Distance Learning Guidelines
Southwestern California University offers only distance educational programs: Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Nature and Method
Southwestern California University uses the Moodle as platform for its distance education. Though the instructor and students are separated by distance, the distance learning format provides quality education equivalent to traditional on-campus courses, through the assistance of technology. Online courses have start and finish dates equivalent to classroom-based courses. Once enrolled, students can enter their course at anytime and anywhere they can access a computer with an internet connection.
Video recorded lectures are uploaded each week by instructors which are qualified in the same way as classroom instructors. Online courses feature a high degree of interaction between the student and instructor and among fellow students. Students connect to the online course site four or five days a week. The instructor will post assignments in relation to his or her lectures to foster students’ understanding of the course material and to stimulate discussion. Students submit responses and research, receive feedback from the instructor, and discuss what they are learning with fellow students. In summary, each of our online courses include video recorded lectures, threaded interactive discussions and course assignments such as journals, book reviews, quizzes, exams, and project papers. SCU does not allow more than seven days between the institution’s receipt of student lessons, projects, or dissertations and the institution’s mailing of its response or evaluation. Despite difference in delivery method, the actual extent and quality of academic work to complete a course for online programs is equivalent to that which would be expected for an on-campus course. As a result, our online programs are sufficient to meet the education standards that our on-campus programs accomplish.
Technical Facilities and Security of Systems for Distance Learning
Southwestern California University maintains adequate facilities and equipment to assure quality online education programs. The Distance Learning & Technical Support Office provides technical support. The distance learning director and assistant maintain and update facilities/equipment for quality education. Distance learning facilities/equipment include two (2) computers, two (2) High Definition Video Cameras, two (2) highly sensitive microphones, and lecture recording/editing software. The University conducts a survey questionnaire for each online course to measure the appropriateness of security of systems and adequacy of support. In addition, the University’s comprehensive annual survey of operational and educational effectiveness includes students’ evaluation of adequacy of technical/physical plant facilities and technical assistance service.
Technical Assistance and Training
The University provides technology training sessions for students, faculty, and staff during the first week of each semester. Our distance learning director and assistant equip them with essential concepts and skills for using hardware, software, internet, and online educational programs. This training session is also provided electronically at the University’s website for online students and faculty. Further, the Distance Learning Director and his/her assistant respond to individual technical needs and inquiries.
Providing Information about Online Learning
The University’s online programs assure technical assistance and academic advising. The Distance Learning Director provides an orientation session for new students during the first week of the semester.
New students must complete an orientation before entering the course. In this regard, students are required to attend an online course workshop provided by Distance Learning Office or complete an online course tutorial posted at http://www.moodlescuniveristy.org. Through this workshop and/or tutorial, students will ascertain the nature, structure, components, and academic requirements of the online courses as well as delivery system and technological skills.
Program chairs, the Distance Learning Director and Academic Affair Manager provide advising services for students. Course instructors are expected to reply to students’ course and academic inquiry within less than 48 hours. Distance Learning Office staff is available to assist students with questions concerning technical support and delivery methods
Online Course Access and Security System
Courses provided using the Moodle can be accessed through http://www.moodlescuniversity.org/ learning portal and require a unique user name and password to obtain access. One week before the online course begins, the student will receive an email with a login name and password giving access to the online course. The privacy of students enrolled in distance learning courses is protected. Student records are accessed by authorized persons only and will be stored in a safe and secure manner.
Students will receive a password and account designation upon completing the course registration process. Since any account can serve as an entry point for theft, damage or unauthorized use, users shall protect the confidentiality of their personal identification codes and passwords. Furthermore, users shall not attempt to make any unauthorized changes to data or attempt to intercept or access data or communications intended for another. Students are fully responsible for all activities that occur under his or her password.
Students are expected to immediately notify the University’s Distance Learning Office of any unauthorized use of his or her password or account or any other breach of security, and ensure that he or she exits from his or her account at the end of each session. Southwestern California University cannot and will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from the student’s failure to comply with the appropriate use of information technology resources.
Upon a security breach being noticed, our Distance Learning Office and Academic Affairs Office will immediately notify students of such a breach by email, text and phone calls. We will post the same on our school website and the campus bulletin board. Our technological support team will seek to identify the cause of any breach and provide proper resolution including requesting students to change their login IDs and passwords.
Faculty participation in Distance Learning Program Oversight
The faculty of Southwestern California University actively involve the evaluation and oversight of distance education, ensuring both the rigor of the programs and the quality of instruction. During each semester, faculty members report any problems or suggestions for resolution to the Distance Learning Director. The Director responds to their inquiries. The issues beyond the Director’s control are forwarded to the weekly operational meetings where President, CAO, and necessary administrators participate. Soon after a Semester is over, the Director holds a meeting with faculty to address instructional, technical, curricular, and any other issues for the enhancement of the quality of education. The faculty’s feedback and suggestions are taken seriously and reflected upon for both for the next semester and for long term planning.