Distance Education Modifications & Requests
Coordinating Board rules define distance education as "The formal educational process that occurs when students and instructors are not in the same physical setting for the majority (more than 50 percent) of instruction." Distance education can include courses and programs offered online, off-campus face-to-face, and electronic-to-groups. Coordinating Board rules recognize two categories of distance education courses: fully distance education courses and hybrid/blended courses. A fully distance education course is defined as "A course which may have mandatory face-to-face sessions totaling no more than 15 percent of the instructional time. Examples of face-to-face sessions include orientation, laboratory, exam review, or an in-person test." A hybrid/blended course is defined as "A course in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent), of the planned instruction occurs when the students and instructor(s) are not in the same place."
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rules governing the offering of distance, off-campus, and self-sustaining education:
- Chapter 4, Subchapter P (rules governing online, hybrid/blended, electronic-to-groups)
- Chapter 4, Subchapter Q (rules governing off-campus face-to-face, out-of-country, out-of-state)
- Chapter 7 (rules governing degree granting colleges and universities other than Texas public institutions)
You may also wish to refer to the following documents to determine the approval process, notification requirements, and funding for distance education programs and courses.
- Approval Process for Distance Education including Off-Campus Courses and Programs
- Tuition and Funding Chart
Program Approval Process Flowcharts
- Associate and Certificate Programs
- Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Programs
- Doctoral and Special Professional Degree Programs and Courses
Course Approval Process Flowcharts
- Lower Division Courses (Except Clinicals)
- Upper Division and Master's Courses (Except Clinicals)
- Dual Credit Courses
- Clinical Courses
There are a number of forms that are associated with approval to offer distance education programs.
- Institutional Plan for Distance Education
- Approval to offer a new doctoral program via distance education
- Approval to offer an existing doctoral program via distance education
- Approval to add an additional site(s) for a previously approved distance education doctoral program
- Certification form for electronically delivered and off-campus education programs
Principles of Good Practice
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board commends and encourages the development of online courses and programs that enhance access to higher education throughout the state of Texas. The Coordinating Board works closely with Texas colleges and universities as well as with ICUT (Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas) to ensure the high quality of distance education. To that end, all public institutions are required to certify that their distance education programs are in compliance with the Principles of Good Practice.
Study-Abroad and Study-in-America Courses
The Coordinating Board defines study abroad courses as "off-campus, academic credit instruction which is delivered outside the United States primarily to regular on-campus students." Study-in-America courses are defined as "off-campus, academic credit instruction which is delivered outside Texas but in the United States primarily to regular on-campus students." Institutions are required to certify that all courses meet the Coordinating Board's Standards for Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Courses. Institutions certify compliance with those standards through an online reporting system. Links to the standards and the reporting system are below.
All questions regarding study abroad and study-in-America should be directed to Andrew.Lofters@highered.texas.gov.
- Standards for New Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Courses
- Reporting Site for Out-of-Country and Out-of-State Programs
Off-Campus Educational Units
An Off-Campus Educational Unit is defined in Chapter 5, Subchapter D of Board rules as: A subdivision under the management and control of an existing public university, university system, health-related institution or a combination of these units, hereinafter referred to as the parent institution(s), in a geographic setting separate from the parent institution(s). Off-campus education units include teaching sites, higher education centers, university system centers, Multi-Institutional Teaching Centers, regional academic health centers, branch campuses, and all other off-campus educational endeavors.
- Request Form for Establishing a Multi-Institution Teaching Center (MITC) or A University System Center (USC)