The US Government Publishing Office maintains the electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
Correspondence and distance education courses are defined as such:
A course provided by an institution under which the institution provides instructional
materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials,
to students who are separated from the instructor. Interaction between the instructor
and student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student. Correspondence courses are typically self-paced.
If a course is part correspondence and part residential training, the Secretary considers
the course to be a correspondence course.
A correspondence course is not distance education.
Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work
defined by an institution, as approved by the institution's accrediting agency or
State approval agency, that is consistent with commonly accepted practice in postsecondary
education and that-
- Reasonably approximates not less than -
- One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of
out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester
or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit,
or the equivalent amount of work over a different period of time; or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1)(i) of this definition
for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory
work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award
of credit hours; and
Permits an institution, in determining the amount of work associated with a credit
hour, to take into account a variety of delivery methods, measurements of student
work, academic calendars, disciplines, and degree levels.
- Education that uses one or more of the technologies listed in paragraphs (2)(i) through
(iv) of this definition to deliver instruction to students who are separated from
the instructor or instructors and to support regular and substantive interaction between
the students and the instructor or instructors, either synchronously or asynchronously.
- The technologies that may be used to offer distance education include—
- The internet;
- One-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave,
broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices;
- Audio conference; or
- Other media used in a course in conjunction with any of the technologies listed in
paragraphs (2)(i) through (iii) of this definition.
- For purposes of this definition, an instructor is an individual responsible for delivering
course content and who meets the qualifications for instruction established by an
institution's accrediting agency.
- For purposes of this definition, substantive interaction is engaging students in teaching,
learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes
at least two of the following—
- Providing direct instruction;
- Assessing or providing feedback on a student's coursework;
- Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or
- Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency; or
- Other instructional activities approved by the institution's or program's accrediting
- An institution ensures regular interaction between a student and an instructor or
instructors by, prior to the student's completion of a course or competency—
- Providing the opportunity for substantive interactions with the student on a predictable
and scheduled basis commensurate with the length of time and the amount of content
in the course or competency; and
- Monitoring the student's academic engagement and success and ensuring that an instructor
is responsible for promptly and proactively engaging in substantive interaction with
the student when needed on the basis of such monitoring, or upon request by the student.
Previous : Distance Education Regulations
Next : State Regulations