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An Update on the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA):. Fred Lokken Chair, Instructional Technology Council (ITC) & Associate Dean, WebCollege & ASC Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, Nevada. Relevant provisions of the HEOA .

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an update on the higher education opportunity act heoa

An Update on the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA):

Fred Lokken

Chair, Instructional Technology Council (ITC)

&

Associate Dean, WebCollege & ASC

Truckee Meadows Community College

Reno, Nevada

relevant provisions of the heoa
Relevant provisions of the HEOA

Specifics in the HEOA about eLearning (Distance Education) are found in Title I and Title IV of the act

the higher education opportunity act
The Higher Education Opportunity Act
  • Background:
    • Reauthorization of the HEA – signed into law on August 14, 2008 as Public Law 110-315
    • The bill had languished in committee for nearly six years
    • Strong focus on accountability - the act includes more than 50 new “accountability” requirements for higher education impacting financial aid, accreditation – and yes, Distance Education
heoa distance education provisions
HEOA: Distance Education provisions

1.Relevant: Updates definition of distance education, replacing “telecommunications” with “distance education” to read, “the use of one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously.“

2. Not relevant: the Secretary of Education is required to produce an annual report regarding its distance education demonstration projects (no current or future projects are funded).

heoa distance education provisions5
HEOA: Distance Education provisions

3.Relevant: Regional accreditation agencies must:

-1. Demonstrate they have effective standards for evaluating \

program quality.

-2. Create review teams that are well-trained and knowledgeable

with respect to their responsibilities regarding distance education.

-3. Monitor significant growth in distance education enrollment. A

review is required if distance education enrollment increases by 50

percent in one institutional fiscal year.

heoa distance education provisions6
HEOA: Distance Education provisions

4. Not Relevant: The National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council is asked to compare the of quality of distance education with campus-based courses, however Congress does not providing funding for this report.

5.Relevant: Colleges are required to have “processes” that establish that “the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit.”

heoa distance education provisions role of the itc
HEOA: Distance Education provisions – role of the ITC
  • Worked closely with US Senate staff from Senator Harry Reid’s office and Senator John Ensign’s office as well as with a lobbyist from the AACC
  • ITC focused on authentication requirement - it was apparent that the intent of the “authentication” provision was limited to the use of a unique username and password solution and was prompted by concerns with “for-profit” DE providers
heoa distance education provisions role of the itc8
HEOA Distance Education provisions – Role of the ITC
  • The ITC raised five concerns:
    • 1. Why apply to all institutions?
    • 2. Was there data to validate requirement?
    • 3. Risk of errant applications of the language
    • 4. Anticipated high costs for implementing solutions
    • 5. Protecting the privacy rights of students
heoa clarifying language
HEOA: Clarifying Language
  • "The Conferees expect institutions that offer distance education to have security mechanisms in place, such as identification numbers or other pass code information required to be used each time the student participates in class time or coursework on-line. As new identification technologies are developed and become more sophisticated, less expensive and more mainstream, the Conferees anticipate that accrediting agencies or associations and institutions will consider their use in the future. The Conferees do not intend that institutions use or rely on any technology that interferes with the privacy of the student and expect that students' privacy will be protected with whichever method the institutions choose to utilize."
us department of education rule making phase
US Department of Education Rule-making phase

The HEOA requires the regional accrediting agencies to implement key provisions of the HEOA prior to the issuing of rules by the US Department of Education

us department of education
US Department of Education
  • Has created five functional committees to deal with breadth of issues included in the law
  • Members for each committee recruited via the Federal Registry
  • Committees began meeting in March
  • Committees continue to meet – committee charged with Distance Education completed their work as concerns Distance Education as of May 20th
committee language
Committee Language

602.17 Application of standards in reaching an accreditation decision.

(g) Requires institutions that offer distance education or correspondence education to have processes in place through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit. The agency

(1) Requires institutions to verify the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using, at the option of the institution, methods such as --

  • (i) A secure login and pass code;
  • (ii) proctored examinations; and
  • (iii) New or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification;

(2) Makes clear in writing that institutions must use processes that protect student privacy and notify students of projected additional student charges associated with verification of student identity, if any , at the time of registration or enrollment.

committee language13
Committee Language

600.2 Definitions

Correspondence course:

(1) A course provided by an institution under which the institution provides instructional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructor. Interaction between the instructor and the student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student. Correspondence courses are typically self-paced.

(2) If a course is part correspondence and part residential training, the Secretary considers the course to be a correspondence course.

(3) A correspondence course is not considered distance education.

committee language14
Committee Language

602.16 Accreditation and preaccreditation standards.

(c) If the agency has or seeks to include within its scope of recognition the evaluation of the quality of institutions or programs offering distance education or correspondence education, the agency's standards must effectively address the quality of an institution's distance education or correspondence education in the areas identified in (a) (1). The agency is not required to have separate standards, procedures, or policies for the evaluation of distance education or correspondence education;

committee language15
Committee Language

602.3 Correspondence Education means:

 (1) Education provided through one or more courses by an institution under which the institution provides institutional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructor.

(2) Interaction between the instructor and the student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student.

(3) Correspondence courses are typically self-paced.

(4)Correspondence education is not distance education.

 Distance education means education that uses one or more of the technologies listed in paragraphs (1) though (4) to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously. The technologies may include –

(1) The internet

(2) One-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices;

(3) Audioconferencing, or

(4) Video cassettes, DVDs, and CD-ROMs, if the cassettes, DVDs, or CD-ROMs are used in a course in conjunction with any of the technologies listed in paragraphs (1) through (3).

regional accrediting agencies
Regional Accrediting Agencies
  • Will implement the language drafted by the rule-making committee
  • Separate to this: WCET (www.wiche.edu) drafted a set of best practices – shared with ITC (its membership) which made several additions – Creative Commons document of Best Practices re authentication
heoa where we are
HEOA: where we are…

Some venders have seized the opportunity to take advantage of confusion over what the HEOA requires –

But rule-making has ensured institutional flexibility to determine what is appropriate

impact of the heoa on distance education
Impact of the HEOA on Distance Education

1.Campuses will need to establish a unique username/ password solution if they have not already done so (ITC Annual Survey for 2008 found that 96% of institutions report they already do this)

2.Campuses will eventually need to expand beyond this standard based on anticipated accreditation expectations and improving solutions

3. Anticipated increased attention to academic integrity issues

the issue of academic integrity
The issue of academic integrity
  • From the ITC Annual Survey 2008:

“Clearly, an undercurrent of the discussion is the assumption that fraudulent activity is occurring in online courses. Sadly, there is no definitive national data to confirm or refute this assumption. We know that distance education programs are vigilant in monitoring for fraud and dishonesty -- and based on the realities of the HEOA -- programs will have to redouble efforts going forward to ensure course and program integrity.”

what you can do
What you can do…

1. Continue to monitor the rule-making process under the auspices of the US Department of Education (recommendation: turn to leading organizations such as the ITC to obtain regular updates)

2.Begin efforts to know where your campus is re academic integrity – do you have a problem? Develop data/evidence regarding practices you have put in place to ensure academic integrity and to minimize fraudulent activity – work with other institutions to pool data/practices

for more information
For more information:
  • Websites:
    • HEOA/US Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html
    • WCET website: www.wcet.info (WCET has been active on the US Department of Education committee)
    • ITC website: www.itcnetwork.org (includes electronic copy of 2008 national DE survey results and a discussion of the HEOA)
my contact information
My contact information

Fred Lokken

Associate Dean, WebCollege & ASC

Truckee Meadows Community College

Reno, Nevada

(775) 673-7148

flokken@tmcc.edu