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Timothy Gordon Coville

Building a Distance Learning Course for Students and Accreditation

Timothy Gordon Coville, The Peter J.Tobin College of Business, Department of Accounting

There has been an undeniable expansion in the use of the internet for delivery of college level instruction. The use of the internet as a means to deliver instructional materials has much to be said for it, i.e., ease of access, more flexible scheduling, multiple forms of media . . . etc. At the same time it also raises many concerns such as the increased risks of cheating and the reduced if not lost relationships between the students and their instructor. This article examines the areas that must be addressed, as encouraged by higher education accreditation organizations and experienced universities, as means to ensure that concerns with online instruction, sometimes referred to as distance learning, are dealt with in a manner that will leave both the accrediting organizations and the students satisfied. This article reviews and summarizes the guidance provided by accrediting organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB herein after), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE herein after) and several accredited colleges and universities to provide an examination of the aspects to be considered, when providing distance learning education at the college level. Also described herein are various means available to address each aspect successfully. The aspects considered are: 1. Learner Support & Resources, 2. Online Organization & Design, 3. Instructional Design & Delivery, 4. Assessment & Evaluation of Student Learning, 5. Innovative Teaching with Technology, and 6. Faculty Use of Student Feedback. Various software packages and internet tools are reviewed for their ease of use and sufficiency in meeting both the students’ and the accrediting organizations’ needs across each of these 6 areas.