Instructional Modality or Location

The federal government defines an academic program in part by where and how instruction is taking place (location and modality, respectively). Program modality and location are highly regulated and require external oversight and approval.
Refer to the Standard Approval Process Flowchart to see which approvals are required for university governance reviews.

Instructional Modality

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  • Instructional Modality

    Modality of instruction is defined as follows:
    • in-person (100% of courses are taught in-person)
    • hybrid (less than 100% of courses are taught in-person and less than 100% of courses are taught online, or all courses are taught in hybrid modality)
    • online (100% of courses are taught via distance education)
      • asynchronous instruction (courses recorded/not viewed live)
      • synchronous instruction (courses delivered in real time/live)

    NOTE: If even one student in an in-person or hybrid program could potentially take 50-100% of their degree online, you need to create an online version of the program.

  • Adding a New Instructional Modality to an Existing Program

    If you currently offer a program in one modality and would like to also offer the program in another modality, you need use the New Program Proposal form because the federal government considers the same program in a different modality to be a distinct program. Follow the instructions for Proposing New from An Existing Program (Section B) so that the information from the existing program will be copied over into the form.

    For the Program Instruction Mode question, select the new modality from the drop-down box. In the next question, you need to change the default location using the drop-down box to reflect the new location of instruction (online is also an instructional location). If you are adding a hybrid modality, you will need to revise the % of the program offered at the default location and then click on the green addition sign in the top right hand corner of the table to add a second location. For the % of the program offered section, you can put an exact number or a range, as appropriate. Complete the rest of the form as relevant. 

  • Changing the Instructional Modality of an Existing Program

    To propose changing the modality of an existing program, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. For the Program Instruction Mode question, select the new modality from the drop-down box. In the next question, you need to change the existing location using the drop-down box if you are switching completely from in-person to online or vice versa. If you are switching to a hybrid modality, you will need to revise the % of the program offered at the current location and then click on the green addition sign in the top right hand corner of the table to add a second location (online is also an instructional location). For the % of the program offered section, you can put an exact number or a range, as appropriate. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

  • Closing or Suspending Admission into an Existing Program's Instructional Modality

    Because the federal government defines a program in part by its modality, closing or suspending admission (even temporarily) into a program's specific instructional modality requires closing that version of the program in CIM. Follow the instructions for closing an academic program on the closure website.

Instructional Location

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  • Instructional Location

    The federal government regulates where a program's instruction takes place and considers the same program offered in different locations as distinct programs. An instructional location is one of the three UM campuses (Coral Gables, Marine, or Medical), online instruction, or an off-site location. 

    UM does not have any approved off-site instructional locations. If you want to offer all or a portion of an academic program at an off-site location, prior approval from SACSCOC will be required and this can take six months to a year. 

    [NOTE: Clinical rotation sites are not included in the definition of a program instructional location. Individual class sessions held off campus in an on-campus course and field experiences are not considered off-site instructional locations.] 

  • Adding a New Instructional Location to an Existing Program

    If you currently offer a program in one location and also want to offer the program at a different location, you need to propose this using the New Program Proposal form because the federal government considers the same program in a different instructional location to be a distinct program. Follow the instructions for Proposing New from An Existing Program (Section B) so that the information from the existing program will be copied over into the form.

    This will require full university governance approval as well as SACSCOC approval prior to implementation which can take six months to a year. 

  • Changing the Instructional Location of an Existing Program

    If you are changing the location(s) of an existing program, or splitting a current program's location so that a certain proportion is offered at one location and a different proportion at another location, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. For the Where is the program offered? question, select the new location from the drop-down box. If you are splitting the program among different locations,  you will need to revise the % of the program offered at the current location and then click on the green addition sign in the top right hand corner of the table to add a second location (online is also an instructional location). For the % of the program offered section, you can put an exact number or a range, as appropriate. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

Distance Education Resources

Distance education is highly regulated in US higher education. The University's accrediting agency, SACSCOC, has certain requirements for online and hybrid programs. UM is also a member of the National Consortium on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) which allows us to enroll US students from other states without having to pay licensure fees to each state but requires us to follow C-RAC guidelines for distance education. UM also has guidelines on distance education. DCIE and UMIT provide consultation and resources for UM faculty developing online courses. These resources are listed below for your information:

SACSCOC Policy on Distance Education and Correspondence Courses 
C-RAC Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (On-Line Learning)
UM Guidelines for Online Courses
UM Guidelines on Virtual and Other Classroom Recording and Student Privacy (FERPA)
DCIE Distance Learning Institute
UMIT Academic Technologies