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A. WICHE Standards

Domain I: Institutional Context and Commitment

In its content, purposes, organization, and enrollment history if applicable, the program is consistent with the institution’s role and mission.

The appropriate accreditation commission should be notified and consulted whether an electronically offered program represents a major change (for the institution).
The institution’s budgets and policy statements reflect its commitment to the students for whom its electronically offered programs are designed.
The institution assures adequacy of technical and physical plant facilities, including appropriate staffing and technical assistance, to support its electronically offered programs.
The internal organizational structure that enables the development, coordination, support, and oversight of electronically offered programs will vary from institution to institution, but ordinarily will include the capability to:

  • facilitate the associated instructional and technical support relationships

  • provide the required informational technologies and related support service

  • develop and implement a marketing plan appropriate for target student population

  • assure compliance with copyright law

  • contract for products and out-source services

  • assess and assign priorities to potential future projects

  • assure that programs and courses meet institution-wide standards

  • maintain appropriate academic oversight

  • maintain consistency with the institution’s academic planning and oversight functions

In its articulation and transfer policies the institution judges courses and programs on their delivery outcomes, and the resources brought to bear for their achievement, not on modes of delivery.

The institution strives to assure a consistent and coherent technical framework for students and faculty. When a change in technologies is necessary, it is introduced in a way that minimizes the impact on students and faculty.
The institution provides students with reasonable technical support for each educational technology hardware, software, and delivery system required in a program.
The selection of technologies is based on appropriateness for the students and the curriculum.
The institution seeks to understand the legal and regulatory requirements of the jurisdictions in which it operates, e.g., requirements for services to those with disabilities, state and national requirements for institutions offering (such) programs, etc.

Domain II: Curriculum and Instruction

The institution assures that the program of study results in the level of learning outcomes appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the degree awarded.

The substance of the program, its presentation, management, and assessment are the responsibility of people with appropriate academic qualifications.
The institution provides a coherent plan for the student to access all courses (or hybrid courses) necessary to complete the program, and clearly notifies students of requirements not included in the electronic offering.
Although important elements of a program may be supplied by consortium partners or out-sourced to other organizations, including contractors, the responsibility for performance remains with the institution awarding the degree.
The importance of appropriate interaction (synchronous or asynchronous) between instructor and students and among students is reflected in the design of the program and its courses, and in the technical facilities and services provided.

Domain III: Faculty Support

The institution and its participating faculty have considered issues of workload, compensation, ownership of intellectual property resulting from the program, and the implications of program participation for the faculty member’s professional evaluation processes. This mutual understanding is based on policies and agreements adopted by the parties.

The institution provides an ongoing program of appropriate technical, design, and production support for participating faculty.
The institution provides to those responsible for program development the orientation and training to help them become proficient in the uses of the program’s technologies, including potential changes in course design and management.
The institution provides to those responsible for working directly with students the orientation and training to help them become proficient in the uses of the technologies for these purposes, including strategies for effective interaction.

Domain IV: Student Support

The institution has a commitment (administrative, financial, and technical) to continue the program for a period sufficient to enable all admitted students to complete the degree in a publicized timeframe.

Prior to admitting a student to the program, the institution assures that the student by prior education or equivalent experience is qualified to be admitted, including language skills required.
Prior to admitting a student to the program, the institution informs the prospective student about:

  • required access to technologies used in the program and the technical competence required of students

  • estimated program costs and associated payment policies

  • curriculum design, timeframe of course offerings, and learning objectives.

  • library and other learning services available and how to access them

  • arrangements for interaction with the faculty and other students

  • independent learning expectations

The institution recognizes that appropriate services must be available for students of electronically offered programs, using the working assumption that these students will not be physically present on campus (e.g., services related to registration, testing, financial aid, academic advising, access to grievance procedures, labs, library, etc.).

The institution recognizes that a sense of community is important to the success of many students, and that an ongoing, long-term relationship is beneficial to both student and institution.

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