Parameters for Online Extension Studies (OES) Courses in the University of the Nations

Introduction

As we move into the world of online learning in the University of the Nations Extension Studies (ES), we want to determine the parameters of the online courses that will receive UofN ES LCU credit. This is to ensure integrity and quality in these courses as well as to promote diversity and innovation, and that they remain in keeping with our UofN God-entrusted values. These parameters may change or be adjusted as we grow in experience in this dynamic educational arena.

Rationale for OES courses in the UofN:

Online training is a dynamic way for us to engage in our call to disciple the nations with technology enabling us to connect people thousands of miles apart in one (virtual) location. For this reason it is unhelpful to think of online training as ‘distance learning’. Employing the various options of communications technology, communication between staff and student and between students is easily possible in most parts of the world. Our OES courses can be asynchronous (this is when the student starts when they are ready, and works through the training material at their own rate), synchronous (this is when the students all start at the same time and work through the course at the same rate), or employ blended learning (this is when part of the course is online and another part in a classroom setting) but all OES courses should have staff/student interaction and student-to-student community in some way. Such meetings should be appropriate to the course and use such technologies as forums, virtual classrooms, Skype meetings, etc. Although the value of fully automated courses that require no staff/student interaction is recognized, those courses will not be given OES Course credit.

Parameters for OES Courses:

  • All Online courses should be registered through the OES Registration System, whether they are designed for active YWAMers or the wider body of Christ and should meet the same general requirements as all ES courses.
  • In addition to the above registration procedure, after the OES course has been approved and developed the course should be available for the ES Centre Director to review. The elements that will be looked for are the suitability of the Learning Management System (LMS), the quality of the presentation, and that the material offered is able to deliver the desired learning outcomes.
  • For DTS graduates credit earned through OES will be accepted towards a UofN degree if the course is both equivalent to a regular UofN course, and appropriate for the degree being pursued. As ES and OES credits are considered to be transfer credits, the total number of such credits that can be applied to a BA and AA degree are the same as other transfer credits.
    (NB: Maximum allowable transfer credits are: AA/AS – 24; BA/BS – 72. Approval of the College Dean and Provost is required. For master’s degrees, the number of allowable transfer credits is at the discretion of the College Dean and Provost.)
  • Students who enroll on one of our OES courses need to be committed into a (YWAM or other) Christian Community, where they meet together for worship, prayer and are being built up in the Word. This group can then be their accountability group to support them through their OES program.
  • In online learning, when the student is preparing assignments or taking tests, there is the challenge of ensuring that there is no plagiarism and/or substitution. Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as your own and substitution is when a person other than the student takes the test or prepares the assignment. It is our expectation that those who enroll for our Extension Studies courses exhibit integrity in avoiding such practices but the following will help with accountability in this area.
    • The student should submit a signed agreement at the beginning of the course that he/she will not be involved in plagiarism or substitution in anyway throughout the course. If tests account for more than 25% of the final grade, such tests should be taken in the presence of an adjudicator / invigilator and for tests that are less than 25% of the final grade, the written declaration proposed above will be deemed sufficient.
  • The authenticity of assignments such as essays, book reports and projects should be readily established through the growing relationship the staff person builds with the student as an ongoing part of the course.
  • As part of the course makeup, there should be clear deadlines published in advance for the completion of the student’s assignments.
  • Grades at the completion of the course should be recorded on the ES records site.
  • Your OES course should be named in such a way that does not limit others from creating similar online courses. We suggest the course be identified with the location that is registering the course or some other designation. For example should you create an online leadership-training course, the course should be presented as ‘The King’s Lodge Online Leadership Training Course’ (the name of the registering location) or ‘The John Robinson Online Leadership Training Course’ (the name of the person running or inspiring the course) or some other specific designation. This will enable others to create similar courses to serve their constituents and facilitate variety and innovation.
  • Students taking OES courses are likely to be from many different countries, therefore the payment system for registering OES students is not according to the course presentation location as with other ES courses but rather there will be a flat rate per credit per student at the B country rate, currently at USD4 / LCU.

March 2016

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