A. The Commission shall review a distance education program proposal under the criteria established in Regulation .06 of this chapter.
B. A program proposal for a distance education program shall be submitted by the institution to the Commission before implementation and contain the following information:
(1) The title of the program and the degree or certificate to be awarded;
(2) The resource requirements for the program and the source of funds to support the program for the first 2 years of program implementation;
(3) The need and demand for the program in terms of:
(a) Specific local, State, and national needs for graduates;
(b) Job opportunities that are available to those who complete the program; and
(c) Evidence of market demand through supporting data, including results of surveys that have recently been conducted;
(4) If a similar program is offered within the State, a description of:
(a) Similarities or differences in the degree to be awarded;
(b) Area of specialization; and
(c) Specific academic content of the program;
(5) A description of the method of instructional delivery; and
(6) A brief description of the academic oversight, quality control, and student services to be provided.
C. Principles of Good Practice.
(1) This section applies to distance education and distance education programs offered by an institution of higher education operating in this State that is required to have a certificate of approval from the Commission under COMAR 13B.02.01 or 13B.02.02.
(2) An institution shall provide evidence to the Secretary of compliance with the principles of good practice in this section.
(3) Principles of Good Practice for Distance Education.
(a) Curriculum and Instruction.
(i) A distance education program shall be established and overseen by qualified faculty.
(ii) A program’s curriculum shall be coherent, cohesive, and comparable in academic rigor to programs offered in traditional instructional formats.
(iii) A program shall result in learning outcomes appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the program.
(iv) A program shall provide for appropriate real-time or delayed interaction between faculty and students.
(v) Faculty members in appropriate disciplines in collaboration with other institutional personnel shall participate in the design of courses offered through a distance education program.
(b) Role and Mission.
(i) A distance education program shall be consistent with the institution's mission.
(ii) Review and approval processes shall ensure the appropriateness of the technology being used to meet a program's objectives.
(c) Faculty Support.
(i) An institution shall provide for training for faculty who teach with the use of technology in a distance education format, including training in the learning management system and the pedagogy of distance education.
(ii) Principles of best practice for teaching in a distance education format shall be developed and maintained by the faculty.
(iii) An institution shall provide faculty support services specifically related to teaching through a distance education format.
(d) An institution shall ensure that appropriate learning resources are available to students including appropriate and adequate library services and resources.
(e) Students and Student Services.
(i) A distance education program shall provide students with clear, complete, and timely information on the curriculum, course and degree requirements, nature of faculty/student interaction, assumptions about technology competence and skills, technical equipment requirements, learning management system, availability of academic support services and financial aid resources, and costs and payment policies.
(ii) Enrolled students shall have reasonable and adequate access to the range of student services to support their distance education activities.
(iii) Accepted students shall have the background, knowledge, and technical skills needed to undertake a distance education program.
(iv) Advertising, recruiting, and admissions materials shall clearly and accurately represent the program and the services available.
(f) Commitment to Support.
(i) Policies for faculty evaluation shall include appropriate consideration of teaching and scholarly activities related to distance education programs.
(ii) An institution shall demonstrate a commitment to ongoing support, both financial and technical, and to continuation of a program for a period sufficient to enable students to complete a degree or certificate.
(g) Evaluation and Assessment.
(i) An institution shall evaluate a distance education program's educational effectiveness, including assessments of student learning outcomes, student retention, student and faculty satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness.
(ii) An institution shall demonstrate an evidence-based approach to best online teaching practices.
(iii) An institution shall provide for assessment and documentation of student achievement of learning outcomes in a distance education program.