audio and video along with content sharing, whiteboard mark-up capability, chat features, and instant messaging. DoD personnel use CollabWorx to attend online training events and conferences worldwide. Depending upon mission requirements, selecting the right collaboration tool can augment training needs and can provide relief to the organization’s travel budget. DCO is another web-conferencing tool that supports audio, video, and content sharing. It provides collaboration capabilities that include session recording and playback. For more information about DCO and the suite of collaborative tools, visit www.atsc.army.mil/tssreach/. The Reimer Digital Library The Reimer Digital Library (RDL), available at www.train.army.mil/, is an official Army repository for Army training and doctrinal publications, departmental publications, and training products. When ATSC converted many paper-based training products to digital format, it chose the RDL as its electronic library without walls. At the end of 2008, the RDL had 745,000 registered users. The RDL delivers approximately 38 terabytes of training content monthly and provides Soldiers immediate access to thousands of education and training products in support of training and self-development. It is a good example of how the Army benefits from centralized services at the enterprise level. (continued)
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(From Paper to Electrons, continued)
Staff and Faculty Development ETSD manages the Army’s Staff and Faculty Development (SFD) Program. This program ensures that Soldiers, Army civilContracting Support Many dL products designed for Army ians, and contractor personnel directly or use are developed through contracts with indirectly involved in training and educaindustry partners. Within ATSC, ETSD tion have the ability to perform their jobs provides contract support, dL courseware to standard. The SFD Program currently management, and certification of complet- includes 13 core training courses and proed dL products. In 2008, ETSD supported fessional development activities taught via development requirements for 19 propo- resident, VTT and the web. In 2008, ATSC trained over 1,700 nent schools, accountpersonnel who, in turn, ing for the completion went on to teach and of 49 dL courses, "In 2008, ATSC develop training and while overseeing the trained over 1,700 education for Soldiers, continued developcivilians, and partners personnel who, in ment of 42 additional worldwide. courses through the turn, went on to The Staff and FacDistributed Learning teach and develop ulty Development DiEducation and Traintraining and vision (SFDD) within ing Products (DLETP) education for ETSD was instrucontract. Soldiers, civilians and mental in the 2008 Last year, ATSC pilot of the use of the tested 151 final courspartners worldwide." Blackboard™ acaes, 103 modules, 248 demic suite within lessons, and 67 CDTRADOC. Designed ROMs for 26 different as a proof-of-principle proponents and agencies. That oversight resulted in fielded products that operate for 25,000 users, Blackboard™ enrollcorrectly on a myriad of hardware and ments quickly grew to over 400,000 software configurations at schools, instal- users. SFDD managed the online and lations, and homes throughout the world. face-to-face Blackboard™ instructor and These courses are developed to precise domain administrator training sessions Army standards and fielded in support for 282 professionals. Brown bag trainof the Global War on Terror (GWOT), ing sessions for domain administrators leadership training, professional military via Adobe Connect™ helped maintain education, military occupational specialty communication and promote idea-sharing sustainment training, and functional dL among proponent schools who support 1,447 courses and over 90,000 active ustraining requirements for the Army. ers at any time. (continued) 18
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(From Paper to Electrons, continued) The Army Institute for Professional Development The Army Institute for Professional Development (AIPD) governs the Army Correspondence Course Program (ACCP). This program has provided over three decades of self-development training products to Soldiers. The ACCP consists of over a thousand subcourses—think of them as modules—which are matched by subject matter to form over 150 courses. This web-based courseware represents selfpaced instruction covering subject matter as diverse as the Army it supports. In addition to professional development gained from the courses, Active and Reserve Component (RC) Soldiers receive promotion points and RC Soldiers receive credits toward retirement. This year, over 200 subcourses were reviewed to ensure curricula were current and accurate. In 2008, AIPD processed 1.7 million student enrollments in courses and subcourses while maintaining 5 million transcripts. In addition to distributing web-based courses, we also shipped 55,000 hard-copy courses to ensure Soldiers without Internet access could continue their self-development. The Distance Education and Training Council reaccredited AIPD in 2008. ATSC recognizes its responsibility to support relevant training where and when it is needed. The Combat Lifesaver Course (CLC) is an example of a correspondence course that trains Soldiers to treat a wounded comrade while still in the combat area, helping to save lives while
also providing a specialty certification to our Soldiers. A graduate of the CLC learns how to stabilize battlefield casualties until medical personnel arrive. That course is retrained often, placing a high demand on the course materials. In 2008 ATSC processed 61,000 Soldier enrollments for the CLC. The CLC is a great example of how ATSC continues to meet the increased demand for training and training materials, while having an immediate, positive impact on our Armed Forces. What does the future hold? Today’s training environment relies on instant delivery, multitasking faculty, and a student population that expects a challenge. ATSC is meeting that challenge by providing a modern, relevant training infrastructure to support the Soldier and students throughout the world. It is committed to the exploration of how training and technology can serve our Soldiers, civilians, and industry partners throughout the world. Just as General “Blackjack” Pershing had a vision to design and deliver training to students outside brick and mortar classrooms, so does ATSC strive to providing the tools and technology that support student training whenever and wherever they need it.
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs Navigate Regulations while Preserving Your Institution's Reputation
by Dallas Martin and John Phillips Demand for education and training is known to increase during periods of economic downturn. Therefore, the massive economic meltdown that began in the fall of 2008 has created a significant increase in the numbers of people who are seeking additional degrees and skill sets to help them compete in this new and evolving employment market. This environment is exceedingly promising for DETC institutions because their courses and programs can access students when and where it is the most convenient for them. Still, in spite of this seemingly positive expanded customer base, there are new parameters that will affect the educational choices that students make and the institutions in which they enroll. The recent widespread disruption and failings that occurred in the financial markets during the past year are only the latest disclosures that have eroded the public’s distrust of business. Scandals involving major corporations, from Adelphia, ImClone, Health South, Tyco, Enron and others played a significant role in misleading employees and defrauding investors.
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
Entities, including accounting firms, audit committees and regulatory oversight agencies also failed in their responsibilities of issuing timely warnings that would have given more protection to the public. America’s businesses however, are not the only enterprises that have undergone increased public scrutiny. Media accounts charging “conflict of interest” practices from those involved in the delivery of student loans, along with the acceptance of consulting fees, free travel and expensive gifts by a few individuals, have cast an unfair perception on the ethical standards and practices of financial aid administrators across the country. Other news reports have called into question recruitment practices at institutions, particularly some online and/or for-profit institutions, may have misled students about the quality of instruction they were to receive and their chances for future gainful employment in their selected career field. While such action at a institution cannot be condoned—and does not represent how business actually is conducted at the vast (continued)
(Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs, continued)
major U.S. industries, institutions, and the economy being reshaped primarily by the government. The obvious goal of these majority of institutions—public disclosure interventions has not only been to reverse of even a single institution’s dishonest the current economic recession, but also to practices creates an aura of suspicion foster desirable business practices that will that unfairly taints everyone else in the lead to increased innovation, productivity, same field of endeavor. These incidents and quality of life for all citizens. also leave false impressions in the minds Then consider the broad array of pressof other potential students who are con- ing public policy challenges, ranging from sidering similar types developing adequate of institutions, and in sources of renewable turn, cause them to ask "...[P]ublic disenergy, expanding and more questions and reforming health care, closure of even a to do more comparaprotecting private pensingle institution's tive shopping before sions, safeguarding our dishonest practices making an enrollment environment, insuring creates an aura decision. affordable housing, of suspicion that Further, each of and improving food these revelations has safety—as well as unfairly taints also fueled the public’s expanding access to everyone else in clamor for more reguquality education and the same lation and more overtraining. endeavor." sight, and, as the noise Effectively regrew, well-intentioned sponding to this plethpoliticians hurriedly ora of public chalintroduced new legislation which they lenges is not going to be achieved by the believed would insure increased consumer government acting on its own. We need protection by adding new requirements instead a renewed partnership where the designed to increase transparency and government will offers meaningful incenaccountability. tives to business and other organizations Given these factors and the course that will insure that all parties are working of events which have unfolded over the together to fulfill their defined roles, therelast few years, it came as no surprise that by contributing positively to the greater the Higher Education Opportunity Act benefit of their respective customers, and President Bush signed on August 14, 2008, in turn to society as a whole. focused more on increased institution Given this emerging national operating compliance and reporting requirements system, and a less trusting pool of potential than on taking meaningful steps to expand customers, what should DETC-accredited educational access and opportunity. institutions do to properly fulfill their Now, a year later, with the new admin(continued) istration of President Obama, we are seeing DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs, continued)
ing prerequisites that may be required, before attempting certain courses? • In short, is your product worthy of the historical “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval?”
mission and safeguard their public and financial reputation? The following are some factors to consider: The first step is to honestly review The third step is to evaluate your curyour institution’s stated mission, goals rent operations and procedures: and objectives: • As a service industry, are your of• What are you trying to achieve? ferings and operations being deliv• Who are you trying to educate? ered to potential and real customers • How is your institution benefiting in a timely and honest manner? society? • Are your admissions, enrollment • Do you have periagreement, and tuition odic measurements refund policies clearly and evaluations to explained to all potenshow where you tial and new learners? "In short, is your are meeting your • Does your institution objectives and product worthy of have operating procewhere you need to dures that will not only the historical Good improve? protect the privacy of Housekeeping Seal enrolled individuals’ of Approval?" The second step is information, but also to objectively assess protects the quality of your current educathe academic quality tional offerings and of your institution’s courses: online offering? • Can you demonstrate that your course • Has your institution put in place adinstruction is as rigorous as comparable equate safeguards to insure that online subject matter offerings at other on-line enrollees are who they say they are? or on-site institutions? • Is your records system able to fully • Is the course content current and upsupport and defend those who will to-date? insist that they were misled or treated • Are your instructors fully credentialed unfairly? and qualified to teach their defined • Are the costs of your offerings reasonsubject matter? able and do they offer the consumer a • Do you have clearly defined educationfair price for what they are receiving? training goals that the learner can expect to achieve if they satisfactorily comAs an aside, if your institution is not plete the course or program of study? currently participating in the Federal Title • Are students informed of the basic skills IV student assistance programs, you are and knowledge they will need, includ(continued) 22
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(Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs, continued) strongly advised to continue to be a selfstanding quality institution that does not encumber itself with all the requirements and regulations that come with these programs. Since their enactment, the Title IV student assistance programs have increasingly become more regulated with each piece of Congressional legislation. As previously noted, the latest re-authorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 imposed significantly more reporting and compliance requirements upon institutions on top of the already heavy regulatory burden faced by that participating institutions. While we continue to encourage DETC accredited institutions to minimize their participation in the Title IV student assistance programs, particularly the federal student loan programs, we realize that a number of institutions are currently participating in some of these programs. Those institutions should make no mistake that the responsibilities, regulatory burdens, and the cost of doing business will substantially increase with the new legislation. The new Higher Education legislation signed into law last August contains more than 1,000 pages dotted with increased reporting and operating requirements. If your institution currently has an active program participation agreement with the Department of Education to participate in any of the title IV student assistance programs, you need to comply with these changes. The following are some of the new legislative provisions that will affect your institutions:
• Home-schooled students are now included as a part of the definition of an institution of higher education. • Proprietary and vocational institutions may admit students who are concurrently enrolled in a secondary school and a postsecondary institution. • The Secretary of Education must develop a net price calculator to help current and prospective students to estimate their individual net price at the institution they are attending. • Institutions that receive title IV funds will, in the next two years, be required to provide all of their current and prospective students with a net price calculator that will not only reveal their cost of attendance, but the likelihood of the amount and the types of financial aid they will receive while enrolled. • While the new law establishes a new maximum authorized Pell Grant, it also establishes a new minimum grant. • Pell Grant recipients are now eligible to receive two Pell Grants during a single award year if they have accelerated their progress toward a degree. However, such students must be enrolled in a program of instruction that leads to an Associate or Baccalaureate degree. • Students can only receive Pell Grants for up to 18 semesters, or its equivalent, after July 1, 2008. • After July 1, 2010, veteran’s educational benefits will be excluded from being counted in eligibility for student loans. • A new procedure, beginning in October of 2011, will redefine your institution’s cohort default rates. (continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
(Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs, continued) • Institutions participating in the Direct Loan Program are required to provide specific disclosures to borrowers that are mandated by the Department of Education. • Institutions participating in the Perkins Loan Program will find that annual loan limits for undergraduates and graduate students have been increased. • Perkins borrowers who wish to rehabilitate their loans only need to make nine as opposed to twelve on-time payments. • The Secretary of Education is authorized to reduce the number of weeks of instruction for programs that measure program length in credit or clock hours. • Institutions will be allowed to determine that a student has the ability to benefit if the student satisfactorily completes six credit hours or the equivalent course work toward a degree or certificate offered by the institution. • The required exit counseling is expanded to provide detailed terms to borrowers who secure loans to attend the institution. • The new law modifies what proprietary institutions may count as revenue toward their ten percent of non-Title IV revenue. • The new law requires accrediting agencies that have or seek to include the evaluation of distance education programs within the scope of recognition to demonstrate to the Secretary that standards effectively address the quality of distance education in the same 24
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
areas in which it is required to evaluate classroom-based programs. • The new law requires accrediting agencies that recognize institutions offering distance education to adopt a detailed process establishing a student registered for a distance education course is the same student that participates in, completes, and receives credit for the course. This list of legislative requirements is only representative of some of the changes that are in the new law, and many of the more detailed regulatory requirements are still being refined through the negotiated rule-making process and the Education Department’s systematic review. As these new regulations are finalized and published, institutions will have to make many changes and adjustments in their operating procedures. If you are a Title IV institution, then you need to carefully monitor these new requirements. Furthermore, if your institution outsources financial aid operations, make certain the vendor is adhering to these new requirements. Remember that your institution, and not your third-party vendor, is the party responsible and accountable for any and all regulatory requirements pertaining to the Title IV student aid programs. Failure to adhere to these regulatory requirements will not only expose your institution to potential fines or program termination, but also can seriously damage your institution’s reputation. Whether we agree or disagree with the variables that are contained in this new operating system, the reality is if you want (continued)
(Surviving Federal Student Aid Programs, continued) your institution to succeed and prosper, you need to have conducted an objective and honest evaluation of all facets of your institution. Finally, ask yourself and your staff the following five questions: • Is our institution providing our students with the quality of education/training that we advertised and promised? • Are we helping to improve the quality of life for the majority of our students? • Are we taking steps to make our institution and its educational offerings the most valued and respected in the nation? • Are we fully compliant with all of the requirements that we are required to meet? • Are our institution’s overall operations equal to or exceeding the standards required by the Distance Education and Training Council? If you and your staff can respond affirmatively to these five questions, you are well on your way to meeting the challenges that lie ahead. Dr. Dallas Martin retired from his role as President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) in July of 2008 after 32 years of service. Prior to joining NASFAA, he served as Director of Program Planning and Administration for the Division of Student Assistance with the American College Testing (ACT) Program. He received
a Ph.D. in College Student Personnel Administration in 1971 from the University of Northern Colorado, where he also served as Associate Dean of Student Services. Dr. John Phillips is Senior Partner of the Higher Education Management Group (HEMG Ltd)—with offices in McLean, VA and Rehoboth Beach, DE. His career included Managing Partner of Higher Education Practice for two International Management Consulting firms (1986-95); Founding President of National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities–NAICU (1976-86); Assistant U.S. Commissioner for Student Assistance Programs and then Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Postsecondary Education at USOE/DHEW (1971-76); Vice President for Administration at Lewis Clark College in Portland OR (1965-71). He earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees— all in American History—from Williams, Oregon & Stanford (1955-65). Along the way he served a full 12-year term as Accreditation Commissioner for the National Home Study Council—NHSC (1976-88). His career and his life were quite seriously interrupted by a severe hemorrhagic stroke suffered in 1995, from which he devoted eight years to recovery and rehabilitation before joining his spouse, Paula Kuebler, to re-invent HEMG Ltd as a full-service firm. *
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
Accreditation Advice Goes Global U.S. Accreditation Principles and Best Practices Applied to Egyptian Higher Education by Michael Hillyard and Cindy Mathena University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
The Nile River flows through Downtown Cairo.
DETC member institutions’ personnel were instrumental in developing and conducting a four-day Conference on Distance Education from May 11-14, 2009 in the Arab Republic of Egypt’s capital city of Cairo. The Conference was sponsored by the Egyptian National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Education (NAQAAE), which is the Egyptian government’s comprehensive national
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
accreditor for all levels and types of education. The idea to bring U.S. educators together with Egyptian higher education leaders was the brainchild of NAQAAE President, Dr. Magdy Kassem. Dr. Kassem wanted to prepare Egyptian administrators and faculty for the rigors of accreditation, particularly courses and programs delivered online, but he wanted (continued)
(Accreditation Advice Goes Global, continued) to do so without having to “reinvent the wheel” since distance education quality assurance systems are already in place elsewhere around the world. Drs. Michael Hillyard and Cindy Mathena (both of the University of St. Augustine, DETC), and James Flaggert (Stratford University, ACICS) provided 15 presentations and small-group breakout sessions, the topics of which included distance education accreditation, program management, case studies, legal issues, quality assurance, faculty and staff, marketing and public relations, research, technology, partnerships, tuition and fees, course construction, curriculum management, retention, fraudulent credentialing and diploma mills, identity assurance, plagiarism, and library and learning resources issues, among others. Participants found presentations on DETC and ACICS distance education accreditation standards and processes most beneficial to their own understanding of how such standards and processes could be incorporated and adapted for use in Egypt’s quality assurance system. Until this time, most institutions have avoided offering distance education courses (or were instructed not to do so), because there were no national standards in place. When asked how close to U.S. distance education standards Egypt’s institutions might currently be on a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being fully compliant), participants estimated a score between 2-3. Originally scheduled for 37 selected higher education leaders, the Conference’s attendance ballooned to 120 attendees by
the last day. Enthusiasm for the topics ran high, with question and answer periods at the end of presentations typically extending each session well beyond its appointed time. The audience embraced the need for distance education accreditation and its associated quality assurances, and participants were eager to implement the principles and practices inherent in sound distance education systems from around the world. Also of special interest were the Egyptians’ interest in partnering with U.S. institutions to offer joint distance education programs, sending Egyptian undergraduate alumni into U.S. distance education graduate programs, and establishing a formal mechanism through which more U.S. educators could assist Egypt in its ongoing development of distance education and accreditation systems. In the evenings the Conference presenters enjoyed a wonderful cultural education arranged by their gracious Egyptian hosts. Local evening trips incorporated tastes of local Egyptian cuisine, views of the pyramids, haggles for keepsakes in a traditional bazaar, visits to museums with seemingly endless quantities of ancient artifacts [among them King Tutankhamun’s (Tut’s) exhibit], and boat rides down the majestic Nile River. Economically, socially, and culturally, Egypt’s largest city looked to be on the move. Although local television and newspapers reported the national stock market and number one industry (i.e., tourism) in global recessionary decline, there still appeared to be a crane on every corner lifting a modern building, there (continued) DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
From left, Dr. Hamdy Nassar (Vice President, NAQAAE), Dr. Cindy Mathena (Director of Information Technology, University of St. Augustine), Dr. Michael Hillyard (President, University of St. Augustine), Dr. Narymane Elnashar (Director of International Cooperation and Communication, NAQAAE), Dr. James Flaggert (Chief Operating Officer, Stratford University).
was a state-of-the-art international airport terminal opening, and there was a beehive of activity all around Cairo. With the densest population per square kilometer in the world, Cairo traffic ran at a frustrating standstill during the days (and could be heard from hotel rooms throughout the nights). Handheld communications devices, laptop computers, and advertisements for Internet-related services were in eyeshot everywhere one looked and among people across all economic strata. In the world’s most crowded environment, already teeming with accessible technologies, is there any doubt distance education will be in Egypt’s future? 28
DETC NEWS • Fall 2009
And, if distance education will one day rule how Egyptians learn, it is nice knowing that they may do so with the benefit of DETC’s wealth of experience to guide them. The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, in St. Augustine, FL, offers an entry-level doctor of physical therapy, a transitional doctor of physical therapy degree, a transitional doctor of occupational therapy or a Post-Professional Master of Health Science degree. All degree programs require a Bachelor's degree.
Distance Education and Training Council 1601 18th St. NW, Suite 2 Washington, DC 20009 202-234-5100 www.detc.org
DETC NEWS â€˘ Fall 2009