Distance Education Policy

The Health Science Center’s commitment to academic excellence includes consistency between traditional classroom instruction and distance education. The purpose of this operating policy is to provide a framework for the development, implementation, and maintenance of formal degree and certificate programs and courses offered via distance education for academic credit.


The school-specific administration is responsible for the administration of distance education programs and course delivery. The school-specific deans report to the President.

Health Science Center Commitment

All schools of the Health Science Center shall have an opportunity to participate in providing distance education courses and/or programs and shall be encouraged to provide distance education as appropriate. The Health Science Center shall ensure that all academic programs, including those delivered through distance education, are afforded an adequate resource support structure. The Health Science Center utilizes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) definition for distance education for its policy.


The Health Science Center utilizes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) definition for distance education for its policy. Distance education is defined as a formal educational process in which the majority (more than 50%) of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when the student and instructor are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may employ correspondence study, or video, audio or computer technologies.

Policy Statements

  • The Health Science Center policy mandates that programs offered via distance education shall be consistent with the institution's role, scope, and mission. Development of new online programs and courses will follow the same development and approval procedures as traditional programs and courses.

  • The Health Science Center distance education programs have student learning outcomes appropriate for the rigor and breadth of the degree awarded. As a component of the overall assessment, documented assessment of student achievement is conducted in each course and at the completion of the program, by comparing student performance to the intended student learning outcomes.

  • The Health Science Center evaluation of electronically delivered programs takes place in the context of the regular evaluation of all academic programs.

  • Selection of programs to be offered via distance education is the purview of the school-specific leadership. The school-specific administrators and faculty shall provide oversight of a distance education program in the same manner as traditionally delivered face-to-face. Academically qualified persons participate in the decisions concerning program curricula and program oversight.

  • School-specific leadership have primary responsibility for developing and implementing effective distance policy, procedure, assessment, and evaluation for all distance education courses and academic programs.

  • Courses delivered via distance education (whether or not they are credit or non-credit) are academic department courses approved through the normal curriculum process and must be recorded with the Office of the University Registrar.

  • Distance education students shall have reasonable and adequate access to the range of student services appropriate to support their successful completion of coursework.

  • Faculty who teach through distance education technologies are responsible for acquiring sufficient technical skills to present their subject matter and related material effectively.

  • The Health Science Center provides to those responsible for program development orientation and training to help them become proficient in the uses of the program’s technologies, including potential changes in course design and management.

  • Distance education students are accountable to the admission standards and enrollment processes as appropriate for the degree program.

  • The Health Science Center shall ensure academic integrity for all distance education exams. School level procedures are in place that includes firm student identification. Assessment of Student Learning follows processes used in onsite courses or programs and/or reflects good practice in assessment methods.

  • The Health Science Center employs a secure log-in authentication to access course materials and educational resources.

  • Each distance equation course or degree program shall be evaluated by students in the same manner as on-campus course offerings. School-specific leadership shall review the student evaluation results with faculty and support staff to facilitate the continuous refinement of distance education courses. Consistent with the policies governing on-campus course evaluation, documentation of distance education course evaluations and of the proactive use of the results shall be maintained in the school-specific departments.

  • The technology (such as the Learning Management System) used to deliver education instruction must be approved by Academic Technology Services.

Tuition and Fees

School of Health Professions and Dental Hygiene

Students who reside outside of Texas and are enrolled in a distance education (online) course/program only  are assessed $250.00 per credit hour with no additional tuition or fees. Texas residents enrolled in a distance learning/online course pay regular in-state tuition and fees.


The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognizes 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 places.”