Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee – Afternoon session


it hasn’t been a lot of action against
it that people are trying to they want to know how to comply and so it’s
helpful to get get something down where people will know what they’re supposed
to be reviewing yeah I get that I think you know the joke in the financial
community is like be careful okay careful you ask for in terms of guidance
from the department because then you have to live with it right so I’m just
trying to understand what that well so I get it sure NASA had something come up
didn’t ask for meeting when they were just they were being reviewed and that
they’re being they felt that they were going to be hit on that too and so
they’re gonna going to get it so we don’t want to get to any more of those
yes that’s right like the number ten size and then David here to the question
that you had before about when students get support when they need and trying to
put some language in that I would HIGHLY highly support that again I said before
that everything that’s ever come out about this is not about regular and
substantive inter interaction its regular and substantive instruction
everything is from interaction to me how do you know if we go back to the
dictionary they were saying before is a two-way street
everything that’s ever been defined on this has been set by the instructor set
by the institution put out by the institution on the on their schedule
those are things and it seems like it’s time especially with CBE that we have
something where there’s the ability for the student to have some role on that
and I and I and again I know we get close to being towards correspondence
but I think there are ways with immediacy of response and the
expectation for that and know there’s such sorry things where that could be
part of this part of this definition where it’s not always based upon once
per week as done by the instructor in the institution David so I just want to make sure I I
appreciate the the concerns about subject matter experts and the
conversation that we’ve been having and I and I agree that those people need to
be on the teams but I really don’t want to lose the teams I think that is a huge
advantage or a huge improvement over the previous language and you know in my
previous institution we understood the previous language we didn’t like it and
so we came back to the department repeatedly trying to get a different
interpretation because it really was a problem for the model that we were
trying to use and we weren’t trying to teach students poorly we were trying to
adopt a model much more akin to modern healthcare than traditional higher ed
where you do have teams who who provide care in ways that the patient actually
needs it at a given time rather than always having to see the doctor and same
idea with with the team approach to to instruction so I just want make sure we
don’t lose that because I think that is a big improvement
Jessica two things one to the point that her to the extent that you answer
Jillian’s question referring to specific program or videos could you please share
those documents with us second I I just think that under the HEA were stuck with
regular and substantive interaction with the instructor and III hear your point
about instructional teams but I don’t if we’re setting a minimum floor and that
minimum floor is up by the HEA and the HEA says it’s regular substantive
interaction with the instructor I don’t understand how we’re talking about
giving title for funds to programs that don’t actually have as a minimum regular
and substantive interaction with the instructor and I it’s really just a
question all right um so I think it’s mad rarity
I have a couple right I hope we don’t go away from team two and I you know I
think we’re supposed to be moving the needle as much as we can in these
negotiations to try and bring it up to speed so I hope we don’t we don’t push
that some and I think we can have the subject matter expert built within that
team whether they all have to sit in the exact same person or not I I want to say
one to get to Gillian’s comment I think the last high profile case had a
chilling effect on a whole lot of folks who are looking at this so I think it’s
just a whole lot of us just shut down and I speak for a lot of my peers in
that to say who the heck is going to take that chance until we find out
exactly from the Department of Ed and we ended up it with a little bit I think of
a back and forth with the football is that the accreditor who’s gonna set it
or as a department of IDI who is going to set it I think in some cases the
accreditors weren’t going to take that chance and then found out the
institution got hit and have them come back to their creditor so so it
definitely had a chilling effect I think on innovation in that way as I listened
to some of these comments one of the things we’ve known about online is that
you can capture far more data than you ever can in a traditional instant in a
traditional educational setting so accreditation teams do not come in
and say let me see everybody’s test and so let me then see did the faculty
member right nice job nice job nice job nice job on everybody’s test so I’m
actually I’m okay with setting the floor I think we need to set the floor in some
ways I think we need to be careful that we don’t over regulate
disproportionately high in online in ways that we could never measure it you
know in some ways we’re assuming that the faculty member has know that that
the faculty member or that instructional team have no ethics and they have no
ability to monitor themselves in the same way we believe they do in a
traditional set and sorry I just want to caution us
let’s set floors that are safety guards but I caution us against trying to
over-regulate one industry so far outside of the way we would over
regulate traditional higher ed when in fact you can’t even go in oftentimes in
a faculty members classroom to monitor based on the different various
agreements they have alia so thinking about this from the perspective of a
national creditor where I read program reviews from all the case teams so I can
see that there are variances and how this has been applied in program reviews
and I’ve seen the impact that has had on institutions I I kind of like this
language because I think it has some nice parallels to standards a creditors
are required to have by the recognition criteria and since we’re talking a great
deal about instructional teams and how much meaning that can have for a student
learning experience and what I mean by that is a practitioner that has a lot of
really good hands-on experience but maybe not the PhD and the PhD who has
been immersed in scholarship that really hasn’t been in that field when you can
put that together as an instructional team it becomes a very powerful
experience for the student what’s not maybe in the recognition criteria for
accreditation is you know the idea of instructional team and so maybe this is
something we kick to the big committee and say can you look at maybe some
criteria around instructional teams that the accreditor has standards that say
there’s appropriate supervision academic credentials practical experience all of
these things if you’re using a team approach at an institution maybe that
could solve some of our questions that we’re having about the quality of
instruction the level of expertise being given to the student and the whole
continuum of learning and then maybe we can get to benchmarking you know as that
major so that that’s what I wanted to offer nice did you have something I just
wanted to point out from the department’s perspective we’re looking
that’s I guess the changes weren’t just reactionary they are partly that but
also trying to look forward and contemplate some kind of a base so that
whatever comes in the future that we can’t contemplate right now that we’re
preparing for that so that we want to set that up as well Jessica in terms of
in instructor be because the statute doesn’t define instructor I do think we
have some leeway legally to come up with our interpretation in terms of defining
it end and if somebody that’s been dealing with the ministry of law for
years as we said when you have a statute that was written before a lot of the
modalities and and ever-evolving education arena that we have now we’ve
got to try to gauge our interpretation and without being completely strict to
instructor means Webster’s definition of instructor because we would be stopped
and I think we understand your concerns from the student perspective and as I
said I’m an enforcement attorney and in the office so I certainly look at things
and how do we enforce this and how do we protect the taxpayers in the students
but I think we have to have some flexibility in terms of interpreting it
and implementing the words of the statute and since it’s not defined I
don’t think we’re violating the strict language of the statute to interpret
instructor to be a little broader than what one would normally have been
thought of as an instructor or faculty sure Jessica wants the respondent sure
absolutely and in the example that Leah said I would understand that that
classroom would have two instructors not none I guess I’m I’m just trying to
imagine the world in which the regular and substantive interaction is provided
by someone who could not fall under a definition of the instructor we could
all agree on and it I don’t understand why why that’s the world that we’re
looking for that’s my where my confusion is falling is not that a course could
potentially have more than one incredibly qualified instructor
but that someone could go through a program without interacting with an
instructor and maybe it’s just I am NOT up on the sort of modes that people are
pushing go okay I mean any a creditor that does
their work would never allow that I mean that just when you go in and you look at
distance that quality I mean you are looking at the management system you are
looking at what kinds of assessment activities have taken place
has there been some meaningful customized engagement between the
qualified instructor and the student and it can’t just be an email exchange
thanks for turning them assignment and it really has to show that there has
been some individualized attention to that student and there’s other ways you
know through automated learning management systems that you know there
can be you know automated tests and quizzes along the way but in a true
instruction that we’re awarding credit for really has to demonstrate that there
has been that kind of interaction between the faculty and student and I
believe accreditors on balance are doing a good job of that Denise the
department’s well aware of the concerns about balancing issues in terms of
innovation and the teams but also understanding that the students are
paying for in the department in the loans and the Pell Grant are paying for
the student to get instruction and to get the subject matter and all of that
so I think the Department when they’re coming up with the language is very
conscious of those two competing things so I don’t want you to think that the
innovation is gonna outweigh that piece of it so first of all I want to say I’m
really appreciative of the discussion that we’ve already had so far this is
really helpful for us and I want to continue I’m not going to stop it there
is something that that I want to talk quickly about and maybe get a
temperature check from the room about this so as I mentioned before one of the
big things that we’re scrapping with is whether we should have this whole idea
of distance ed defined by the accreditor or whether the department should do it
but I think I want to talk about something a little bit more narrow it
sounds like a lot of the folks around the table are agreed that the
accrediting agency should define the instructor or instructional team or
should have something to do with making that part of the definite
and if that’s true then I think it would help us move toward kind of putting the
parameters around that that we we need in order to provide a proposal to the
other to the larger group so I was wondering if my colleagues are ok with
it if we could do a temperature check on that part of it about whether the
accrediting agency should be the entity that defines instructure instructor or
instructional team for these purposes again without any discussion of
parameters or what the accrediting agency needs to consider or anything
just so that we can kind of keep that in mind and have it be one of the things
that we’re thinking about is it the reason I bring it up is because it’s the
department is in a very difficult position if we try to define that and if
we can because we we do not make academic decisions and if we tried to
define something like that in in statute it would make it we’d be you know Paris
perilously close to running outside of our purview so in the interest of trying
to narrow our discussion just a tiny bit I was wondering if I could get a
temperature check around the room of whether people are supportive of the
accreditor defining instructor or instructional team or at least who the
person is or who the people are that are doing this I think we could do that I’m
sorry some have a comment before we do that as long as we could in that
language open it up that it could include instructional teams so this is
again yeah this is including instructional teams yeah we haven’t
gotten that far yet but either either of those okay so before we discuss that I
just don’t want to sue I haven’t ignored you I didn’t know if you had something
sub set of data to that discussion before we yes well I do I wanted to go
back to a point and there we have to David’s down here but David muster the
point that he made let’s be careful that we don’t make this so restrictive and
again I want to enter medical education into this because I love the line that
says the institution’s accrediting agency determine who that qualified and
struck or a member of the instructional team if
we’re sending students out on a clinical rotation year three and year four that
is an instructional team and our creditors whether it’s coca or whichever
group is overseeing that medical team they understand that and so I really
appreciated your previous point when you said let’s make sure we don’t make it so
restrictive because distance education as defined by many of the states is when
we send our students across state lines and I know that’s an unintended
consequence but this is an opportunity for us to fix it and so then that’s when
they are applying and rest you know it well some of the fees and rates for us
to be able to deliver that education if we don’t have a physical presence as the
trigger so very much appreciated your previous comment in that language okay
so the other placards that are currently up are they reflective of what David
last said okay so I think Jody was first my comment was just quick quick response
to Leah’s comment about how the accreditor would never let that happen
where you would never I I understand that and I generally think that
absolutely the evaluation of accreditation should the evaluation of
academic quality and all the things that go into it should be up to the
accreditor I just wanted to raise the issue that every once in a while we do
have bad actors in the field and so I do understand why some people want
potentially would like some guardrails I don’t know how to do this balance I
think this is a very discussion is very reflective of the difficulty between
fostering innovation and tolerating risk and I think this is one of the areas
where we’re really seeing it Jillian yeah I just wanted to reiterate that I
wouldn’t be comfortable with that proposal unless we incorporate sort what
Leah’s suggesting in terms of then I think either if it’s this group or the
full committee needs to have a robust conversation about how
I mean we’re just sort of kicky the issue two different time which is fine I
mean I get the department doesn’t want to play in the space and I think it
makes sense but we then need to provide the right guardrails so that we
understand what we’re expecting of our creditors and I think again I’m not
worried about Lea or any of the existing accreditors that I know of but this in
concert with the proposals being made by the department that would essentially
allow me to be an accreditor an accrediting agency as long as I occurred
at one school really creates the conditions where somebody could take
advantage of this sort of flexibility if it’s not well defined yeah that makes
sense and acknowledging that with this is without any discussion of potential
guardrails but accepting that that could be part of the final solution that may
be bad phrase but it could be part of the solution that that everyone is able
to agree on so this is just really should the accreditor be the one that
makes that decision and will have to decide how many guardrails are around
that decision so that’s what I’m asking for in the room I you know I know that
some of you may have sideways thumbs assuming that there you want other
things to be part of it but that’s I just want to get an understanding of
where people are on that point you know so I think it’s important to point out
that we’re not precluding we’re not precluding those guidelines nor and
we’re not precluding teams nor are we precluding some guidelines on those
instructional teams such as who has to be on those instructional teams so all
of that’s open just as David said we’re just making this taking this temperature
based on whether there should be an accreditation agency determination so
given the discussion we just had correct maybe we take a temperature one more
time here because I think that we’ve had a little extra layering of discussion
and maybe we have convinced someone to let go sideways let’s just give it a try we’ll try it
you know the thing about the thumbs is I’ve as a child I watched so many swords
and sandals movies that every time I think of the thumbs I’m picturing myself
in middle of a Coliseum about ready to have it ended in front of the Emperor so
I said but that said we’ll do the we’ll do the thumbs thumbs up means you’re
wholeheartedly in agreement thumbs decide you can live with it thumbs down
you cannot live with it so go ahead show of thumbs just as David restate thing
one more time so the you are agreeing may be agreeing or not agreeing with the
idea that the accrediting agency would be the ultimate I would have the
ultimate responsibility for defining who is an instructor part of or an
instructional team and what’s required for instructor and instructional team
for purposes of meeting these dis definition okay so we’ve got a few
thumbs down from from a couple folks and I’d like to hear from them about why
they are against that idea Robert I’m going to give you a chance to speak
thank you so many words so far you know in now and philosophically I’m fine with
it I think it could be very prudent idea
there’s a lot of expertise there that could be utilized
what does worry me there was other discussions that have taken place around
creditors and who would be deemed an accreditor moving forward and what that
might look like so if sideways means with some pretty serious rails I might
go sideways but but as is and with this discussion right now I would say no one
till sits some of that’s further clarified go ahead immunity I concur with Robert I
think that so the most the top reason why I voted no was just based on a
couple of facts that are currently in the environment of online education
which is that it’s the fastest growing growth in higher education where we
seeing a lot of reduced and quality students are getting hurt there’s a lot
of risk-averse people who are who are being marketed to buy these programs so
just based on there’s a lot in the and what you proposed there’s like three
different parts the first part which is accreditation that to be just left up to
the creditors that given the current environment to me is not doing well
given the facts and there’s a report that I’ll share out hopefully everyone
gets to see it where you can like see the studies you can see the facts that
I’m saying it’s not just hearsay so that was the main point was that it shouldn’t
be left to a creditors to loosen or make up have the full authority of what those
definitions are I think the other parts we can if they were separated and
discussed separately and like not tied to first the creditor has the authority
and then you added the technical teams and the instructor I think those are
separate and I think all those tied together on one blanket thing that’s the
main rate the main thing I was against with the creditors so can I clear it it
doesn’t come with the proper protections and I think that that’s has to be the
same conversation so I don’t see a placard but I’m gonna ask Carol I know
but you you had done of some thumbs down didn’t know if you meant to put put it
be a placket or not I share the concerns that have been articulated I don’t know
that this is I feel like this is a very important issue and I’m not confident
that it should be something that creditors have so much discretion over I
like the idea of creating pretty specific standards around this to
protect students and perhaps there could be some chick
Mandor expertise has a single faculty member however whatever single
instructor or whatever Lia so as you’re a creditor representative
I’d just like to say a few things um I believe there are guardrails built-in to
the recognition process for creditors you have to have standards on student
achievement curriculum faculty facilities equipment finance students
support all of these things creditors have to get standards around them and
show that they’re implemented and show they’re effective that’s what the
recognition process does my suggestion was use the recognition process as the
guardrails have the main committee that’s dealing with accreditation
recognition say look this is what we expect to see a creditors carry out as
it relates to instructional team that’s all I wanted to suggest with respect to
that and and just clarify that if you’re if you’re looking for guardrails for
creditors um they’re there there’s another committee dealing with them and
maybe there’s other topics along the way that we’d want to share with the big
committee about how accreditation should be engaging student protections or
however we have shaping those concerns David no sir yeah thanks
so I appreciate those comments and one one possible option is to have the kinds
of guardrails that you guys are describing be described in more detail
or at least have the accreditors require the accrediting agencies to make
decisions about the some some guardrails that that that that other committee
determines in order to get to a place where they can define an instructor or
instructional team but I want to be really clear that for those who gave a
thumbs down on that the Department cannot define what an instructor is
there is there’s really no way for us to do that so we need some way to to have
if you want any kind of guardrail it can’t be the department simply
setting out what that is we are prohibited from doing that in the
statute so however we do that we’re open to that and we’re open to how how we
approach it and and you know what we can put around as guardrails but we can’t
for example we couldn’t go in and say an instructor has a PhD in X or Y the
department is prohibited from making academic determinations like that so it
makes it difficult in this context for us to set guardrails which is why I’m I
am seeking some some you know just ideas about how we can have our accrediting
agency colleagues support that process Gregory yeah I think in looking at where
we are it seems to me that we so most people not I’ve ever said most people
seem to be in favor of the idea of an instructional team so a bit allowing an
instructional team within these guidelines and I want to and I think
that it might be that if someone a the opposition opposition to a team in
general like if someone’s positions going to be as simply will not
countenance a team that might put us in a position where I don’t know that we
could reach the agreement if there were if there were those two things so I’m
suggesting that for those people who have difficulty with the idea of team it
seems like those who are very much in favor of teams are willing to they would
countenance some parameters around what that team is or who that team must
include so I think maybe that’s where we ought to go and and maybe kind of at
least as a group even though I know some people have reservations with it to
accept at least conceptually the idea that a team is permissible and moved to
what would you like to see as a safeguard given that we would be
allowing the teams very okay that being said then what would Plan C be if you
can’t come to an agreement that the accrediting agencies do have the
knowledge and the wherewithal thus say with parameters this is an instructional
team the department can’t say so playing I would say we can put
parameters around what I think we can david put parameters around what the
like we could say the team is hypothetical the team must include one
member who meets accreditation agency standards for subject matter the way it
wasn’t that their colleague letter sort of what David read that that language
instead of will be currently there are current guidance was just to that
instructor expanding that to the team yeah that’s that’s exactly right so for
example as long as we’re not the ones that are setting the academic
requirements for the the staff and things that have been proposed earlier
Jillian mentioned having you know the the team include a subject matter expert
that and then as Leah said that works to push push or I think maybe it was merit
II to that pushes forward the students instruction you know something along
those lines we could say all that as long as ultimately the accreditor was
the one to decide you know what the academic qualifications was of the purse
the people involved because that’s where we cannot we can’t be involved I’m just
not sure I understand how come the Department can’t define an instructor
but can define an structural team like if you can say that the team has to have
someone with subject matter jurisdiction why couldn’t you say that the instructor
has to have subject matter jurisdiction I don’t understand the difference well
we we’re not really saying that we’re not really saying that that we’re not
really defining what subject matter expertise is I guess and we wouldn’t we
probably wouldn’t use the phrase subject matter expertise either because again it
who says what that means I hear you but I’m just not sure the distinction
between setting standards for who an instructor could be versus setting
standards for who an instructional team is I don’t I don’t think that’s a I mean
I understand your point cuz you really there’s really no difference in saying
it for this or that but I think what we’re trying to get to is whether we’re
gonna expand instructor from the statute to include the instructional teams and
then what parameters and put around instructional team and what David is
saying is that we’re prohibited from this in the statute from getting into
Lake specific academics it has to can like the team has to include somebody
that has a physics degree but we can’t get into that specific but we can talk
in general without violating the prohibition so I don’t know that he was
talking about distinguishing between the instruction or an instructional team I
think what we have to do is in this context is say that the instructional
team concept doesn’t violate the statute to worry definition every statutory term
instructor that’s helpful I do appreciate that I guess I was just
a little confused because I thought that I understood that the department was
saying that the department cannot under the statute define an instructor and I
understand that that you’re saying you can’t give them academic but it seemed
it seemed odd to me that that we’re that that you can create parameters such as
you know who needs to be on the team or whatever and that would be okay but and
I mean I think it would be great for the department to put in place parameters to
the same possible ice wasn’t totally getting that but I think I understand
your concern I’ll take a look at it but I mean basically I think we’re just
trying to implement the term instructor to be a little broader than what it is
and make sure then we’re not violating our prohibition against getting into
academics and that’s kind of a a line that goes like this as lawyers you know
I mean define that line so I’ll take a look at that
but I think the biggest issue is that the thumbs-down seemed to be they didn’t
want just a blanket you know leaving it completely open to the to the
accreditors it is that they can I mean that seems to me to be the consensus of
the people that voted down is they didn’t want it to be left completely do
they accreditors without some kind of parameters put in wrap it yeah I think
Greg was kind of getting at this but I think with the robust discussion that’s
taking place why not kick it to the main committee make sure they understand what
the hesitancies were regarding having parameter
not not being sure of what might happen or might not happen at that other
theoretical level right now and if we need to have a discussion around what
some of those specifics might be we can have that now because you know
philosophically like I said I’m not opposed at all it’s just those other
concerns and all that there’s so many intricate dominoes in this process right
now that are better lined up and it’s just hard to know which way they’re
going to follow Jessica sure I hope that I have not understood as holding this up
that is not my intention I I’ve just tried ask this question and those of you
who do this like curricular work maybe you can give me an answer
what is the regular and substantive instruction vision for non
instructor-led interactions like what and I think there really is an answer
out there that’s important to someone and I just can’t quite understand why
and I’m not talking about the the circumstance in which we have a pair of
people working together both of whom seems like they could independently be
qualified as the instructor and each of them is alternating I think that would
pretty clearly be okay under an instructor so is there something else
that member of an instructional team gets us where there’s someone who’s not
an instructor who’s doing instructing I’ve literally just don’t understand an
example of how we do it a cappella for a direct assessment team or assessment
program which is we have a tutor so I mean who’s a tutor and then somebody
who’s the faculty on record who worked together in courses and so the tutor is
a subject matter expert also though they’re not effectively qualified
according to our accreditor but they’re responsive to questions from students
they’re reaching out they’re engaging in study sessions and available for
tutoring sessions and then that faculty member is the one that’s providing
summative feedback to the assessments are being submitted by the by the
student and so it’s taking some of the sort of lower value work and I’m not
saying that right don’t mean it to be pejorative but I’m I’m moving it to that
tutor and then the faculty is able to focus on the highest value work that
they could provide to the student does that helpful I know that was your
question I so is your concern that in under that
circumstance the faculty member and student interaction would not be it is
substantive but it wouldn’t be regular enough to me to otherwise meet the
definition of regular and substantive it that’s just a floor concern would be if
your creditor doesn’t view that tutor as an instructor then that doesn’t count
towards regular and substance I have interaction because I think we’re
dealing again we’re dealing with an old statute right and I think the concept of
instructor and what an instructor means versus I think marady had said about
using the term faculty because faculty could be people other than instructors I
think the issues is an antiquated term instructor so I guess one of the
questions might help that David if you guys could talk about what other people
are on the teams that you envision that be hope I think I might be helpful what
and I think it might happen to help a little bit with Carolyn to give an
example and I might miss a mix up my accreditors here so I apologize but it’s
Middle States or Sachs I think has a standard that a quote unquote subject
matter expert II would be somebody with 18 graduate hours in the field who’s
teaching an undergraduate course I think Higher Learning Commission has they have
the next degree higher to be teaching that course so that’s an example of that
and I’m using regional accreditors because I don’t know what your measures
are but those are kind of examples of what we live within what defines that
level of expertise I don’t think I’ve heard it I think I’ve heard consistency
and agreement that the idea that a team needs to hit have somebody who meets
their accreditation standards for that however that’s defined realizing it’s
defined differently based on our accreditors I as far as the teams go
I’ve seen it happen in in several ways and I’ve seen it in some emerging fields
and we’re going to continue to see this when we first put out homeland security
we had no subject matter experts in Homeland Security so you pulled together
teams of experts in designing those courses if you go way back in the day
that happened in computer science we relied
on mathematicians but and we’re going to continue to see that happen so it’s not
just who’s doing kind of the summative feedback which I like actually I thought
maybe that could be good term to use in the substant part of that
who’s assigning the grade sometimes it’s somebody on that team sometimes a piece
of it and a lot of faculty interactions that happen in traditional education is
around Career Planning and I don’t mean look at your resume I mean if I want to
go on to a doctoral program in psychology what there’s some of that
stuff that would be included on that team for a student to say well they need
to look at X Y & Z particularly to get into some of the graduate or research
components so those teams it can be really mixed I think what we were trying
to clarify and I think Julie and I are on the same page is saying one of the
things we’re also realizing is these students need other supports they need
time management we are worried about the drop off rate in these students so they
need time management they need coaching in other ways
those are critical parts of the team they do not count for the regular
insensitive academic intervention so I think I think we’re all actually closer
on the same page then the dialogues leading into there’s okay so what I what
you’re saying is that the the creditors right now have different standards on
what they consider a subject matter expert no no they’re not okay it’s
fairly consistent was 18 credit hours in that subject area in addition to your
graduate degree or your doctoral degree depending on the level of degree
associate bachelor’s master’s as Stairsteps and it’s fairly consistent
across institutional creditors so I guess from the consumer perspective what
would you want to see I I feel like I just don’t understand what’s happening
and I’m sorry I promise I’m reading the Code of Federal Regulations so I
understand that the federal law says distance education must be regular and
substantive the Code of Federal Regulations are saying distance
education must be regular and substantive and have these things and
you’ve told me this is a floor and accreditors can go above it
and I thought what I heard you saying as well my program does have regular and
substantive interruption between a faculty and the students but there’s
also these other people who are also giving regular and substantive
instruction but since they’re not faculty or not and I’m sorry I don’t
have the credentialing required by the accreditor they’re not somehow messes
with your ability to do this from some accreditor imposed requirements I’m just
I’m hot I feel like there’s a piece missing maybe I’m saying we want clarity
that and remember we’re trying to look across a broad spectrum of people who
might be doing this so I think what we’re saying is we want clarity that
that is not on the team or that does not count they can be on the team that does
not count toward the instruction the regular and substant instructional
interaction that’s happening I actually think you’re in the same I think yeah
the exact same thing I think Jillian’s in the same place and David I was just
going to suggest that if you’re looking for some kind of guardrails I think the
best we’re gonna be able to do giving you your parameters is to say something
very general like an instructional team must deliver at least the same quality
of instruction as an individual instructor and well not not every member
of the team so but I don’t know what else I mean I’m not sure that without
being more prescriptive than you want to be I’m sorry so would a TA meet that
standard no right I didn’t they might but they might not yeah so a doctoral
student wouldn’t meet that standard okay all right all right I’m just trying to
see where we can get everybody on the same yes we look that we have the
ability to have more than one person a team with another yeah so I mean I think
the may be a better way to come at this is to ask what problem are we trying to
solve and why are we worried about this so
especially in self-paced programs what often happens is that students have
needs that the faculty member for lack of a better term is not equipped to
solve right so the student needs sort of life coaching or the student needs
advising about bureaucratic issues or time management support or really base
level tutoring in a particular area or you need you have a lot of students and
you need a greater those are all interactions that won’t count currently
under regular and substantive and so what happens is that the system becomes
very inefficient for institutions that are trying to teach self-paced
competency-based programs because the the faculty member ends up having to do
a lot of this stuff or you have to do a lot of backend work to fix it and so
what we’re saying is that the team actually can be not only more efficient
but provide better service to the student with no degradation of quality
of instruction and still meet the requirements Gregory I think well you
know if you go back and look at that statutory definition of substantive and
you know I wasn’t I certainly wasn’t there when they came
up with it or Congress did it but I but you can imagine the people the aides if
we want to say it probably wasn’t a tional congressman
sitting around with with a very with a very traditional having had an extremely
traditional education you know and and and trying to make this fit and you can
see then you would say you know within that those parameters instructor
interaction with an instructor or whatever that meant would that meant to
them I I think what we’re trying to do is to accommodate to accept and
acknowledge that education has broadened and and it changed some of the I know
I’ve seen I think I saw a presentation from capella
a couple of other institutions came and did them for us demonstrating their
learning management systems which are amazingly sophisticated quite quite
beyond anything that I could I really ever envisioned myself and so a lot of
times I think there are people on these teams who who help the students interact
with these very sophisticated systems which can be difficult to learn how to
do and that’s a very necessary as I think you pointed out David a very
necessary part I think where we are though is that a lot of people feel yeah
that’s all well and good and it nothing wrong with those people but there still
needs to be we still want to make certain that regardless of how much
support there is for all that that there is a subject matter for lack of a better
word even though David president am I using the term a subject matter expert
or someone there that we can’t define what that is we maybe we could use that
word but that’s gonna be an accreditor you know saying that person is to have
this many hours at whatever so I think trying to acknowledge can we get to a
place where we have the safeguard that there will be subject matter expertise
there but accommodate the idea that we’re not just going to kids that that a
really narrow definition of this instructor Gregg Martin’s the instructor
and he will have he will be the one to have the everyday contact all the time
with 4,000 people I think that’s that’s maybe we’re looking at that as maybe
being an antiquated model and trying to move beyond that but still keep those
protections in place and what I’m hearing around the tables I don’t think
anybody from any anybody here has said no we went carte blanche I don’t want
any parameters put around it at all so I think that’s a good thing what those are
going to be and I agree and I wanted to see if I could provide it maybe a little
bit more explanation and background for Minh brought to the department’s
attention that sparked the department’s concern and kind of led to this and
maybe helped a way to do it would be to provide an example so let’s say that I’m
a student in a competency-based program and I’m in a core I’m in two courses the
first course is English I’m an English major I’m assuming that’s easy for
everybody which is not but let’s say that they’re very good at English they
are they go through they do all the required readings they
and mostly they’re there interacting with the online the software the books
provided everything that they need and they’re communicating regularly with
member of an a member of the instructional team who’s whose job it is
to contact them and make sure that they have everything that they need in order
to succeed so the student in the English class it doesn’t really need much of
anything they they flow through the class they they get to the final page
the final project they do the final paper someone grades it and says you’ve
done very well that you didn’t really need this and and their team member is
happy and it goes along the same student is also in calculus and I was terrible
at math so I’m going to zoom everyone is so in calculus they’re really struggling
they every at that they check in with that instructional team member that
person says you you really you didn’t do well on your pretest and it looks like
you’re not grasping some of these basic concepts so number one we want you to
look at this this part of our instructional software and then number
two I’m gonna send you to the the our our instructor of record for this course
because I want you to work personally with them and that student works with
that instructor practically every every other day that week and works with them
very consistently until he gets those concepts and he’s able to finish the
test so what schools have told us are that in that situation they’re they’re
being forced to have their English instructor contact the student every
week and say are you doing okay still and we’d like to have a discussion and
the English student says I’m fine I don’t need that I don’t need any part of
that it’s great and and it’s a it’s a sort of bureaucratic requirement that
they don’t feel that is necessary so what the department’s intent here is to
find ways of taking this and other kinds of innovative kinds of programs that are
that are you know utilizing people’s time and effort well without creating
bureaucratic impediments that just aren’t helpful so that’s that to give
trying to give a better sense of what we’re trying to achieve here so just
uh to me that English class sounds a lot like a correspondence course so let’s
assume that the sittin is students friend number two had trouble with
English that student would have gotten interaction with the English instructor
every couple of days whereas they wouldn’t have needed any help in the
calculus class because they were excellent so if I understand if if
that’s how you consider the class and that may be your your your view on it
but I’m want to make sure that I explained that that’s the situation that
a department is kind of trying to address that there doesn’t seem to be a
need to require a specific kind of person to interact with the student in
every in every specific case and but we have the requirement in law and we want
to be sure that we are adequately addressing that requirement to separate
these from correspondence courses Gregory yeah you know to your comment
just guy I come from about and I’ll be honest like I come from a background
wedded to traditional you know I loved being in a classroom and having my
professor read Chaucer to me because I – like David was pretty poor at math and
relished my my Renaissance and medieval English classes because they quite well
in those and they clearly prepared me excellently for what I do now right um
but I I think that you know as opposed like he’s saying much correspondence i
but I had to be honest I had a friend in college he went to matrix algebra the
first day the midterm in the last day he got an A in the class you if we’re
looking at this if I’m being honest and I’m and I’m trying to be and I’m not
saying you’re wrong I’m not saying you have a good point but I’m talking my own
thought process and now I’ve I’ve thought about all this I thought to my
think to myself quite frankly what what substantive interaction did he have he
didn’t have any he just showed up one day another day in the last day this
professor to heaven he didn’t have any attendance so I mean that and he got an
A so you could you could say well but generally he met that met the
qualifications of the course but I I think I just saying that means anything
other than that I just throw it out there because I think
these situations are possible in any in any setting and I think I don’t know who
was was it maybe David or Russell too pointed out that just because it’s
bricks and mortar doesn’t mean doesn’t automatically mean that we have this
higher level of interaction or learning taking place I just want to point that
out okay so this is just an observation by me I mean we’ve been dealing with a
subject for a long time yeah and I can tell you right now you’re not going to
come out to a fine point yeah all right so there’s obviously gonna be a lot of
permutations on this and our job is really if I’m not mistaken is to offer
it to a larger group that’s really gonna make a decision so yeah and just to go
back to what we discussed earlier at the end of our discussions we can we can say
that’s what the department has is perfect which probably we may not say we
can say that what the department has is good with these changes that we propose
we can say that some people think that it’s good and want these things and
other people want these things so we we want to make sure that all the views are
are addressed at the end of this process and we don’t need to have all of that
finished remember until the second after the second session of our subcommittee
meeting when before the next full committee meeting we want to get as much
talked about as we can during these two days but you have some time to think
about this ponder it come back and give us some more information then but I
don’t want to spend too much more time on this I think Tony’s right that you
know we won’t go to get too much further at that at this point one of the things
I’ve heard a little bit is kind of what’s the problem and can you help
frame this and I that made me think of this a little bit and knowing that my
name is on a letter or two or three or four or five to the department saying
clarify this the the beauty of of some of the things we’re discussing is that
personalized being able to personalize the educational journey so take you out
of the hundred seat or even 25 seat I went to a very small private institution
the classroom where we all did the same thing every day and progress at the same
rate some of the beauties that were getting in this
in some of the technology we’re discovering is that we can individualize
that experience and we can take the person who’s an English buff or a
history buff and we can try and make their assignments more interactive with
where they are and we can take somebody like me who we have to go right back
again to say okay when did we write the Constitution and what’s in it and it’s
right I don’t know I wanna make sure we don’t lose that that we’re really trying
to find a way here to enable that but to give institutions a way to do it
the threat of fight the threat of aid is a huge is a huge risk to an institution
in their future and in that case to their students so I think we’re trying
to say what does and when I said the floor earlier I don’t mean that as a bad
thing I think we need to say what what are their safety nuts we have to have in
place and I feel when I’ve been pushing out to the department that’s why I’ve
done it for my current institution from previous institution saying let’s make
sure we understand what that is because I don’t want my students having less of
an education than they should I want to make sure it’s respected the way it
should be but I also want to know where we are
open and growing those areas and moving education beyond the boundaries that
we’ve known in traditional ed so how does that helps frame it better that’s
why I’m here I’m sue um it hasn’t been stated and I think it’s important
because we all live it every day and when you talk about student protection
we have a growing number of accommodations that we are making and
when I think about this instructional team I think about the entire team for a
guaranteed success of that student so I think we need to make sure that we are
thinking of things like testing accommodations that we are all doing and
some of the other things so that is as much part of the need for this team as
anything gulia yeah I would just add I think I
said that’s the beginning I’m sorry for the times I say things more than once
but I would just encourage if you could come back with us with an answer about
if there is a possible way to define competency-based education because I
think it would help find potentially if we you know if it’s done right could
help find a middle ground between allowing for some of these innovative
models to happen without risking the entirety of distance education and
opening up to potential fraud and what they’re doing so we gotta have the
protections in but I think part of it is trying to define the two things so I’m
gonna take that back and see if there is a hook in the statute where we can
differentiate between the competency-based and I want to call the
regular institution but thanks just to clarify
are you saying that that should we should define it for the purpose of
treating them a little differently for example I’m saying in the spirit of
trying to find a solution that I think accounts for what we’ve heard here in
terms of all the examples that I’ve heard I think and maybe I’m not
incorporating all of them but a lot of them at least have talked about
competency-based education programs they’re also it’s that also as a model
that I think has a bit more history than whatever model we can’t envision yet
that could somehow slide into a loophole that we’re creating here and allow for
taxpayer funds to be threatened so maybe it’s not the solution but I think it
would be interesting for this group to know if that’s a potential solution and
then take it back we can have sort of a subset conversation if it is about what
that means in terms of how creditors have to understand CBE programs I mean
it just creates more every right but I think it’s an option to pursue go ahead
Jodie yeah I just wanted to kind of take a quick step back and I think a lot of
what especially Jessica’s concerns are really about
the bad actors right in the worst case scenarios and I absolutely agree that
that should be at the forefront of the conversation but I would caution against
going in a direction that’s overly prescriptive that would you know that is
tailoring everything to the bad actors and unnecessarily constraining the good
ones so I just thought that you know we should maybe think about that and also I
just want to kind of maybe I’m such a fan of the program integrity try it but
it and take a step back and this is an area where because there’s flexibility
that’s required it this isn’t really the best role for the department to fulfill
and that’s why a creditors are the bet in a better position because they are on
the ground and able and have the resources to evaluate these programs on
the ground so that’s why I think this is definitely I mean in addition to the
statutory requirements this is definitely more appropriate for a
creditors but I share your concerns to know okay
in case I think it’s Russell and then David thank you enjoying thanks for
asking a question about the CBE and I’m glad Denise that you’re going to kind of
look at that because it just it it seems that if we’re really looking at
innovations and looking out even farther in the future than in the next four to
five years that really this conversion from a credit card eagie model to a
competency-based model is is really going to help solve a lot of things
because if we can start measuring what actually works and where do we get
student outcomes versus worrying about how we did it and how much interaction
and what did we do here that that it seems like that is going to be the
ultimate answer to a lot of the things around the consumer consumer protection
so I think that we can do in terms of putting that into a competency-based
education definition as a start and if we can start looking at moving the
credit hour over so that people have to start thinking more about competencies
in any of these things that that would be very helpful just a question for you Jillian you
didn’t bring up the CBE thing because you think that the team stuff ought to
apply only there did you I don’t know the answer to that I mean I don’t know
so I I’d like it not to yeah okay I think well okay I just want to point out
that we’ve got about twenty five minutes left in the session and so we may want
to have about five minutes for housekeeping before we wrap this up and
looking to Greg I’m the assistant to the meeting organizer um do you want that’s
right doesn’t doesn’t work doesn’t work without both of us why don’t we uh sir
because it kind of keys into what David’s already talking about he’s going
to continue with state authorization before he does I want to reiterate I
think it’s very important that to say that we’re that whatever when we report
out to the main team I will I’m adamant that everybody’s views to be expressed
so if even if the majority the team feels one way if there’s even one person
who feels another III want that will definitely be be made clear nobody’s
nobody’s voice will be silenced I was also asked by let me happy to point out
in that way I fail to do it that we will be producing a new set of red lines for
you that will have comment boxes to explain our rationale behind the changes
so rather than just a paper that tells what we’re doing it will actually give
you the rationale behind the changes I think that will help a lot as we go
forward especially into 668 so we can look forward to that coming the next
time we hear so with that turn it over to David so moving in yeah I think it’s
not this is not going to be as quite as big a discussion because I were kind of
asking you guys to go off and think about this and come back but we’re
talking about work I want to talk now about state authorization for distance
education so in general you guys as you guys may or may not know
the department regulated on this topic back in 2016 that regulation was to
become effective as of July 1st 2018 the department delayed enforcement of that
author of that regulation and here we are proposing to remove the regulatory
language that was put in place in that prior rulemaking but we are interested
in we have heard from folks that there may be some value in having language or
rules related to reciprocity agreements among states and that that that could be
helpful so we’re interested in discussing how you guys think that that
could be helpful what things that you think are important about that and what
we should look at so I see some cards up already and I’m just gonna be quiet and
let you guys talk first all right Carol thanks very much I have lots of opinions
about this one as a state attorney general office representative it’s
something that’s been under a lot of discussion with the state attorneys
general and also I participated in the rulemaking in 2014 that resulted in this
state the state authorization language that is now being considered to be
deleted so I guess my perspective and our offices perspective I constituency’s
perspective is that it would be very bad for consumers and bad for taxpayers and
bad for states if this provision were eliminated and I can talk a little bit
about why that is the the state attorneys general specifically in our
focus on consumer protection have been unfortunately very much focused on
having to address misconduct by some bad actors
in specifically some certain sectors for profit sector and many of whom provide
distance education as part of their mission and we have seen unfortunately
that there is apparently a lot of this quite widespread fraud the same kind of
thing that Jessica has been talking about but I see it from maybe a slightly
different perspective because it’s not necessarily that I’m talking you know to
consumers about their their you know how this has affected their lives as much as
as I’m sort of seeing it sort of from the perspective of wow this is such a
widespread issue in that we are seeing that that there are so many different
states I’ve had to devote so much time to it sorry if I’m going on a little bit
I’ll try to be a little bit more succinct but anyway the the reason the
provision is helpful is that it helps States the the specific state
authorization language that has been eliminated it helps States identify
who’s who who from outside of our state is operating in our state helps us
ensure that we are going to be getting complaints so that we’re going to be
able to identify the bad actors and understand what’s going on so that the
complaint thing is really important and the language related to state
reciprocity agreements which is also going to be discussed by our committee
but is not exact is not entirely could be discussed separately as david has
suggested is very helpful to us in that the way the language is now or was
coming out of the previous rulemaking ensures that state reciprocity
agreements are going to not in impede state offices from enforcing all of our
state laws when are when our students are affected in our state so the if that
language is eliminated we we’re in a situation where there are there are sort
of two levels of enforcement that states are able to accomplish one is we can
protect we can enforce all of our state laws to protect consumers when there’s a
school that’s physically located in our state
based on the way the reciprocity agreements are affecting our state we
are not evil to protect our consumer consumer is the ones who are in distance
education programs that are being offered in our state from outside of our
state to the extent that there are specific laws that for example might
provide specific disclosure requirements refunds that are related specifically to
educational institutions so that’s just a little overview and we feel very
strongly about this and be happy to okay I think it was kind of address I’m gonna
call Russell great thank you I’ve seen that a few things there was
there’s this that talked about that eliminating this role would save
institutions all sorts of money and all sorts of time time to do this this goes
back to the this the Senate overview of regulations and trying to and trying to
streamline regulations that came out of a few years ago but actually that’s that
really isn’t true because the even without the federal requirement on this
the states still expect institutions to to comply and so you know we would
really like to see the state authorization as a requirement for
receiving aid as something to be be retained because it seems like
institutions should be following state laws as a precursor to dispersing
federal aid there’s a lot there’s some things that need to be fixed in terms of
in the other language that had where they were using residents instead of
location and that was a problem that we thought we hadn’t fixed back then the
2014 thing and somehow we re emerged out of all this and then there’s also
language about notifications on profession
unprofessional licensure that it seems like that is something where if an
institution is enrolling students in a state yeah and let’s say a nursing
program some like that that they shouldn’t be able to inform the student
whether the that institution meets the academic requirements for licensure in
that in that state and so those are some things that we have there on we’d also
like to see acknowledgement that reciprocity is a means to the proof of
approval within a state that has it probably all be on the opposite side of
Carolina in terms of the trying how to interpret the language that is here in
front of us first of all that if you’re going to if you’re going to get rid of
all the state authorization language I don’t know why you would then and you’re
not going to tie it to federal financial aid what is your role in terms of
looking at a reciprocity agreement that doesn’t make any sense to me
but if you do keep it and then have something on on reciprocity that doing
something like the as the language as it is written here but we can come back to
some things that it turns out the Department didn’t really mean what they
wrote here I have we were able to get a letter from the former Secretary of
Education that says that they actually meant that they that it’s not that the
agreement prohibits the state but the state has agreed to use the standards of
the reciprocity agreement so it’s not really prohibiting any of these things
and if you were to do something where you allowed every state to do whatever
different laws that they had in the state different requirements they had
every state you then are in a state at a situation where you don’t no longer have
reciprocity so if you have refund policies in one state and another refund
policy in another state and you have certain institutions have to operate it
differently in yet another state it’s really not reciprocity anymore that it’s
killed that and so those are a lot of deep issues that Stan
today I’ll stop I have four packets up in 15 minutes so it’s like a quiz show
so Jodi you’re up I can just make a quick background statement which and I
think this kind of goes to the comment I was making earlier about being careful
about regulating broadly when you’re trying to capture bad actors this is
something that has been a huge problem for our institutions are probably the
private nonprofit profit sector these disclosure requirements have been
extremely burdensome and and I’m not sure that they’ve necessarily served
their intended purpose in terms of in terms of capturing bad actors so you
know that’s kind of the stance that I come at this discussion with and we can
talk more tomorrow thank you I already have a quick following on journey a
little bit I think I think they probably met some of them in some of the ways
like licensing and things I think are so pure you mean that to me is a no-brainer
that students ought to be able to quickly figure out if the program
they’re taking will leave them licensed in their state or in any state they
desire to end up in but I want to echo Jodi’s comments that having been in
several institutions with locations or students in all 50 states and several
territories these requirements are disparate they’re onerous so many of
them are not at all related you know I’ve sent fire marshals
everywhere I’ve flown around and sent people all over the place
sorry I just I want to leave it with this is what I think we need to thread
the needle on because I think there’s some value out here and I think clarity
of what if students have issues and complaints and how to capture that I
just don’t think the broad swath that we did met it before Thank You Gillian just
an interest of time I’ll keep my comments brief as well which largely
echo Russ said I think the perspective I represent especially on behalf of my to
our two institutions is that students and distance ed programs that reside in
any state should be protected so we believed that
there was value and the Obama era state authorization rule I think there were
some issues with it to get to Russ’s point about definition and reciprocity
agreements and also you know some knits around what happens if a state doesn’t
have a complaint process in place but largely you know we need to make sure
that that we have an eye towards protecting students who are apart from
where their institution is located with respect to the licensure requirement
Capella University offers several programs that lead to professional
licensure and we think that it’s in the best interest of students to make sure
students who are enrolling in those programs understand if they’re actually
gonna be able to get a job where they live so well I get that it’s sort of an
onerous process I think it’s important with respect to protecting students
investment in their education and would say with the addition of Sarah or sort
of any reciprocity system that’s up and running I think the overwhelming cost
that used to exist in making sure you were licensed operate in every state
doesn’t it’s not really a factor anymore because sarah provides a pathway to
making sure that you’re able to operate your distance ed programs across
multiple states Carolyn nevermind okay Leah um I’d like
to have a conversation at some point on this topic about how we can preserve the
benefits of reciprocity but if there are concerns about a bad actor that needs
investigated by law enforcement by all means let’s get right on that let’s
involve the accreditor let’s involve that state let’s involve whoever needs
to be participating in that the I don’t think anybody ever intended reciprocity
to prevent going after an actor that’s not taking care of students the way they
should be and if we see complaints coming that are systemic that should
engage a whole lot of people in the process Robert I’ll keep this a really
brief something lady just said hit on this is representing state higher ed
systems you mentioned the different components of the triad when it comes to
addressing some of the bad and that’s really something that’s
undergirding all of this and that we frankly all need to do a better job of
reestablishing that relationship and making sure that we have good
communications between the the feds who protect the taxpayers us within the
state systems we have a lot of oversight of our students and some consumer
protection responsibilities there and the accreditors dealing directly with
institutions and we all have our sets of data and we all know that there can
sometimes be difficulties in different areas but we don’t have to think talk to
each other enough on some of these and so figuring out paths of communication
and ways of sharing information when appropriate putting systems into place
and regular communication so that we can better address some of these instances
before it blows up and you know form of a very bad actor that we’re all left
trying to sweep up the pieces and figuring out what went wrong so good we
I think will I’ll call it a day as far as our discussions go
housekeeping things I’ll try to see if I get them all Scott can correct me if I’m
wrong please make certain that you leave your name your your badges here and I
think can we keep my materials here Scott Amy Amy sir what well I guess we
can keep everything here I would not recommend anything valuable but lots of
these materials are not extremely valuable but you may leave them here I
have to say that so yeah feel free to leave alerts to all that here again
Scott pointed out monitor the OPM was a p.m. website for possible delays
tomorrow just to reiterate it if whatever the delay is that’s when we’ll
start if for example over 2 hour delay we would we would begin promptly at
11:00 given no delays we will be back here again tomorrow morning at 9:00 am
go ahead that people in DC do not know how to
drive in the snow yeah just saying if you have any trash please
do dispose of that on your way out there’s trash cans right outside this
room I thought we had an excellent discussion today I thank all of you for
your participation I really was impressed with what was said that how
far we got so we look forward to an equally productive discussion tomorrow
and then a small note I just want to see from this angle
David Muscle you remind me of a young Jeff Baker oh I’ll tell Jeff’s you said
so and we’ll see if he’s insulted or not

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