EFFECTIVE DATE: June 22, 2015
ISSUE #: 1
PRESIDENT: William Flores
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) Policy for Online Education provides a
framework for transparent, encompassing, and impactful decision-making with regards to
online education that values shared governance.
2.1 Online Education: Includes degree programs, certificates, courses, and support
services provided via the Internet and delivered synchronously or asynchronously.
2.2 Undergraduate Online Program: Degree programs which are designated as fully
online undergraduate programs by the faculty per university curriculum policies.
2.3 Graduate Online Program: Degree programs which are designated as fully online
graduate programs by the faculty per university curriculum policies.
2.4 Online Course Section: Course section in which 51% or more of the instruction (as
determined by official course contact hour designation) occurs online through an
Internet-based delivery system.
2.5. Hybrid Course Section: Course section in which 50% of the instruction (as determined
by official course contact hour designation) occurs online through an Internet-based
2.6 Authentication: Process by which the university ensures that the student registered
for the course is the same person who is participating in the course activities and
2.7 Rubric: An evaluation tool or set of guidelines used to promote consistent
measurement of expectations, goals, or standards.
2.8 Academic Unit: UHD colleges and their corresponding departments
2.9 Learning Management System: Educational technologies and software that support
the delivery of online course materials and online instruction.
2.10 Delivery Mode: Various modalities for delivering programs, certifications, and
courses such as face-to-face, hybrid/blended, and online.
2.11 Academic Honesty: Principles of academic integrity that are defined and enforced
as per the University PS 03.A.19 on Academic Honesty.
2.12 Prerequisite: Academic courses, approvals, or status required for enrollment in a
3.1 Goals for Online Education
UHD’s goals for online education align with the objectives stated in the university’s
strategic plan, as well as the SACSCOC guidelines.
3.2 Institutional Responsibilities
3.2.1 The university will assure that the institution’s administrative policies and
procedures provide an effective and efficient online education support
infrastructure. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness will inform Deans and
Chairs/Program Directors when a program qualifies as “online” according to the
definitions in 3.3.4 of this policy.
3.2.2 The university will provide sufficient financial resources to initiate and maintain
quality online education programs, certificates, and courses.
3.2.3 The Office of the Provost will provide oversight of university-wide support
structures for online education.
3.2.4 Assessment of online programs follows the same policies and procedures as
identified for all academic programs in PS 03.A.31.
3.2.5 The Office of the Provost will ensure UHD’s compliance with laws in other states
concerning authorization to provide online degree programs, certificates, and
courses to students who reside in states other than Texas. If necessary, the Office of
the Provost will limit enrollment in online course sections, programs, or certificates
to students residing in Texas or other states where UHD is authorized to offer
3.3 Degree and Certificate Programs Offered Online
3.3.1 Academic Departments and Programs determine what programs and certificates
will be offered online, with decisions influenced by currency of program, its
courses, and available resources.
3.3.2 Online degree programs and certificates will be consistent with the role and mission
of UHD, and program approvals will follow the course and program inventory
policy and procedure outlined in PS 03.A.12: Changes to Curricula, Courses, and Program Inventory Policy, with no distinctions made among delivery modes. All
policies, standards, and guidelines for traditional courses apply to online course
3.3.3 In the event that an online degree program or certificate is terminated, the university
has responsibility to follow university regulations related to program termination.
3.3.4 Online degree and certification programs assessment of student learning will occur
as outlined in the PS 03.A.31: Academic Assessment Policy. Undergraduate degree
programs in which 20 or more graduating students completed 50% or more of their
UHD courses online within a single Academic Year must conduct separate
assessments for online and face-to-face students for that year and in subsequent years
as per accrediting requirements. Graduate degree programs in which 10 or more
graduating students completed 50% or more of their UHD courses online within a
single Academic Year must conduct separate assessments for online and face-to-face
students for that year and subsequent years as per accrediting requirements.
3.4 Online Courses
3.4.1 Course descriptions, prerequisites, and learning outcomes, as well as the approval
processes will not differ based on delivery mode.
3.4.2 Programs, and/or departments, will define standards and best practices appropriate
to their discipline(s) for development and delivery of online instruction.
3.4.3 Online course sections are subject to the same policies and procedures that govern
the delivery of instruction of other modes.
3.4.4 The university will ensure student authentication in online courses, certificates, and
programs following all applicable regulations and best practices.
3.4.5 Students in online course sections have the same rights and responsibilities as
students in course sections offered in other delivery modes.
3.5 Library Support
3.5.1 The library will provide students enrolled in online course sections access to library
services and resources equivalent to those provided to students enrolled in other
3.5.2 The library will regularly evaluate resources and services provided for students
enrolled in online course sections, and make continual improvements as needed.
3.5.3 Librarians will inform faculty about available student services, resources, and
library instruction, so that faculty can communicate these to students enrolled in
online course sections.
3.6 Student Support Services
3.6.1 Students enrolled in online course sections, will have reasonable and adequate
access to the range of student services appropriate to support their course work and
degree completion. Support services include the following: admissions; registrar;
payment processing; bookstore; university catalog; academic advising; technical
assistance; registration; withdrawal from courses; financial aid information;
academic calendar; services for disabled students (Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990 accommodation); policies, procedures and protocols for taking courses.
3.6.2 All divisions offering support services for students enrolled in online course
sections will assess services regularly as part of assessment processes identified in
university policy and practice, making continual improvements as needed.
Assessment will include input from students regarding their online experiences.
3.6.4 Divisions/units offering support services for students enrolled in online course
sections will regularly inform faculty and students about these resources.
3.7 Faculty and Faculty Services
3.7.1 Faculty teaching online course sections will comply with departmentally required
standards for best practice in the online environment and have access to resources for
online pedagogy support. Faculty teaching in an online course section must have
regular and substantive interactions with students throughout the term in compliance
with Title IV requirements.
3.7.2 As with all curriculum, responsibility and authority for academic management,
program assessment, and oversight of online programs, certificates, and course
sections reside with the faculty bodies identified at university and departmental
levels. The faculty member of record in each course section retains full control of
the online course content, as consistent with university policy and departmental
3.7.3 Online course sections are subject to University of Houston System Board of Regents Intellectual Property Policy, 21.08, which defines all intellectual property rights
applicable to faculty, staff and students.
3.7.4 As part of regular assessment practices defined in PS 03.A.31, faculty will assess
online course sections using their departmentally adopted standards, and they will
make continual improvements as needed.
3.7.5 University will provide faculty with adequate equipment, software, and
communications access to support interaction and consultation with students enrolled
in their online course sections.
3.7.6 University will provide students with technical support appropriate for success in
online course sections.
3.7.7 University is responsible for informing students about technical skills as well as
required hardware, software, and supplemental materials necessary for participation
in the university-wide online course environment. Faculty must also include such
information in their syllabi along with any additional technology needs specific to the
Each department will develop a process to review and assess their online course sections and
programs using their adopted online instructional standards.
Responsible Party (Reviewer): Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and
Review: Every five years, or as necessary.
Signed original on file in Employment Services and Operations.
Issue #1: 06/22/2015
PS 03.A.12: Changes to Curricula, Courses, and Program Inventory Policy
PS 03.A. 31: Academic Assessment Policy.
University of Houston System Board of Regents Intellectual Property Policy, 21.08