Distance Education Policy
Report of the College Senate Instruction and Research Committee concerning a Policy Statement for Distance Education at the State University College of New York at Buffalo December 4, 2001
It is recognized that the offering of distance education courses/programs has the potential to significantly affect this institution's student population, curriculum, and modes as well as venue of instruction. While the technologies involved in distance education are constantly changing, for the purpose of this document it is sufficient to recognize that their use takes three broad forms. In one case, distance education technology is utilized for providing course information, but the course otherwise remains fundamentally unchanged from the traditional format. Alternatively, the use of distance education technology can fundamentally alter the course. For instance, this might include online interactivity with the class. Another form would be a course that is entirely offered via the Web. The current recommendations are designed to apply to either form of distance education.
- Academic Standards
- All courses offered through distance education formats must meet the academic quality standards set by the SUNY College at Buffalo. No fundamental distinction exists between the review and approval processes for traditional and distance education courses.
- Course enrollments for distance education classes will be determined in the same manner that enrollments in traditional classes are approved.
- Rights and Responsibilities of the University and Faculty and Students
- Policies in place for issues such as establishing class size, evaluating staff, and making assignments apply to courses taught in a distance education format and do not need to be altered simply based on the technology associated with the instruction. However, until distance education is more widely practiced at Buffalo State, tenure and other reviews of faculty/staff with extensive involvement in distance education will include input from individuals with distance learning expertise to the extent practicable.
- Academic and professional employees will be provided with opportunities to learn the technology necessary to conduct distance education courses they are asked to teach.
- All offering of distance education courses will be determined in the same manner as on-campus courses.
- Course-related materials, including but not limited to computer files, data, disks, electronic mail, and local area network communication, for distance education classes should be as confidential as the medium allows consistent with appropriate student access and SUNY and state policy.
- It is understood that faculty members will continue to create traditionally expected course-related materials, such as syllabi, assignments, and tests, for students in their program or department regardless of the method of dissemination, and use of such materials in classroom/instruction will be without the expectation of royalty payments (refer to the section dealing with intellectual property rights).
- If a specific technology is needed for a course, students must be informed in the class schedule of hardware requirements, software requirements, and the prerequisite level of computer expertise necessary.
- Students can expect to receive adequate, personal, and timely interaction with faculty members and, where appropriate, fellow students in distance education courses.
- Students in residence at Buffalo State who are required to take distance education courses are provided with campus-based Internet access. Students taking courses at a distance are expected to have their own Internet access.
(Please note: Section III was approved by the Senate on October 20, 2000; only minor word changes have been made in this revision)
Specific Rights and Responsibilities Related to Intellectual Property and Copyright of Distance Learning Course Materials at Buffalo State College
All copyrights to any works (including intellectual creations stored on printed page, videotape, CD-ROM, or any other medium) produced by academic or professional employees will be assigned using the definitions of and according to the Policies of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York.
- Except as limited below in paragraphs III B2 and B3, it is understood that intellectual property created by a faculty member or professional employee will remain the property of the faculty member or professional employee for perpetuity or so long as the law allows. Thus,
- Any rebroadcast or redistribution of materials developed by academic or professional employees will require permission from the individuals who created the materials.
- A distance education course, like any other course, is the intellectual property of the faculty member who creates it, and the use of such property is contingent upon gaining the permission of the individual who created the course.
- Permission to revise or use recorded distance education classes and related materials can be granted only by the instructor responsible for its production.
- Where two or more individuals are involved in the planning, design, or composition of a distance education course, it is recommended that the parties involved assign ownership through contractual agreement.
- The college is the sole owner of intellectual property when it expressly directs a faculty member or professional employee to create a specified work, or the work is created as a specific requirement of employment, such as might be included in a written job description.
- The college and the faculty member or professional employee are joint owners of intellectual property when the college has contributed support and/or facilities that go beyond what is traditionally provided. Such arrangements should be clarified through contractual agreement.
Distance education resources will be adequate to meet external accreditation standards. More specifically, Buffalo State will, within the available budget:
- Provide academic and professional employees with appropriate instructional technologies for distance education classes.
- Provide instructors with needed supplies as well as clerical, technical, instructional design, computing, multimedia, and library support services.
- Implement a series of development activities for academic and professional employees to encourage them to examine educational possibilities in distance learning and to receive training in the use of various technologies. The purpose of the activities is to improve teaching effectiveness and competence and increase employees' comfort level with the pedagogy and technology of distance education.
- Provide distance education students with access to appropriate library resources, technological assistance, and student support services.
Text of policy from The Bulletin, September 12, 2002