Distance Education FAQs


Q: What is a non-traditional delivery/distance education class?
A: Refer to Rule 23 of the State Board of Community Colleges Code 1G SBCCC 200.93(e)(1), (Reporting of Student Hours in Membership for Curriculum Classes), which states “Non-traditional delivery classes are defined as those classes which are offered through media such as internet, telecourses, videocassette and other electronic media excluding classes offered via the North Carolina Information Highway.”

Q: How is the census date determined for on-line classes?
A: Refer to NCCCS memo CC04-109, “Clarification of Reporting and Documenting Student Membership Hours for Distance Education Courses and Course Orientation.”  As long as the student registers, pays the appropriate tuition and/or fees, and meets attendance requirements (has not withdrawn or dropped prior to or on the 10% date), the student may be counted in membership for budget/FTE reporting purposes.

Q: How do you determine the basis for class membership in non-traditional/distance education classes?
A: As stated in the State Board of Community Colleges Code 1G SBCCC 200.93(e)(2), “For those classes identified as non-traditional delivery, student attendance in class or in an orientation session, submission of a written assignment or submission of an examination, is the basis for the determination of class membership at the 10 percent point of the class.”

Q: May a distance education student be counted for FTE purposes, if any activity including course orientation occurs before the official start date of the class?
A: No. As stated in NCCCS memo CC04-109, “In order to report student hours in membership for any non-traditional delivery courses, all activities to include ‘course orientation,’ must occur on or after the official start date of the class for which the student is enrolled.”

Q: How are membership hours calculated for non-traditional delivery/distance education classes?
A: The membership hours are calculated the same as any other traditional class. You must multiply the number of students that you have determined may be counted for membership times the total hours scheduled for the class.

Q: How do you document students’ attendance in a distance education class, and how long must the documentation be retained?
A: Refer to NCCCS memo CC04-109, which explains that “Documentation of class membership in distance education courses should provide a record of student participation similar to that provided by the class attendance documents for traditional delivery classes. This documentation may be maintained electronically, such as a record of emails between students and the instructor, or may be a hard copy, such as an instructor maintained attendance or student contact record. In either case, the documentation must be certified by the instructor or college staff responsible for the course and must be available for audit review.” The audit cycle is typically two years from the current year.

Q: What may I do if I have additional questions or concerns?
A: Several useful resource links are available. They include:

You may also contact Richard Redman (ext. 6049) or Earonita Strong (ext.6176) in the Compliance and Audit Office.