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Online Education Guidance Docs

DE Handbook

The College of the Canyons Distance Education Faculty Handbook provides an overview of the procedures, policies, and best practices for teaching Distance Education (DE) courses at College of the Canyons. Handbook developed by the Academic Senate and Online Education, May 2020

Recommendations for DE Synchronous Instruction

DE Regular & Substantive Interaction

The federal education code, the ACCJC, the CCCCO, and local BP 4233/AP 4233 require that distance education courses include regular and substantive interaction between the instructor and student, and between students. Instructors must initiate regular and substantive interaction with students. See Ensuring Regular and Substantive Interaction in Distance Education - FAQs for more information. 

COC Attendance Policy

How do you determine whether students enrolled in an online class should be considered no-shows or should be considered as attending the class?  These questions are addressed in Board Policy 4233 Attendance and Administrative Procedure 4233 Attendance. For complete language, please see the full Board Policy and Administrative Procedure. Some relevant excerpts are below.

  • Attendance Policy Information from BP 4233:

    Distance Education Courses

    1. Faculty shall initiate regular and substantive interaction with students in distance education courses.
    2. A student’s absence from a distance education course shall be determined by the last day on which the student was academically engaged and participated in an academically related activity in the class.
    3. The last date of attendance for students enrolled in a distance education course will be used in determining a student’s absences and subsequent drop or withdrawal from a class.

    Academically related activities include but are not limited to:

    1. Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
    2. Submitting an academic assignment;
    3. Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction;
    4. Attending a supplemental learning activity and/or study group that is assigned by the instructor;
    5. Participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and
    6. Initiating contact with the instructor of record to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.
    7. Academically related activities do not include activities where a student may be present but not academically engaged, such as:
      1. Logging into an online class without active participation; or
      2. Participating in academic counseling or advisement.
  • Attendance Policy Information from AP 4233:

    Students must actively participate in online courses to prove attendance. Attendance in an online course will be counted when a student participates in an academically related activity. If the student does not participate in an academically related activity throughout the course, the instructor may drop the student for non-attendance.

California Code of Regulations

Title V outlines Distance Education standards to which California Community Colleges must adhere. Each standard is listed below along with a brief synopsis of the recently updated changes (effective on March 17, 2019). For more information, please visit California's Code of Regulations.

  • Amended to add time and/or distance to the definition. Removes ambiguity to say that instruction provided through DE is subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


    55200 Definition and Application. Distance education means instruction in which the instructor and student are separated by time and/or distance and interact through the assistance of technology. All distance education is subject to the general requirements of this chapter as well as the specific requirements of this article. In addition, instruction provided as distance education is subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12100 et seq.) and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794d).

  • Wording changed from ‘traditional classrooms' to ‘in-person classes.'


    55202 Course Quality Standards. The same standards of course quality shall be applied to any portion of a class conducted through distance education as are applied to in-person classes, in regard to the course quality judgment made pursuant to the requirements of section 55002, and in regard to any local course quality determination or review process. Determinations and judgments about the quality of distance education under the course quality standards shall be made with the full involvement of faculty in accordance with the provisions of subchapter 2 (commencing with section 53200) of chapter 2.

  • Amended to specify that regular effective contact must be among students in addition to between instructor and students.


    55204 Instructor Contact. In addition to the requirements of section 55002 and any locally established requirements applicable to all courses, district governing boards shall ensure that:

    (a) Any portion of a course conducted through distance education includes regular effective contact between instructor and students, and among students, either synchronously or asynchronously, through group or individual meetings, orientation and review sessions, supplemental seminar or study sessions, field trips, library workshops, telephone contact, voice mail, e-mail, or other activities. Regular effective contact is an academic and professional matter pursuant to sections 53200 et seq.
    (b) Any portion of a course provided through distance education is conducted consistent with guidelines issued by the Chancellor pursuant to section 409 of the Procedures and Standing Orders of the Board of Governors.
  •  Amends to require an addendum that addresses how course outcomes will be achieved in a DE format, how regular effective communication will be achieved, and how the course will meet accessibility requirements.


     55206 Separate Course Approval. If any portion of the instruction in a new or existing course is to be provided through distance education, an addendum to the official course outline of record shall be required. In addition to addressing how course outcomes will be achieved in a distance education mode, the addendum shall at a minimum specify how the portion of instruction delivered via distance education meets:

    (a) Regular and effective contact between instructors and students and among students as referenced in title 5, section 55204(a), and
    (b) Requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12100 et seq.) and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, (29 U.S.C. § 749d)
    The addendum shall be separately approved according to the district's adopted curriculum approval procedures.
  • Inserts language stating that ”instructors of distance education shall be prepared to teach in a distance education delivery method consistent with local district policies and negotiated agreements."


    55208 Faculty Selection and Workload. 

    (a) Instructors of course sections delivered via distance education technology shall be selected by the same procedures used to determine all instructional assignments. Instructors shall possess the minimum qualifications for the discipline into which the course's subject matter most appropriately falls, in accordance with article 2 (commencing with section 53410) of subchapter 4 of chapter 4, and with the list of discipline definitions and requirements adopted by the Board of Governors to implement that article, as such list may be amended from time to time.
    (b) Instructors of distance education shall be prepared to teach in a distance education delivery method consistent with local district policies and negotiated agreements.
    (c) The number of students assigned to any one course section offered by distance education shall be determined by and be consistent with other district procedures related to faculty assignment. Procedures for determining the number of students assigned to a course section offered in whole or in part by distance education may include a review by the curriculum committee established pursuant to section 55002(a)(1).
    (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impinge upon or detract from any negotiations or negotiated agreements between exclusive representatives and district governing boards.

College of the Canyons Online Faculty Evaluations