The U.S. Department of Education has released its final rule on distance learning, which it said would modernize regulations.
“The Department’s regulations regarding distance learning had not kept pace with advances in technology and they created tremendous uncertainty for institutions about what kinds of innovations were permissible, including innovations in team-approaches to instruction,” said a fact sheet about the rule, which will not go into effect until July 1, 2021.
Significant policy changes include:
- Provide flexibility to distance education, competency-based education (CBE), and other types of educational programs that emphasize demonstration of learning rather than seat time when measuring student outcomes.
- Remove confusion about the distinction between distance education and correspondence courses and more clearly define the requirements of “regular and substantive interaction” between students and faculty and the permissibility of engaging instructional teams in the delivery of education through distance learning.
- Allow institutions to respond to students’ educational needs and potentially shorten the time to degree completion and the cost of completing a credential through direct assessment programs by: