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Policy Statement - 03-11 Academic Technology and the Mode of Instruction

Academic Technology and the Mode of Instruction

This new policy was recommended by the Academic Senate on May 1, 2003 
and approved by the President on June 17, 2003.


Academic technology provides a variety of communication modes that do not depend on face-to-face contact. These modes of communication differ qualitatively from earlier attempts at distance communication because academic technology enables meaningful and timely interaction between faculty and students. Used properly, these new communication modes may allow the University to achieve its mission more fully by allowing exploration of effective instruction and by addressing such factors as large densely populated urban service areas, dispersed student population, expected enrollment growth, and limited space on campus. Used improperly, technology-based communication may dilute the quality of instruction. The purpose of this policy is to protect the quality and climate of the educational environment as we move to incorporate academic technology into the mainstream of instruction at California State University, Long Beach. This document sets forth some foundational 
structures needed to facilitate such a substantial change in pedagogy. It shall apply to all credit-bearing courses and programs offered by California State University, Long Beach. This policy does not favor any one mode of communication for use in teaching and learning. 

In recognition of the rapid pace of technological development and the significant nature of the changes proposed in this document, the Academic Senate shall review this policy regularly at three year intervals as long as such review is needed.

Definition of Terms

1. Academic Technology refers to the subset of telecommunication, multi-media, and information technology that is dedicated to supporting teaching and learning.

2. A Course refers to an approved unit of curriculum that appears in the catalog.  A Class or Course Offering is an instance of a course that appears in the schedule of classes.

3. Supplemental Tool refers to the use of a special medium such as Academic Technology to disseminate course materials or to conduct class activities in or out of the classroom.  While use of supplemental tools may have a significant impact on the learning experience, they usually do not change the scheduling of classes.

4. The Instructional Mode of a class refers to the structural aspects of a course that have a major influence on the scheduling of classes. Established rubrics for instructional mode include the seminar, discussion class, activity class, laboratory, lecture/discussion, field supervision, and studio. This policy introduces four additional rubrics for instructional mode:  traditional, hybrid, local online, or distance education.

5. A Traditional Class is a course offering that depends on face-to-face contact such as lecture, discussion, demonstration, and direct exchange of materials as the primary method of communication.  It is usually scheduled in a classroom, laboratory, or studio. Such an offering may or may not use technology as a supplemental tool.  When a course is offered in a traditional format, the class-scheduling pattern for a traditional class is considered to be the standard scheduling format for the course.

6. A Hybrid Class is a course offering that depends on both academic technology and face-to-face contact as significant components of communication between student and instructor and among students. One-third to two-thirds of the student/faculty and student/student contact time uses academic technology to structure remote activities. The remaining communication is face-to-face, similar to a traditional class.

7. A Local Online Class (LOC) is a course offering in which the majority of the instruction occurs when the student and instructor are not in the same place.  A Local Online Course uses Academic Technology to mediate most teaching and learning, but it may require up to two hours of face-to-face meetings per unit on the California State University, Long Beach campus within the given semester.  These face-to-face class meetings may be used for activities such as orientation, special 
in-class presentations, exams, or other in-class proofs of competency.

8. A Distance Education Class is a course offering in which communication between faculty and student occurs primarily via academic technology, but it may also include off-site meetings. Distance Education courses have no class meetings on the California State University, Long Beach campus. These course offerings may vary significantly by Program.

Note: Descriptions of each of the above designations shall be included in all University publications that describe course content and class scheduling.

General Principles 

1. Traditional, hybrid, and local online or distance education course offerings are all recognized as legitimate instructional modes offered by California State University, Long Beach.

2. The faculty of departments and colleges shall govern all decisions related to the instructional mode of courses.

3. The instructional mode has a significant impact on the learning experience in a class. Thus, departments and colleges shall consider this impact explicitly as part of their curriculum approval and review processes.

4. The same course may be approved for more than one mode of instruction. If a course is offered in multiple sections, then different sections may have different modes of instruction. All instructional modes approved for a given course shall meet equivalency criteria established by the department and shall be subject to review by the college.

5. In scheduling multiple section courses, the department and college shall determine the number of classes offered in each approved instructional mode.

6. When a class has been advertised in the schedule of classes as using a particular mode of instruction, the university will undertake all reasonable efforts to offer that class in that mode. However, departments may make adjustments to the advertised mode of instruction to accommodate the late assignment of instructional faculty, changes in the availability of facilities and resources, or other necessities that arise after a schedule has been published.

7. To preserve academic quality, the class size must be appropriate for the student learning activities associated with the course. The presumption is that courses offered by hybrid, local online, or distance education should have class size limits that do not exceed those of traditional sections of the same course. Exceptions to this principle may be approved on a case-by-case basis using the curriculum approval processes of the department and college.

8. All online materials created for use in instruction at California State University, Long Beach shall be accessible to all instructors, assistants, and students affiliated with the class regardless of ability or disability. Such materials must be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and all California State University, Long Beach policies on Internet Accessibility.

9. The mode of instruction of a given course shall not restrict the communication between instructors and students or between students and students in the same class. In particular, all classes that provide less face-to-face contact than a traditional class of the same course shall provide the opportunity for substantial, personal, and timely interactions between faculty and students and among students.

10. The University shall publish the mode of instruction and technological requirements of each course prior to the offering of the course. Whenever possible, this information will appear in the Schedule of Classes and in all online updates to the Schedule.

11. The campus will adhere to standards for academic technology uses in traditional, hybrid, and local online or distance education courses provided by accreditation bodies and the CSU System.

Curriculum and Instruction/Evaluation

1. The mode or modes of instruction for a new course or program shall become part of each new curriculum proposal.  The instructional mode shall be approved  under the normal curricular approval process and subject to the principles set forth in this policy.

2. All courses that use hybrid and local online or distance education course delivery shall discuss the following issues in the course syllabus/outline:

a. How will professors communicate with students and how will students communicate with each other?

b. How is online participation assessed and graded?

c. How will the instructor monitor the online activities of students?

d. How will standards of appropriate online behavior be maintained?

e. What level of technical competence is required of students?

f. What are the minimum computer hardware and software requirements for the class, and what department, college, or University facilities are available to support these requirements for students who cannot afford to buy the technology?

g. What are the alternative procedures for submitting work in the event of technical breakdowns?

h. What are the on-campus meeting requirements, if any?

i. How is academic honesty enforced? 

3. A new course may be approved for one mode of instruction and not approved for other modes of instruction. 

4. For existing courses, approval for using a new instructional mode shall by reviewed using the normal curriculum processes of the department and college and shall be subject to the principles set forth in this policy.

5. An existing course may be experimentally offered for a maximum of two semesters using a new instructional mode with the approval of the department chair or the department curriculum committee.  The department and college curriculum processes shall be used to approve subsequent offerings of the same course in the new format. 

6. If a previously certified General Education (GE) course is offered using a new instructional mode, then the course remains GE certified subject to department and college approval and provided that the course meets the essential provisions of the standard course outline that was approved for GE.

7. GE Certification and re-certification should examine and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction in all modes used for a given course.

8. In the event of a dispute regarding the instructional mode of a course, the department chair or designee, the college dean or designee, and the college curriculum committee shall conduct a review of the course and instructional mode in question. In the event a deficiency is uncovered in this process, the course may be sent back to the department for revision. Approval to offer the course in the given instructional mode shall be removed until the deficiencies are addressed and approved by the college curriculum committee.

9. At the program level, periodic program reviews shall evaluate the effectiveness of instruction for all instructional modes in use. Care should be taken to abide by the standards established by the appropriate accrediting agencies and by the CSU System. 

Faculty Rights Relative to Course Instructional Mode 

1. Each instructor is free to choose any approved mode of instruction for a course to carry out a course assignment.  However, the instructor's request to offer a course in a particular mode may be denied if it is made after the Schedule of Classes has been 

2. Faculty shall have full control of the content of their technologically created course materials at the time of production, at 
any time during their use, and thereafter.

3. No institution or person shall sell, retransmit, modify, or otherwise reuse course-related materials produced by a member of the faculty for any purpose without the written consent of the faculty member.

4. The university shall offer the necessary training and support services for faculty teaching with Academic Technology.

Student Rights Relative to Course Instructional Mode

1. Student access to the faculty shall not be reduced by the instructional mode of a class.

2. The University shall make every effort to inform students of the mode of instruction and technological requirements of a course offering before the student enrolls in the class.

3. Matriculated students enrolled in non-traditional classes shall have access to on-site academic advising services at California State University, Long Beach.

4. All students have equal access to the library and other on-site learning resources offered at California State University, Long Beach.

5. Students in non-traditional classes shall have reasonable support services. These include:

a. Phone-based and online technology help to handle student questions and to refer students to appropriate available services for hybrid and local online or distance education courses;

b. Online and phone-based access to university administrative services;

c. Online dissemination of information describing the resources available for obtaining the technical competence needed to succeed in a specific course offering;

d. Online access to the library research databases and other research related resources. 

6. The University shall provide adequate technical support for academic technology.


Support for Academic Technology: Facilities and Resources

1. Consistent with the mission of California State University, Long Beach, funding for all instructional modes for courses shall be provided as needed and shall be subject to the decisions of the Division of Academic Affairs.

2. Faculty members who use University-supported resources shall not be held responsible for the technical support of these resources.

3. Faculty choosing to use non-University-supported resources, such as third-party servers and non-University-supported software, shall state in their syllabi that the University will not provide technical support for those resources and that the University does not endorse any products which may be advertised through those resources. These faculty members are responsible for compliance with all principles of this policy, including, without limitation, technical support for students and adherence to the Americans for Disabilities Act and all California State University policies on Internet access.


Academic Integrity

1. The academic integrity of a course is ultimately the responsibility of the faculty member. Consistent with University Policy Statement 85-19, Cheating and Plagiarism, reasonable safeguards shall be in place to ensure academic honesty regardless of the instructional mode.

2. The University shall maintain a variety of assessment tools designed to support faculty efforts to enforce academic integrity in hybrid and in local online or distance education classes.

3. The University shall provide information for faculty involved in Academic Technology that describes the variety of assessment tools available for student work in non-traditional classes, the relative level of security of these assessment tools, and any existing methods for limiting cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty when using these tools. 

EFFECTIVE: Fall 2003