Appendix F: Distance Learning Policy

1. Purpose

This policy is designed to guide the law school in developing, delivering, and evaluating distance learning education consistent with the American Bar Association’s accreditation standards for law schools.

2. Definitions

2.1 Distance Education means an educational process characterized by the separation, in time or place, between instructor and student.

2.2 Distance Learning Course (“D.L. Course”) means a course in which more than one third of the contact minutes of course instruction occurs outside the regular classroom. A D.L. Course is a discrete product of developed material, including a syllabus, introductory material, articulated learning goals, assigned materials (such as readings, podcasts, weblinks, text assignments, and prepared PowerPoints), assignments, and assessment mechanisms. A D.L. Course is a completed unit that may be taught multiple times.

2.3 Distance Learning Class (“Class”) means a version of a D.L. Course that is delivered to students by a Teaching Faculty member. A Class may be delivered asynchronously or synchronously as defined by Sections 2.7 and 2.8. A single D.L. Course may have multiple Classes.

2.4 Course Developer means the person who designs and prepares a D.L. Course by developing appropriate materials, activities, and assessments tied to specific learning goals. A Course Developer may be a faculty member with specific content knowledge, a learning specialist, a technical expert, or any combination of knowledgeable persons who work together to develop a D.L. Course.

2.5 Teaching Faculty means a person who executes and delivers a Class. Teaching Faculty interact with students and provide feedback, assessment, and other appropriate material.

2.6 Distance Learning Program Administrator (“Program Administrator”) means the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who shall oversee the Distance Learning Program and who is responsible for training faculty, developing D.L. Courses, evaluating D.L. Courses, and reviewing D.L. Courses for quality on an ongoing basis.

2.7 Asynchronous means a method of delivering a D.L. Course at one time that allows students to complete coursework at different times using email, discussion boards, listservs, wikis, video or audio posts, and other technology that allows students and Teaching Faculty to communicate with one another at different locations and times.

2.8 Synchronous means a method of delivering a D.L. Course using two-way communication technology with virtually no time delay, in which Teaching Faculty and students are in different physical locations while communicating with one another in real time.

2.9 Hybrid or Blended D.L. Course means a D.L. Course that includes both live, in-person teaching sessions as well as Asynchronous or Synchronous distance learning sessions.

3. Requirements for All D.L. Courses

3.1 Each D.L. Course must be designed to use the technological resources available at the law school, supportable by the law school, and reasonably available to students.

3.2 Each D.L. Course must identify student learning outcomes consistent with American Bar Association Accreditation Standards for Law Schools, including appropriate methods of assessment and evaluation of student progress toward learning outcomes.

3.3 Each D.L. Course must include interactive tools and course design elements that allow Teaching Faculty and students interactive opportunities that equal or exceed the interaction that occurs in a traditional live, in-person classroom setting.

3.4 Ownership of intellectual property rights for Technology-Enhanced Course Materials (TECM) developed for each D.L. Course or Class shall be determined consistent with UALR Policy No. 209.2.

3.5 Each D.L. Course must include an effective process for verifying identity of students registered in the D.L. Course, including a secure login and passcode, and other technologies and practices that effectively verify that the student who registers for a Class is the same student who participates and whose work is assessed by the Teaching Faculty.

3.6 All D.L. Courses must be approved by the Curriculum Committee, even if already offered in the residential law school curriculum.

4. Requirements for All Classes

4.1 Each Class must meet the minimum design requirements of a D.L. Course as described in section 3 of this policy.

4.2 Each Class must protect student privacy consistent with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). For that reason, all distance learning Classes must be provided from secure sites, and all D.L. Course elements that require student identification will be limited to those sites.

4.3 Each Class must require enrolled students to access the Class using a unique login and password issued to the student consistent with the law school’s standard student verification protocols.

4.4 Each required examination for a D.L. Course that does not permit students to use outside materials (such as open book exams) must be proctored by appropriate personnel or by using available technology.

4.5 Each Class, and any subsequent modification to a D.L. Course delivered as a Class, belongs solely to the law school, subject to Section 3.4 of this Policy and UALR Policy No. 209.2 on Intellectual Property.

4.6 If the law school uses student work developed or presented in a Class for marketing purposes, the law school shall obtain a perpetual nonexclusive license for use of student work on a case-by-case basis.

5. Requirements for Faculty

5.1 Faculty members who develop a D.L. Course, or who teach any Class, shall participate in training in distance learning technology and distance teaching.  The Curriculum Committee shall approve required training to be completed by any faculty member who develops any D.L. Course or who teaches any Class.

5.2 Teaching Faculty shall participate in and monitor D.L. Course delivery for at least the number of contact hours consistent with the number of credit hours the law school has allocated to the D.L. Course.  See Academic Rule IV.B.7(c), which expressly applies to D.L. Courses.

5.3 Teaching Faculty must answer student questions and concerns during the period each D.L. Course is offered by the close of business on the next business day after the question is submitted. If a Teaching Faculty member is unable to attend to a D.L. Course for more than a 24-hour period, the Teaching Faculty member will alert students in advance. If the Teaching Faculty member will be unavailable to students for more than three days, the faculty member will alert the students and the Program Administrator in advance. A Teaching Faculty member who is unavailable due to an emergency must alert the Program Administrator at the first reasonably possible opportunity.

5.4 Teaching Faculty must provide regular and concrete feedback on student effort and performance in the D.L. Course.

6. Requirements for Students

6.1 As a prerequisite for participating in a Class, a student must complete a mandatory orientation program for the purpose of training students in using the technology and to familiarize students with Distance Learning protocols and etiquette.

6.2 Each student may count a maximum of 30 D.L. Course credits toward the 90 credits required for the J.D. degree. A student who has not yet earned 30 credits toward the J.D. degree may earn no more than 10 of those credits in D.L. Courses to fulfill first-year curriculum requirements.

6.3 Teaching Faculty members, the Program Administrator, or other authorized law school personnel may monitor and review student work in a D.L. Course or Class.

6.4 Each student enrolled in a D.L. Course shall comply with the Code of Academic Conduct in each Class and in all other relevant aspects of the Distance Learning program.

7. Oversight and Administration

7.1 The Program Administrator shall oversee all aspects of the Distance Learning program, including the creation of D.L. Courses, delivery of Classes, and ancillary student experiences. The Program Administrator shall ensure systematic, valid, and reliable evaluation of all D.L. Courses and Classes to consistently improve quality of content and delivery.

7.2. The Program Administrator shall ensure regular monitoring of Teaching Faculty activity, including faculty interactivity with students, regular feedback, and assessment methods.

7.3 The Program Administrator shall develop a plan for administering the Distance Learning program that provides students access to financial aid, business offices, learning support, library, student services, and other services comparable to those provided to students enrolled in residential law school courses.

7.4 The Distance Learning program shall provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

7.5 All law school policies and academic rules apply to D.L. Courses and Classes, except as otherwise specifically provided in this policy.

8. Emergency

8.1 In an emergency that implicates the law school’s ability to deliver its residential curriculum in its normal course, the Program Administrator shall set appropriate guidelines for distance learning that may be used in other ways that are not governed by this policy.

Adopted March 9, 2015; amended March 11, 2019.