A distance education course is a continuing education course in which instruction is accomplished through the use of media and methods whereby instructor and student are separated by distance and sometimes by time. In addition to fulfilling all course accrediting requirements, a sponsor requesting approval of a distance education course must demonstrate that the proposed distance education course satisfies the following criteria:

(1)           The course shall be designed to assure that students have defined learning objectives. If the nature of the subject matter is such that the learning objectives cannot be reasonably accomplished without some direct interaction between the instructor and students, then the course must be designed to provide for such interaction.

(2)           A course that does not provide the opportunity for continuous audio and visual communication between instructor and all students during the course presentation shall utilize testing processes to assure student understanding of the subject material.

(3)           A course that involves students completing the course on a self-paced study basis shall be designed so that the time required for a student of average ability to complete the course will be equivalent to a similar course taught in a classroom setting. The sponsor shall utilize a system that assures that students have actually performed all tasks required for completion and understanding of the subject material.

(4)           The sponsor shall provide technical support to enable students to satisfactorily complete the course.

(5)           The course instructors shall be available to respond in a timely manner to student questions about the subject matter of the course. Instructors shall have training in the proper use of the instructional delivery method utilized in the course, including the use of computer hardware and software or other applicable equipment and systems.

(6)           The sponsor shall provide students with an information package containing all pertinent information regarding requirements unique to completing a distance education course, including any special requirements with regard to computer hardware and software or other equipment, and outlining in detail the instructor and technical support that will be available when taking the course.

(7)           The sponsor shall use procedures that provide reasonable assurance that the student receiving continuing education credit for completing the course actually performed all the work required to complete the course. For courses that involve independent study by students, certification that the student personally completed all required course work shall be provided by the student to the sponsor, either by a signed statement (on a form provided by the sponsor) or, in the case of internet or computer based courses, by electronic means that are indicated in the software or on the website. Signed course completion statements or records of electronic certification shall be retained by the sponsor together with any other course records required by the rules in this Section.

(8)           Sponsors seeking approval of distance education courses must submit to the Board's staff a complete copy of the course in the medium that is to be used, including all computer software that will be used in presenting the course and administering tests. If the course is to be internet based, the Board's staff must be provided access to the course via the internet and shall not be charged a fee for such access.

(9)           Distance education courses shall comply with requirements for course completion reporting. Students shall not be reported for continuing education credit for distance education courses until the signed form from the student or electronic certification as described in Item (7) of this Rule has been received by the sponsor.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 143-151.13A(f)(2); 143-151.13A(f)(3);

Eff. February 1, 2006;

Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A, rule is necessary without substantive public interest Eff. January 9, 2018.