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Distance Education Policies

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The following Distance Education policies were
passed by the Shared Governance Committees

In accordance with Article 40b of Local AFT 1521, beginning summer of 2016, before teaching online/hybrid classes, an instructor must demonstrate LMS proficiency by receiving certification in the Learning Management System.

Certification can be achieved in any one of the following ways:

  • Completing an LAVC facilitated online course, “Introduction to Teaching with Canvas” with a minimum score of 90%.
  • Completing an LAVC self-paced course “Introduction to Teaching with Canvas” with a minimum score of 90%.
  • Completing an LAVC face to face course “Introduction to Teaching with Canvas” with a minimum score of 90%.
  • Evidence of prior online teaching experience using the Canvas LMS system.
  • Completing OEI approved Canvas training with a certificate

The certification must be completed at least seven calendar days prior to the first day of the semester. (Passed by CDEC Spring 2019)  

Please Note:
If you have used Canvas at another school, you do not need to take the LAVC training. However, you need to provide the DE Coordinator access to your website from the other school so she can confirm that you have taught using Canvas. She can be contacted at

Standardized Learning Management System for Hybrid and
Online Classes

Beginning summer 2016, all hybrid and online classes at LAVC will use Canvas as the Learning Management System.. (Passed by Academic Senate March 2016.)

Faculty Email Addresses
In compliance with the district best practices, all LAVC Distance Education program business will now be conducted using only LACCD or LAVC email addresses when sending information to faculty. (Passed by CDEC on 9/4/13.)

Instructor Initiated Interaction & Frequency of Contact
The ACCJC has been looking very closely at DE programs in order to make sure colleges are offering true distance education courses and not correspondence courses according to Title 5, section 55376 and US Department of Education (USDE) guidelines section 602.3 (definitions). They are looking to see whether our online and hybrid courses have in place measures for instructor-initiated regular and substantive interactions with students through group or individual contact, orientation either online or face-to-face, telephone contact, e-mail contact, announcements, online office hours, online chats, voice mail, online lectures, podcasts, video casts, discussions, or other activities. The USDE is also focusing on the nature of interaction between instructor and student as well as instruction delivery.

After their 2013 visit at Valley College, the accreditation team recommended “that the college develop a formal definition of correspondence education and a process for determining the difference between correspondence education and distance education.” Additionally, during their visit, the team emphasized that Valley College needs to make certain that “regular and substantive interactions with students” are instructor initiated. To meet these standards for accreditation, online education needs to include two things:

  • Formal interactions which use one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students;
  • Regular and substantive instructor initiated interactions between instructor and student.

Our DE instructors need to make certain that there are measures for instructor-initiated regular and substantive contact incorporated into their online and/or hybrid course design and delivery.  Regular and substantive instructor contact means that the instructor must keep in contact with students on a consistent and timely basis to both ensure the quality of instruction and verify the student’s performance and participation.
All distance education courses at Valley College, whether hybrid or fully online, needs to include weekly effective contact as described below:

  1. Instructor initiated interaction and frequency of contact: Instructors should regularly initiate interaction with students to determine that they are accessing and comprehending course material and that they are participating regularly in the activities in the course. Distance education courses are considered the “virtual equivalent” of face-to-face courses. Therefore, the frequency of the contact will be at least the same as would be established in a regular, face-to-face course. At the very least, the number of instructor contact hours per week that would be available for face-to-face students, should also be available, in asynchronous and/or synchronous mode, with students in the distance education format. Contact should be distributed in a manner that will ensure that regular contact is maintained, given the nature of asynchronous instructional methodologies, over the course of a week and should occur as often as is appropriate for the course.

  2. Interaction and frequency of contact among students
    In the Spring of 2019, Title V, Article 1 Distance Education,
    ยง55204 was amended to include interaction among students (student-to-student interaction) in addition to the instructor-to-student interaction already in place. There must be online interaction among students every week in online and hybrid classes. A few ideas for you:
    • Discussion forums - students respond to other students (Discussions)
    • Peer Review - students can peer review each other’s work (Assignments)
    • Collaborative Document - students can collaborate on group work or project (Canvas Collaboration)
    • Group Assignments - students be assigned to groups to work on a project or assignment (Assignments)
    • And Many More Examples from other Professors

    Passed by CDEC Spring 2019

  3. Type of Contact: Weekly instructor contact with students through some combination of the following options:
Course announcements
Participation in a threaded discussion forum
Participation in an open-ended discussion forum
Private messages (PMs) to individuals or groups
Opportunity for questions and answers in a chat room
Email contact
Participation in online group collaboration projects
Face-to-face informal meetings (e.g. review sessions)
Face-to-face formal meetings (e.g. regular, scheduled class sessions)
Teacher response to student work in progress
Timely feedback for student work
Regular podcasts
Voice enabled messages (e.g. Voice Boards or voice email)
Synchronous virtual meetings (e.g. using CCCConfer

If Valley College’s online courses are viewed by the accreditation team as correspondence courses, instead of distance education courses, the following consequences can take place:

  • Loss of all financial aid awarded to our students who enroll in DL courses (not just for their DE courses, but for all their courses).
  • Accreditation deficiencies addressed via recommendations and follow-up.
  • Accreditation sanctions

The table below will help you evaluate if your online course is a distance education and correspondence course.

 ✓      Distance Education

 ✓     Correspondence Course

Effective instructor initiated communication on CMS/Course site

  • A welcome message to students
  • Provide a syllabus and course assignment outline

Students initiate communication about the course:

  • Email instructor with no response
  • Student appeals to Distance education office
  • And Departments/chairs for assistance

Instructor sends out announcements about:

  • Introduction of new material every week
  • Class progress and notable trends in the current class

Minimum generic messages/announcements about:

  • Assignment’s open and due dates
  • General problems and solutions
  • No messages at all

Instructor – student communication by any of the following:

  • Ex. Course chat-room
  • Ex. Skype
  • Ex. CCC Confer
  • Designated discussion forum
  • Private message/email - harder to observe


  • There are no office hours
  • No obvious interaction with students
  • Students troubleshoot their own problems

Instructors build classroom community by:

  • Creating a free-thinking space in chat or forums for students
  • Discussions are monitored
  • Instructors respond to students in discussion forums and chat topics


  • Close off chat room to students
  • Lock down forums to students
  • Instructors do not interact with students in discussion forum assignments

Instructor’s feedback to student on assignments:

  • Provide feedback in a timely manner
  • Which elicits critical thinking skills
  • which are not outsourced to publisher but, if they are,
  • Individual student feedback is provided on course site

Instructors only create assignments which:

  • Are automatically graded
  • are objective-based assignments
    •   are automatically graded
    •   are objective based assignments
  • Instructors give no additional feedback on course site beyond the automated score regardless of assessment tool.
(Passed by CDEC Spring 2013.)

Online Publishing Dates
Fully online classes should be published with posted materials and made available to students no later than the first day that classes are scheduled to begin. Canvas shells are now unpublished by default. You must publish them to make your course accessible to students. (Passed by CDEC on 9/1/10.)

Publish On-Campus Dates
If online classes require on-campus sessions including exams, those days must be published in the Schedule of Classes. (Passed by CDEC on 9/1/10.)

LAVC has the resources to help you as a department chair be successful with online classes

This page contains information on the regulations of distance learning and online course evaluation tools to aid Department Chairs in developing quality online learning options.

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