June 26-28, 2024
Long Beach, CA

Federal update – Compliance for Digital Learning and Distance Education

Leadership and Administration
All Audiences

Presented by:

  • Cheryl Dowd, Senior Director, Policy Innovations, WCET|State Authorization Network
  • Russ Poulin, Executive Director, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET)

Speaker Bio:

  • Cheryl is the Senior Director, Policy Innovations. Her primary role is to direct the activities of the WCET| State Authorization Network (SAN), including coordination of staff addressing interstate policy and compliance as well as other ancillary compliance issues. Additionally, she serves the overall WCET membership in addressing emerging and special regulatory issues related to digital learning in postsecondary education. Cheryl is a contributing author for a guide book for understanding the legal basis for State and Federal compliance for activities of postsecondary institutions, State Authorization of Colleges and Universities. Cheryl earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Richmond.
  • Russ Poulin is the executive director for WCET. He directs the team’s work in supporting the efforts of postsecondary institutions from all 50 states with a focus on the policy and practice of digital learning. He is a highly sought-after expert and leader regarding policy issues for distance education and on-campus uses of educational technologies. As WICHE vice president for technology-enhanced education, he advises on policy and projects for the regional higher education compact. Russ’s commitment to the field is continually noted, and he was honored to have represented the distance education community on federal negotiated rulemaking committees and subcommittees.

Session Info:

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on many state and federal regulatory requirements related to digital learning and interstate activities of the institution. Institution faculty and staff are often surprised by the responsibilities that must be met. This session is an extension of our previous presentation the “50+ Ways to Regulate: Foundations of Out-of-State Activity Compliance. Recent regulations regarding distance education and professional programs tie compliance to the institution’s participation in Title IV Federal Financial Aid. In this supplementary session, we will focus on Federal regulations that became effective in 2020 and 2021 as well as give an update on the most recent outcomes of the U.S. Department of Education negotiated rulemaking committee. We will provide the required elements of Federal regulations when serving students at a distance, programs leading to a professional license, and through digital learning. Included will be a discussion of regular and substantive interaction, substantive change issues, and student identification verification. Federal rulemaking will be explained, and procedural timelines shared for any future Federal regulations. This session will provide ample time to answer participant questions and engage in discussion of experiences at their institutions. Participants will leave the session with resources that summarize federal distance education regulations as well as a list of sources for further reference.

Session Outcomes:

  • Understand Federal regulations released in 2020 (ex. Definition: State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, State Authorization of Distance Education, Professional Licensure Notification Requirements).
  • Understand Federal regulations released in 2021 (ex. Definition: Distance Education – regular and substantive interaction).
  • Prepare for any future requirements that may develop as an outcome of the 2022 Federal Negotiated Rulemaking Committee.

Session Resources:

Federal update _ Compliance for Digital Learning and Distance Education DOWD

View the Session Recording

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