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ACCJC DE Standard I.A

Beyond Compliance: Excellence in Distance Education @ SBVC

ACCJC Standard:   I.A.

The institution has a statement of mission that defines the institution’s broad educational purposes, its intended student population, and its commitment to achieving student learning.


ACCJC Guide for Evaluating Distance Education (June, 2013) 

  • How does the institution’s commitment to DE/CE align with its mission? Has the institution considered in consultation with its key constituents if and how DE/CE is congruent with the mission? Does the mission include any statements related to its commitment to DE/CE?
  • Who are the intended students for the courses offered in DE/CE format; are they similar to or different from students studying in traditional learning mode? How does the institution determine its intended student population for courses offered in DE/CE mode?

 Evidence of analysis of how the institution’s mission statement is developed, approved, and communicated to all stakeholders taking the institution’s commitment to distance education and/or correspondence into consideration.

 Evidence of the process used for identifying the students interested in enrolling in DE/CE.  


Beyond Audit and Compliance: DE Excellence at SBVC


Description:

Alignment of Mission:

The ACCJC's Committee on Substantive Change approved SBVC’s Substantive Change Proposal for Distance Education on May 10, 2012 (full Commission approval in June, 2012).  Early in the process of writing that proposal, it became clear that the mission of the college is enhanced by all the various distance education offerings.  In no way does distance education at SBVC change the college’s raison d’etre:  “San Bernardino Valley College provides quality education and services that support a diverse community of learners.”  In fact, distance education addresses two of the college’s recemtplanning initiatives–access and technology.  Distance education uses technology to increase access to educational opportunities for our students. [pdf-excerpts from Substantive Change Proposal dealing with "mission"] [pdf-Committee Letter of Acceptance for Substantive Change Proposal] [pdf-Commission action accepting Substantive Change Proposal]

Because of a recent state mandate to create new "transfer degrees" and because of an increase in classes approved for distance education delivery, SBVC submitted another Substantive Change Proposal to ACCJC in the spring of 2014.  This iteration of that document affirmed, once again, that distance education at SBVC does not alter or change the mission.  Distance education enhances SBVC's mission.[webpage-Substantive Change Proposals, 2012 and 2014] [pdf-Committee Letter of Acceptance for Substantive Change Proposal, 2014]

The affirmation of distance education’s support of the college’s mission is found on SBVC’s web page dealing with online classes, on the Online Program Committee web page,  and also in the planning principles included with in Online Learning Plan crafted by the Online Program Committee.  Furthermore, students taking distance education courses are informed of the alignment of the mission in the  Handbook for Online Students. [webpage-SBVC's Website] [webpage-Online Program Committee web page] [webpage-Online Learning Plan] [webpage-Handbook for Online Students]

Each year, the College Council revisits the issue of the mission of the college.     The Technology Committee is represented on College Council, and the Online Program Committee is represented on the Technology Committee.  The Substantive Change Proposal (May, 2012) included this statement:  "The college will continue to monitor how it communicates its mission and how courses and programs approved for DE delivery support and further that mission."  SBVC continues to do that through the Online Program Committee, the Technology Committee, and the College Council.  In both 2012 and 2013, the Online Program Committee affirmed that the mission of distance education at SBVC is the same as the mission of the college.  In 2013, that affirmation was formally presented to the Technology Committee.  If either the Online Program Committee or the Technology thinks that there are significant changes to the mission of the college because of future developments in technology, then that would be brought to the College Council for their consideration. [pdf-minutes Online Program Committee fall, 2012] [pdf--minutes Online Program Committee, fall, 2013]  [pdf-minutes Tech Committee fall, 2013]

Intended Student Population:

SBVC serves a wide area of southern California.  Distance Education offerings have always been intended to increase access to educational opportunities and to facilitate the completion of degrees and certificates.  There never has been a “separate population” targeted for Distance Education classes.  Although there are occasions when students from outside the area take fully online classes, the vast majority of students live within 30 miles of the campus. There are no marketing activities directed to students outside the service area of the district. The college's vision statement clearly indicates that the intended to focus on the Inland Empire of southern California.  

"The vision statement represents the collective sense of the direction the faculty, staff and administration would like to see the college move over the next decade. The district's Board of Trustees adopted the vision statement on June 13, 2002 and it was last revised on February 28, 2007:

"San Bernardino Valley College will become the college of choice for students in the Inland Empire and will be regarded as the alma mater of successful, lifelong learners. We will build our reputation on the quality of our programs and services and on the safety, comfort, and beauty of our campus. We will hold both our students and ourselves to high standards of achievement and will expect all members of the college community to function as informed, responsible, and active members of society." [webpage--college website]

In the fall of 2012, the Online Program Committee clarified any possible confusion by stipulating that the intended student population for Distance Education courses is identical to the intended student population for all courses.  In the fall of 2013, the Online Program Committee affirmed the elements of the SBVC vision that focused on "students in the Inland Empire" and again stipulated that there is no separate intended population for online classes.  Some students choose to attend classes in the morning on campus.  Some students choose to attend online classes.  Some students attend online classes and on campus classes at the same time.  The Student Satisfaction Survey of Online Learning includes a demographic section asking, among other things, distance between the student's home and campus.  The general pattern of this survey is that approximately 90% of students taking online classes live within 30 miles of campus and 99% live within 50 miles of campus.  The vast majority of students taking online classes live in southern California. [pdf--Online Program Committee minutes from fall 2012] [pdf--Online Program Committee minutes from fall 2013] [webpage-Student Satisfaction Survey


 Evaluation:

The Substantive Change Proposal (approved in May, 2012) was the first step in documenting what had been assumed by the college.  Distance Education was never seen at SBVC as having a different mission.  But this had not been clearly documented.  The Substantive Change Proposal began that process.  Relatively minor actions by the Online Program Committee in 2012 and 2013 further documented what had been assumed.  The Substantive Change Proposal submitted in 2014 once again documented the fact that there is no different mission implicit in the offering of any distance education courses at SBVC. Therefore, it is clear that the college meets and exceeds this ACCJC standard in terms of Distance Education.

Having said that, two things should remain on the agenda in terms of linking mission and Distance Education.  First, if the percentage of "seats" or the percentage of FTES generated by DE sections rises above 20%, then the Online Program Committee will suggest that a dialogue should occur at the College Council level about the mission of the college, its organizational structure, and DE.  Second, if the revitalization of the "California Virtual Campus" gets traction and if SBVC decides to participate in it, then the issue of mission should be addressed at the College Council level.  

To reiterate:  it is the evaluation of SBVC's Online Program Committee that the college meets and exceeds this ACCJC standard in terms of Distance Education.


 

ACCJC Standard: I.A.1

The institution establishes student learning programs and services aligned with its purposes, its character, and its student population.


 ACCJC Guide for Evaluating Distance Education (June, 2013)

  • By what means has the institution investigated that it is relevant for its community that courses are offered in DE/CE mode? How does the commitment to DE/CE align with its learning programs and services offered in traditional teaching format?
  • How does the institution know that its programs and courses offered in distance education mode and/or correspondence education mode and the associated services are addressing the needs of its student population?

 Evidence of analysis of the relevance of DE/CE programs and services for the community.

 List of the institution’s DE/CE courses and programs


Beyond Audit and Compliance: DE Excellence at SBVC


Description:

Title 5 of the California Education Code requires that if any of the instruction of a particular course is intended to be offered by Distance Education, then that course needs to undergo a separate review process.  [55206. Separate Course Approval. If any portion of the instruction in a proposed or existing course or course section is designed to be provided through distance education in lieu of face-to-face interaction between instructor and student, the course shall be separately reviewed and approved according to the district's adopted course approval procedures. NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 66700 and 70901, Education Code. Reference: Sections 70901 and 70902, Education Code] All of the courses approved for Distance Education delivery at SBVC have undergone such scrutiny.  SBVC requires that all courses proposed for Distance Education delivery be separately reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee, a standing committee of the Academic Senate, before being forwarded to the Board of Trustees for final approval.[webpage-Curriculum Committee Handbookhandbook--Click Curriculum Handbook--find DE approval section]

A part of the process for DE approval is to identify the need for the course and the delivery mode.  If the need cannot be demonstrated at the level of the Curriculum Committee, the approval process stops.  So SBVC has built in to its processes the mechanisms to ensure that the course offered in a DE mode addresses the needs of the students.  [pdf-sample DE approval from curriculum showing need]

The Substantive Change Proposal, approved by ACCJC's Substantive Change Committee on May 10, 2012, identified 15 degrees and 20 certificates of achievement that could be completed by a student taking 50% or more of the units via a course approved for Distance Education.  In addition, the proposal identified the four general education pathways that a student can follow to complete an associate's degree.  All four of those pathways have 50% or more of the units approved for Distance Education delivery. The subsequent Substantive Change Proposal approved by the ACCJC in 2014 identified 25 more degrees and two more certificates that could be completed by a student taking 50% or more of the units via a course approved for Distance Education. (That proposal also included five additional certificates that had crossed a 30% threshold of units approved for DE delivery.) [webpage-Substantive Change Proposals, 2012 and 2014]

Those Substantive Change Proposals included job data analysis for all the the certificates.  Such job data analysis is needed by the SBVC Curriculum Committee for approval.   In most of those degrees and certificates, students find online classes and hybrid classes to be a convenient way to complete units toward their degree.  Even when a degree or certificate can be completed by only taking Distance Education courses, the vast majority of the time students "mix and match" on campus and online classes.  To identify a completely separate population for Distance Education classes and a completely separate pathway to a degree or certificate does not match the reality at SBVC.  SBVC knows that the online offerings are relevant to students because the online classes are the first classes to fill in the registration process.  Those classes are in highest demand.  [webpage-List of DE courses]  


Evaluation:

It is clear to the Online Program Committee that SBVC meets this standard.




ACCJC Standard: I.A.3

Using the institution's governance and decision-making processes, the institution reviews its mission statement on a regular basis and revises it as necessary.


ACCJC Guide for Evaluating Distance Education (June, 2013)

  • Has the mission been reviewed to reflect the commitment to DE/CE and what was the rationale for the changes to the statement? How were the changes developed, approved and how does the institution know that they have been communicated effectively to all stakeholders?

  


Beyond Audit and Compliance: DE Excellence at SBVC


Description:

The district's Board of Trustees formally adopted SBVC's mission statement on June 13, 2002.  It was last revised on February 8, 2007.  SBVC's Mission Statement describes the college's reason for being:  "San Bernardino Valley College provides quality education and services that support a diverse community of learners."  This mission statement is found on the cover of the SBVC catalog and on the college website. [webpage-College website]

Each year, the College Council revisits the issue of the mission of the college.     The Technology Committee is represented on College Council, and the Online Program Committee is represented on the Technology Committee.  The Substantive Change Proposal (May, 2012) included this statement:  "The college will continue to monitor how it communicates its mission and how courses and programs approved for DE delivery support and further that mission."  SBVC continues to do that through the Online Program Committee, the Technology Committee, and the College Council.  In both 2012 and 2013, the Online Program Committee affirmed that the mission of distance education at SBVC is the same as the mission of the college.  In 2013, that affirmation was formally presented to the Technology Committee.  If either the Online Program Committee or the Technology thinks that there are significant changes to the mission of the college because of future developments in technology, then that would be brought to the College Council for their consideration.[pdf--minutes Online Program Committee, fall, 2012] [pdf-minutes Online Program Committee fall, 2013]

Faculty have been informed of the fact that DE classes support the mission of the college through the Online Faculty Newsletter.  Students have been informed of the fact that DE classes support the mission of the college through the Online Student Handbook. [pdf-Online Faculty newsletter] [webpage-Handbook for Online Students]


Evaluation:

The evidence is clear that SBVC meets this standard in terms of distance education.