4.69 – Academic Rules for Distance Education

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 4 | Curriculum and Course Management

Responsible Executive: President

Responsible Administrator:

Last Updated: 05/09/2017



ARP 3.02 - Principles, Definitions and Examples relating to Conflict of Interest/Commitment

ARP 4.68 - Curricula Changes

ARP 4.81 - Degrees, Majors, Minors and Other Academic Programs of Study

ARP 11.05 - Intellectual Property Management and Commercialization

ARP 15.81 - Use of NMSU and NMSU-Hosted Personal Websites

Revision History:

2017 Recompilation, formerly Rule 6.55
05/09/2017 Amendment approved by Chancellor
10/21/2015 former Policy 6.55 replicated by Board of Regents as initial Rule 6.55
Prior revision history as Policy 6.55 not available


Distance Education at New Mexico State University refers to the formal process of delivering instruction via electronic or other media regardless of the location of the student or the instructor. This can be synchronous or asynchronous and can include face-to-face interaction. This definition doesn’t apply to dual credit courses.

  1. Distance Education Course Criteria: Courses that meet any one of the following criteria are considered distance education courses.
    1. Online courses with greater than or equal to 50% web-based technologies;
    2. Offsite courses that are face-to-face, with or without web-based technologies, offered at a location other than the campus of program origin*, except a field methods course for a non-DE program;
    3. Courses that use interactive television (ITV) to deliver instruction.
      * Dual Credit courses will not be assessed the Course Delivery Fee.
  2. Distance Education Program Criteria: A degree, certification, or other credential where more than 50% of the program is delivered via off-site, web-based technologies, or other media will be considered a Distance Education Program.



  1. Campus Distance Education Committee(s): Each campus within the NMSU system will have a distance education committee whose membership is determined by the campus academic officer in consultation with campus faculty.  Each campus distance education committee will review and coordinate its campus’ distance education activities with their respective campus chief academic officer, and with the distance education director.
  2. Distance Education Director: The distance education director provides oversight, coordination, and support for all aspects of the institution’s distance education program and course offerings. This includes but is not limited to professional development, student support, maintaining quality initiatives, and advocating for program development as well as growth.
  3. Provost and Chief Academic Officer: On behalf of the NMSU system, the provost and chief academic officer will coordinate the work of the campus distance education committees, with the committees’ respective chief academic officers and with the distance education director.
  4. Faculty Expectations: In order to maintain the educational quality of all distance education offerings, faculty are expected to have experience teaching online. When appropriate, departments are encouraged to include online teaching experience in the evaluation of applicants for faculty positions. The department head or dean will determine if faculty have or have not demonstrated appropriate experience. Faculty who have not demonstrated appropriate experience are expected to complete the following professional development activities prior to teaching an online course:
    1. Learning Management System training
    2. Short course for online teaching
    3. Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop
    4. Videoconference/ITV training when appropriate. Faculty are expected to use the institutional learning management system to deliver online course materials. However it is recognized that other web-based tools are sometimes more appropriate for certain types of interaction. The LMS should be the primary tool for interaction, but not necessarily for interactions of every type. (See Parts 2 and 5 of ARP 15.81).
  5. Administration: Administration will provide opportunities for faculty to continue to develop distance education teaching skills. Faculty teaching online are expected to keep current with new developments in distance teaching and learning. To support this expectation, if distance education courses are offered by a department, then Department, College, and Institution Promotion and Tenure documents must include appropriate credit for distance education course development as well as teaching online.



  1. Quality and Learning Goals; Prioritization of Distance Education Programs: A fundamental principle for all NMSU courses and programs is that quality and learning goals are consistent regardless of delivery modality. The value of distance education offerings is ultimately achieved through coordinated program offerings that lead to a specified credential. Resources will be prioritized toward offering full distance education programs over individual courses.
  2. Transition from Face-to-Face Delivery to Distance Education Delivery: Programs moving from face-to-face delivery to distance delivery must follow procedures for new programs as outlined in ARP 4.81Degrees, Majors, Minors and Other Academic Programs of Study. This rule applies to degrees, majors, minors or certificates that change modality from face-to-face settings or move more than 50% of the program to a distance delivery.
  3. Review and Approval of Newly Proposed Distance Education Programs: New distance education program proposals must be reviewed and approved by the Associate Deans Academic Council. New distance education program proposals must include an analysis of the technical and financial viability of the proposed program that outlines anticipated revenues as well as expenses of the program. Proposals will be reviewed by the Director of Distance Education to evaluate the level of support required by the proposed program.
  4. Assessment of Distance Ed Learning Outcomes: Assessment of distance education programs shall be incorporated into other assessment activities of the academic unit. When a distance education program is also offered face-to-face, assessment of learning outcomes shall be integrated.
  5. Requirements to Offer Online Courses: All NMSU online courses must meet a quality metric, defined by the chief academic officer at each NMSU campus, before being offered. This metric will address standards for course design, branding, and templates. Online courses will be reviewed on a five-year cycle by the college. (See ARP 4.68 – Curricula Changes).
  6. Approval of Distance Education Courses: NMSU’s four-year campus distance education courses must be approved through the appropriate college and the Director of Distance Education. NMSU’s two-year campuses will develop their own course approval process. The work of each campus distance education committee will be coordinated and aligned system wide through the Office of the provost and chief academic officer.
  7. Compliance with NMSU Policies and Procedures: Faculty and staff developing and teaching online courses will be subject to applicable university, college or departmental policies and procedures, including but not limited to the Administrative Rules and Procedures of NMSU (ARP).  For example, ARP 11.05, Intellectual Property Management and ARP 3.02, Principles, Definitions and Examples relating to Conflicts of Interest/Commitment.
  8. Course Delivery Fee (CDF): Each campus shall impose a course delivery fee for distance education courses as defined above*. These fees shall be shared among campus administration, colleges, and units in a manner that supports the mission of the university and distance education.
    * Dual Credit courses will not be assessed the Course Delivery Fee.