Distance education at the College is defined as a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous.
A distance education course is any course in which students may complete more than 50% of the requirements through Internet access to the course web site. (Note: The more than 50% rule is the same as that used by the Southern Regional Educational Board.)  A distance education course at the College may be classified as Internet or Hybrid. Web-Enhanced courses are not classified as distance education courses. The definitions for these learning formats are described below:
  • Internet – These courses are 80% to 100% web-based delivered. Science courses may require on-site instruction for labs.
  • Hybrid – These courses are 50% to 80% offered online. (This is defined by the Southern Regional Education Board and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a distance learning format.) Hybrid courses may only be developed by full-time faculty members, but taught by full-time or adjunct faculty members. No stipend is paid for the development of hybrid courses. Hybrid courses adhere to the same review process as Internet classes that are based on the distance learning classification by SREB and SACS.
  • Web-Enhanced – These courses are traditional, seated classes in which: (1) no more than 25% of assignments and course content are completed online and (2) web-enhanced content may not replace the required contact hours. Web-enhanced courses are not classified as distance education courses.

Distance Education Mission Statement

The College has an open-door admissions policy and is committed to the professional and cultural growth of each student without regard to race, color, gender, disability, religion, creed, national origin, or age.  The College strives to provide an educational environment that promotes development and learning through a wide variety of educational programs and instructional strategies, adequate and comfortable facilities, a caring and well-qualified staff, flexible scheduling, and convenient locations.  This effort is based upon the economic and social needs of the College service area.  Through the implementation of distance learning programs, students in the College’s service area can enroll in classes and possibly complete 50-100 percent of degree requirements in an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and/or Associate in Applied Science programs of study online while maintaining a full-time or part-time job.

Curriculum and Instruction

At the College, distance learning has been integrated into many different programs as an additional mode of instructional delivery to assist in accomplishing the College’s current goals, objectives, and planning and evaluation processes. An integral part of the planning and approval process for distance learning at the College is the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee (AISC).  This Committee is composed of faculty members from a variety of academic and technical departments throughout the College.  Initially, in 2005, the College established the Committee as a conduit via which distance learning courses were reviewed prior to being offered online. However, since its inception, the Committee’s responsibilities have been expanded to include proposing policies and procedures regarding all aspects of distance learning.  Specifically, the AISC has the responsibility of evaluating the structure and content of all online courses offered by the College.  Although the course approval process has been modified with minor revisions through the years, it, nevertheless, has retained its essence.  Proposed online courses are approved in accordance with the steps listed below: 

1.  Course Development Request
  • Must be submitted to the Dean of Instruction or Dean of Workforce Development and Technology
  • Must be approved by Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee
2.  Course Development Authorization
  • Must be completed by the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee
  • Instructor/Course developer will receive a copy of this completed form
3.  Course Review for Completion
  • Must be completed by the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee
  • Instructor/Course Developer will receive a copy of this completed form
  • Must be submitted to the Dean of Instruction or Dean of Workforce Development and Technology by the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee Chairperson
  • Must be approved by the Instructional Affairs Committee
Following the extensive review by the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee, the comments and suggestions are forwarded to the Instructional Affairs Committee, which is composed of Instructional  Department Chairs, Deans, and Departmental Managers. The Chairperson of the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee presents each course and revised comments to the members of the Instructional Affairs Committee for further input and suggestions.  Final comments regarding course revisions are then sent back to the Course Developer for the necessary changes to be made prior to the implementation and initiation of the course as an official online course.
Policy on Equivalence
Courses taught in the web-based are equivalent to the same courses taught in the traditional format, in accordance with SACSCOC requirements.

  • Courses developed specifically for web-based delivery must be approved first by the Alternative Instructional Strategies Committee and then submitted to the Instructional Affairs Committee for approval through the curriculum process in the same way as new traditional courses.
  • Instructors delivering courses in Internet-based format must document that the courses have the same syllabi and student-learning outcomes as those for courses that are taught in the traditional, seated format.

Statement on Copyright

Faculty teaching Internet-based courses are expected to be familiar with and abide by all applicable and/or relevant copyright laws. Information about copyright laws is attached.

Intellectual Property Rights

All materials developed by the College instructors are the property of the College and are subject to revision by individual instructors teaching the courses.

Password Protection

All Internet courses are password protected and each student enrolled in the course shall be given a username and password to the course by the distance learning software administrator.

Identification of Students

All Internet courses will have at least one proctored assessment.  A proctored assessment is defined as an examination, assignment, or other verbal assessment of work that is taken in the presence of the instructor, an approved proctor, or via video recording.  Instructors are responsible for choosing the method of assessment for their distance education students. 


The College has adequate faculty resources to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs. All of the College’s full-time faculty members are qualified to teach online classes, as well as all Division Chairs. Also, Division Chairs work within their respective divisions to provide a workload rotation of face-to-face versus online courses, count as regular courses in faculty members’ teaching loads.  Specifically, full-time faculty members are required to teach 15-16 semester credit hours each semester during their 9-month contracts. Adjunct faculty members are not allowed to teach more than 5 courses within an academic year, regardless of the delivery method of traditional or online courses.  Therefore, regardless as to whether instructors are considered full-time or adjunct, their respective workloads are calculated based upon the semester credit hours for the courses they teach.  Online courses and traditional courses have the same semester credit hours and are counted equally when determining instructors’ workload.
The College uses the Blackboard Learning System as the College’s learning management system.  As with instructors teaching traditional courses, all instructors teaching online courses are required to provide contact information to students.  Also, instructors have access to an electronic messaging system between the students and instructors, as well as chat rooms and message fora. However, in the event that students cannot access online courses, all full-time faculty members’ email addresses and telephone numbers are published on the College Website in the faculty directory. For adjunct faculty members’ access, students are informed to contact the Division Chair or the respective Dean of Instruction or Dean of Workforce Development and Technology.
Institutional Effectiveness
The College continues to maintain overall effectiveness and quality in distance learning courses via several different ways. First, the College uses standard course syllabi for both its traditional and distance learning classes. While additional instructions and/or directions may be necessary for distance learning classes, the course syllabus, content, and textbook remain the same regardless of the method of delivery. A second method used by the College to maintain overall effectiveness and quality in distance learning is through required professional development for all instructors teaching distance learning courses.  The professional development workshops cover both pedagogy and skills in the use of technology.  A third method of evaluation is the feedback from students using the College’s standard course/instructor evaluation form. These forms are distributed electronically to the students and provide useful feedback for the improvement of distance learning courses. A final method of evaluation used by the College is the peer review and approval process for a proposed distance learning course before it is offered.  However, prior to the commencement of the peer review process, the Division Chair must review the course curriculum.   After the Division Chair reviews the proposed Internet course, said course must then pass a committee peer review process that includes approval of the course structure and instructional media to be used in the course.  Finally, following the ultimate approval by the Executive Committee, the course is offered online.  Therefore, given the aforementioned methods of evaluation, the College ensures the overall effectiveness and quality of courses taught via the distance learning process.

Library and Learning Resources

The College provides excellent access to library and learning resource collections and information that benefit students, faculty, and staff.  The programs and services offered are appropriate to meet the teaching, research, and service mission of the College and library.  The strong collection of books and electronic resources available at the Austin R. Meadows Learning Resources Center in Bay Minette is enhanced by the Learning Resources Centers at the College’s satellite campuses, cooperative agreements with county-wide public libraries, and the Alabama Virtual Library.

Miscellaneous College Related Services

The following services, discussed in other sections of the College Catalog and Student Handbook, as noted below include:

  • Alabama Virtual Library
  • Student Programs, Services and Activities
  • Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • Placement Assessment
  • College Counseling and Career Information Center
  • The Success Center
  • Early Alert System Program (EASP)
  • Student Support Services
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Student Organizations and Activities
  • Intramural Sports Programs
  • Training for Existing Business and Industry (TEBI) and Continuing Education (CE)
  • Facilities and Finances