UH departments considering distance delivery of a new or existing academic program should refer to specific procedures for their campus as outlined below.
WASC is one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. The Western region covers institutions in California and Hawaii, the territories of Guam, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Pacific Basin, and East Asia, and areas of the Pacific and East Asia where American/International schools or colleges may apply to it for service. The oversight of WASC's accrediting activities is done by three Commissions, each dedicated to a different level of education:
WASC Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC ACSCU) is responsible for the evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of colleges and universities offering the baccalaureate degree and above. In accrediting colleges and universities at this level, WASC considers a substantive change one that may significantly affect an institution’s quality, objectives, scope or control or triggers conditions established in federal law. Examples of substantive changes related to distance education are:
WASC defines distance education as: education that uses one or more of the technologies listed below to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously. The technologies include:
WASC approval of the substantive change is required PRIOR to the start of a distance program. (Substantive Change Manual, A Guide to Substantive Change Policies and Procedures, 2012).
Procedures and processes regarding the approval of distance delivered programs are posted on the UH Mānoa Distance Education website.
These guidelines are based on current UH Hilo practice with the expectation that future faculty discussion will lead to a comprehensive definition and guidelines. The approval guidelines for a UH Hilo Distance Learning Online Program that is based on an existing UH Hilo program will be revised with the establishment of the UH Hilo Distance Learning Task Force in the Fall 2010.
For information on proposing new online programs, please contact Cynthia Yamaguchi, DL Contact, at (808) 932-7652 or email@example.com.
For information on WASC substantive change review and proposals, please contact Seri Luangphinith, Accreditation Liaison Officer, at (808) 932-7217 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A UH Hilo Distance Learning Online Program is a degree, certificate, or licensure program that is based on an existing UH Hilo program that is offered in distance modalities by a UH Hilo department for which admission requirements are established and to which students must apply and be admitted by department faculty. The Office of Academic Affairs and the Dean of the College in which the department is housed must recognize the status of these programs.
Department faculty identifies an instructional need and the intent to meet the need by distance modalities. Faculty are the advocates and the designers of the online program. The program faculty should be prepared to address the following:
The University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu is committed to developing distance education programs, concentrations, and certificates. Currently over 30% of our classes are offered in a distance modality. If a program already exists and courses have been approved for face-to-face classes, then the approval process to offer that program as Distance Education (DE) depends on whether there will be a need to submit a substantive change report to WASC, which would only be in the case of a program offering more than 50% of its coursework as DE. The internal DE approval process is not dependent on the percentage of DE coursework. The internal approval process is as follows:
Those programs that offer more than 50% of their coursework as DE have to submit a substantive change report to WASC as an additional requirement for approval. Only those programs that intend to have more than 50% of their coursework as DE will have to submit this report.
For information on proposing new online programs, please contact Terri Ota at (808) 454-4823 or email@example.com.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) includes the definition of distance education, based on language from the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA, Sec. 103, a.19.A & B), in its Substantive Change Manual (August 2015):
Distance education is defined, for the purposes of accreditation review, as a formal interaction which uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and which supports regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously. Distance education often incorporates technologies such as the Internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; audio conferencing; or video cassettes, DVDs, and CD-ROMS, in conjunction with any of the other technologies. (p. 31)
ACCJC's website has: an explanation of substantive change, the current Substantive Change Manual for campuses to use when preparing a proposal, the current Distance Learning Manual, and a timeline for the proposal process. In addition to covering a change in an institution's mission, geographic region or other specified category, substantive change includes a "Change in Courses or Programs or their Mode of Delivery that Represents a Significant Departure from Current Practice." For distance learning, an institution is required to submit a proposal when there is an "Addition of courses that constitute 50% or more of a program offered through a mode of distance or electronic delivery." Institutions are encouraged to review both manuals and the Substantive Change Policy that is included as Appendix A of the Substantive Change Manual and in the last section of the Distance Learning Manual.
To help institutions prepare proposals, the ACCJC Substantive Change Manual includes:
To request a copy of an approved Substantive Change proposal, please contact Peter Quigley, contact for UH Community Colleges' accreditation initiatives, at (808) 956-3869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.