Millersville University, Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate Minutes
December 2, 2003
||Distance Learning Approval Process
||Robert K. Wismer, Senator, Chemistry Department
||2 December 2003
I propose that the approval process for distance learning be modified
slightly. The current policy reads: "6.d.3. If the DL course is a
new course, it continues through the University course approval process.
If it is an existing course, departmental approval is sufficient."
I propose that the last sentence becomes, "If it is an existing
course, the addition of the DL designation is considered a minor change."
Rationale: I make this motion for three reasons.
- The first is simplicity. We currently have two methods of approving
course changes, major and minor. Major changes require approval of Faculty
Senate. Minor changes require approval of the school/division curriculum
committee. I believe that UCPRC made a mistake and created potential
confusion in creating another method of approval.
- When UCPRC was asked to craft a DL policy, the committee needed to
educate itself about distance learning. A major concern that arose at the
beginning of our education was that Millersville faculty might be overly
enthusiastic in presenting courses via distance learning. We were
concerned that quality might erode. That does not seem to have happened.
UCPRC did not consider the appearance that quality was eroding. With
several DL courses, there has been concern among faculty outside the
originating department of the quality of the offering. In virtually all of
these cases, an explanation of the content of the course has allayed the
concerns. In other words, merely explaining the content of the course and
its mode of offering to a wider audience can put concerns to rest.
The curriculum committee approval process offers that wider
audience, and it also provides an immediacy of action that Faculty Senate
approval does not.
- Approval by division/school curriculum committee also assures that
the DL proposal is fully thought through. One's departmental colleagues
are apt to approve a proposal based upon the proposer's known ability as
an instructor in the discipline. The school/divisional curriculum
committee focuses more on the proposal itself and ensures that it will
persuade a wider audience as being academically viable. (I write this as
the author of a recent proposal that was substantially approved by its
review by school curriculum committee.)
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