Higher ed groups ask for flexibility with online learning rules

educationdive | February 27, 2019

As regulators and industry representatives hash out a potential future for higher education accreditation, particularly rules governing online learning, three industry groups have put forward their own policy recommendations.Covering topics such as competency-based education (CBE), regular and substantive interaction and state authorization, the policy briefs were written by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) .The trio suggests that while these topics are a focus at the Education Department's ongoing accreditation rulemaking session, congressional action may also be required, such as to develop outcomes-based Title IV eligibility standards for gauging colleges' effectiveness with a wider range of instructional modalities. The groups, which represent workforce-oriented and online education, want colleges to have more freedom to explore educational models such as CBE without losing Title IV eligibility.They say current rules around regular and substantive interaction — the measure of how much contact instructors and students must have in online courses — puts distance education at a competitive disadvantage relative to on-campus instruction. "Incentivize, don't punish, institutions for being innovative and creating programs that expand educational opportunity," they write, asking for "clear regulations" around regular and substantive interaction that are applied "in a uniform way."

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The National College of Education is an independent college of education that is dedicated to raising the status of the teaching profession by providing outstanding professional learning opportunities for all career pathways within education. We believe that all children deserve great teachers, and all teachers need a continuing professional learning journey, so our programmes are available to all schools and teachers, regardless of phase, specialism, location or sector.

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