Distance Education

Policies for Distance Education at Gordon State College

I. Defining Distance Education

Gordon State College uses the federal and SACSCOC definition of distance education as follows:

"Distance education is a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may use the Internet" ( https://sacscoc.org/app/uploads/2019/07/DistanceCorrespondenceEducation.pdf ).

II. Course Definitions

  1. Online Distance Education Course
    Technology is used to deliver between 51% and 100% of class sessions.
  2. Hybrid Distance Education Course
    Technology is used to deliver 50% or less of the class sessions of the course, but at least one face-to-face class session is replaced by technology.

III. Verification of Student Identity in Distance Education Courses

Gordon State College must comply with the provisions of the United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Public Law 100-315 concerning the verification of student identity in distance education.

All credit bearing courses and programs offered through distance education must verify that the student who registers for a course or program is the same student who participates in the course or program, completes the course or program and receives academic credit. One or more of the following methods will be used for verification purposes:

  1. Upon admission to Gordon State College all students are required to present identification either in person or through a notarized copy.
  2. Upon admission to Gordon State College all students are issued a unique personal login and a password in order to access email, registration, Brightspace by Desire2Learn, etc.
  3. Students will present their Gordon State College ID for proctored examinations. In each online section there must be at least one proctored assessment that constitutes a significant portion of the course grade.
  4. All the fees required for student identity verification will be posted in course schedule online.
IV. Student Privacy Protection in Distance Education Courses

Regardless of the method used, student identity verification must protect the privacy of student information. Students must be notified at the time of registration or enrollment of any fees associated with the verification of their identity.

  1. Student privacy in Distance Education courses will be protected by the following hierarchy of access to student information:
  1. Administrators who have access to all components of D2L to troubleshoot on behalf of students or instructors.
  2. Instructors who have access to build content in their allotted shells and to view the grades of all students enrolled in the shell.
  3. Students who have access to view content (but not edit) and to access their grades but not other students' grades.
  4. Observers who have access to view content (but not edit content) and to view grade setup but not individual grades or names of students. This role is used for online evaluation by division chairs/deans. While observers can see content and course structure,individual student information is unavailable.
    b. All the fees required for student privacy protection will be posted in course schedule online.
V. Distance Education Course Requirements
  1. Each online or hybrid section will address the same learning objectives as the comparable course delivered in a traditional classroom setting, with textbook and syllabus that support those learning objectives.
  2. Each online section will be available for review by academic leadership of the academic unit and college as well as review by any other offices developed to support and improve online instruction (e.g., Instructional Technology & eLearning Committee).
  3. The maximum capacity of online or hybrid courses will be the same as of face-to-face courses.

VI. Distance Education Faculty Requirements

  1. Faculty will respond to student emails within a 24-hour period, except on weekends and holidays.
  2. Faculty will meet all usual deadlines for administrative paperwork set by Gordon State College.
  3. Faculty will teach the course for the complete session dates.
  4. Faculty will permit only registered and paid students to access the course account.
  5. Faculty will have access to a working computer, Internet connection and a backup plan in the event of computer malfunction.
  6. Faculty will utilize Brightspace by Desire2Learn to deliver online and hybrid courses. With the approval of the Distance Education Committee, alternate secondary delivery platforms may be utilized.
  7. Faculty who have not previously been approved to teach online or hybrid courses will first seek approval from their department heads or deans before completing the necessary steps to gain certification to teach online or hybrid courses.
  8. Only certified faculty will teach online or hybrid courses.

VII. University System of Georgia eCore Distance Education

Gordon State College is an affiliate of USG eCore, which provides additional online core curriculum options for students. USG eCore coordinates students and faculty support, test proctoring, bookstore, course development and maintenance, faculty preparation, marketing and overall program evaluation. Gordon State College faculty who teach eCore classes will comply with eCore policies and requirements.


Approved by Gordon State College Faculty Senate, February 22, 2016.