R353, Telecommunications for Off-Campus Learning

R353, Telecommunications for Off-campus Learning

R353-1.Purpose: To enhance learning opportunities for Utahns through the effective and efficient use of new telecommunications technologies.


 2.1. 53B-17-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953

 R353-3.Policy Scope

 3.1. Alternatives to traditional classroom instruction: In Utah, use of microcomputers and electronic blackboards with telephone conference linkups, satellite broadcasting with phone feedback, vertical blanking interval (VBI) slow scan video using excess KUED broadcast frequencies, increased use of cassettes and videotapes, simulclass instruction provided over the state microwave system, and the broadcasting of KUED and Channel 9 telecourses (some prepackaged, and others produced or customized locally) with wrap-around materials and support instruction provided at various locations in the state, become exciting new alternatives to traditional classroom instruction.

 3.2. New technologies provide complications and opportunities: While these new technologies complicate Regent efforts to provide appropriate oversight of off-campus offerings, through proper statewide planning and cooperation among institutions in the public interest, many Utah students should have significant new opportunities for higher education.

 3.3. Reassess coordination: Thus, Regent efforts to coordinate the off-campus outreach education offerings of Utah colleges and universities must be reassessed from a statewide perspective in light of changing conditions. With the addition of Channel 9, a completed state two-way microwave system, and other electronic technology, creative faculty and enterprising administrators will have new capacity to offer courses and degree programs in many parts of the state.


 4.1. Designing Off-campus Offerings: Off-campus education offerings during the academic year should be designed for those students whose life patterns require courses, programs, schedules or locations not accommodated by the various instruction modes of the parent institution, except where outreach centers or programs have been specifically funded to provide higher education access for traditional students as well.

 4.2.  Roles and Missions Unchanged: In no case should off-campus education or telecommunications be considered a means for institutions to offer programs beyond their designated roles and missions.

 4.3. Review of Off-campus Programs: Outreach continuing education centers–those funded through state line item appropriations and otherwise–and all off-campus educational programs should be reviewed regularly in the same manner employed by the Regents for the review of academic programs. Responsibility for quality control of off-campus education courses and programs should reside with the regular academic departments of the sponsoring institution. Within this framework, consistent evaluation of outreach education programs should be incorporated as an important component of the Regents’ ongoing program review process.

 4.4. Reporting Enrollments: The reporting of all off-campus and outreach enrollments–whether credit or non-credit, acquired traditionally or through telecommunications instruction, and including high school concurrent enrollments–should be standardized within the Utah System of Higher Education. Analyses of such reports may provide the basis for relating enrollments to budgets, both income and expenses, for off-campus offerings in the System as well as the statewide assessment of appropriate differences among institutions.

 4.5. Institutional Prerogatives and Regent Approvals: Ample authority should be delegated to institutions to make their own continuing education and telecommunications decisions, except when system wide implications emerge or inter-institutional relations are involved. The only constraints placed on experimental or telecommunications classes would be the requirements for prior information-sharing and cooperation with local institutions having the primary responsibility to serve local needs within established service areas and role assignments. However, all certificate and degree programs exported off campus beyond an institution’s defined continuing education service area, whether by telecommunications or by more traditional means, should have prior approval of the Regents. Any off-campus or outreach certificate or degree programs to be offered cooperatively between institutions through continuing education or telecommunications should receive formal prior approval of the Regents so that any system wide implications can be evaluated.

 4.6. Telecommunications Advisory Committee: In order to promote the effective use of System telecommunications resources–The Utah Education Network, KUED, Channel 9, and the state two-way microwave system–a Regents’ Telecommunications Advisory Committee should be established, with membership appointed by the Council of Presidents. The Committee should oversee financial arrangements and facilitate experimentation, cooperation, and increased utilization of telecommunications resources among colleges and universities without hindering institutional creativity and initiative. As the technology continues to improve and instruction through telecommunications becomes more feasible, tested, and acceptable, considerable statewide planning and coordination will be required to promote its development and foster cooperation to properly serve the state’s population.

 4.7. Utah Telecommunications Consortium: The Regents’ Telecommunications Advisory Committee, in close consultation with the Chief Academic Officers and Continuing Education Deans, shall represent all System institutions in a Utah Telecommunications Consortium, to coordinate, promote, and offer telecourses over the EDNET microwave system, Channel 9, and Channel 7, sponsored by the institutions. The Consortium will serve as an information clearinghouse, resolve competing requests for time or System telecommunications resources, determine which institutions offer which courses over Channel 9 or Channel 7, lend expertise and provide access through requests for proposals to institutions wanting to offer open broadcast telecourses or clusters of courses, and publicize program offerings on a regular basis.

 4.8. Other Advisory Committee Purposes: Consistent with the new Utah Higher Education Master Plan, the Telecommunications Advisory Committee, in addition to guiding the Consortium, will serve the following purposes:

 4.8.1. Review and approve the annual Utah Education Network/EDNET/KULC budget, and determine access fees for telecommunications services

 4.8.2. Resolve competing requests for time on KULC and EDNET systems

 4.8.3. Determine the hours of operation for Channel 9

 4.8.4. Review statewide telecommunications grant proposals affecting higher education

 4.8.5. Serve as the statewide telecommunications master planning task force, proposing system plans and policies for administration and expansion

 4.8.6. Encourage the use of Utah Education Network/EDNET/KULC services where they can be used to provide improved access to quality education and training in a cost effective manner

 4.8.7. Represent respective institutional interest at the System level, and inform local administrators, faculty, and staff about telecommunications programs, opportunities, resources, and other issues.

 4.9. Advisory Committee Membership: Membership of the Telecommunications Advisory Committee is found under Policy and Procedures R26 in the System Directories portion of this volume.

[1] Approved December 12, 1986, amended October 9, 1987 and December 14, 1990.