UTHSC is committed to providing a quality educational experience for all students regardless of geographic location or mode of delivery. Students enrolled in online programs or participating in instruction or field experiences in locations other than Memphis have access to the range of support services and resources necessary to successfully complete their education. Likewise, necessary and sufficient practices are followed to assure the privacy of all students regardless of geographic location or mode of delivery.
What follows is a summary of policies, resources, and services that are of particular note to distance education students. More comprehensive information related to many of the policies and resources summarized below is available in the official student handbook, CenterScope. In addition, college or program specific information related to programs offered online or at campuses other than the Memphis campus is provided in the college specific sections of this bulletin. Distance education students are strongly encouraged to review the information below as well as that available in CenterScope and contained within the program-specific portion of the bulletin.
UTHSC uses the definition for distance education as set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS):
“… distance education is a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. A distance education course may use internet; one-way or two-way transmission through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; audioconferencing; or videocassettes, DVDs, and CD-ROMs if used as part of the distance learning course or program.” (Distance and Correspondence Education Policy Statement, January, 2012).
Thus, distance education courses and programs include those offered online (relying primarily on the internet for the delivery of course material) as well as relying on videoconference capacity to allow synchronous interaction between students and instructors who are geographically separated. UTHSC uses the following definitions when differentiating between online and hybrid programs:
1. Online program: An online educational program is defined as any program where 50% or more of the program content is delivered through electronic means (either synchronous or asynchronous, though not including the use of videoconference technology to deliver a course or program to an off-campus instructional site).
2. Hybrid program: A hybrid educational program is defined as any program where 20 - 49% of the program content is delivered through electronic means (either synchronous or asynchronous, though not including the use of videoconference technology to deliver a course or program to an off-campus instructional site).
All online and hybrid programs offered at the UTHSC are clearly designated as such throughout the bulletin. Similarly, all online and hybrid courses are cleared noted as such based on the following definitions:
1. Online course: An online course is defined as any course where 50% or more of the course content is delivered through electronic means (either synchronous or asynchronous, though not including the use of videoconference technology).
2. Hybrid course: A hybrid course is defined as any course where 20 - 49% of the course content is delivered through electronic means (either synchronous or asynchronous, though not including the use of videoconference technology).
Policies of Note
Distance education programs are consistent with the mission of UTHSC and are approved and evaluated through the regular curriculum approval and program assessment procedures. Unless otherwise stated either below or in the official UTHSC student handbook, CenterScope, all policies, standards, procedures and expectations for on-campus programs apply to programs offered through distance education.
UTHSC expects regular class attendance from all students, regardless of the program in which they are enrolled or their geographic location. For students enrolled in online courses or programs, class attendance is determined by indicators of active participation. Participation may include activities such as submission of assignments, completion of exams, participating in online chats, or posting comments or questions on discussion boards. Simply logging in to the course is not considered participation nor an indicator of class attendance.
The standards of performance to be met by each student, including specific attendance expectations for each course, are established by the programs and colleges overall and by the instructors for specific courses. Class attendance policies and other course requirements are provided in the course syllabus and in the program specific sections of this bulletin.
Copyright and Intellectual Property
Comprehensive information regarding UTHSC and University of Tennessee policies governing copyright infringement, peer-to-peer and file-sharing is available in CenterScope and at http://policy.tennessee.edu/it_policy/it0110/. Distance education students should review these policies given the amount of course-related materials, including podcasts, copyrighted material, and audio and video recordings available to students through the learning management system (Blackboard). Guidelines on copyright and intellectual property regulations are also available at http://bot.tennessee.edu/counsel-copyright.html.
Students awarded academic credit for online coursework completed must be verified as the same individual who completed the coursework in order to be in compliance with federal regulations and accreditation requirements. In general, UTHSC verifies student identity through the use of a secure login and password to gain access to all course materials (contained within the Learning Management System, BlackboardTM as previously defined). Each UTHSC student is issued a unique user NetID and required to identify a secure password used to provide authenticated access to a variety of systems (Banner, Blackboard, etc.). Colleges and programs often use additional means through which to verify the identity of students completing course assignments and examinations. Allowing other individuals to complete assigned work on a student’s behalf is considered an Honor Code violation and may result in probation, suspension, dismissal or other disciplinary actions deemed appropriate. (See the Student Honor Code description below and in CenterScope for additional information).
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center requires that all entering students, including students enrolled in online programs, undergo tuberculin skin testing prior to registration and document prior immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, polio, and tetanus by recorded evidence of immunization. All required documentation must be submitted to the UTHSC University Health Services. Annual influenza immunizations are recommended for all students and may be required by clinical training sites. Students planning clinical experiences should consult with their program directors as to such requirements. For more information, refer to CenterScope, Immunizations Requirements.
State Authorizations for Distance Education Students
The US Department of Education requires that states be responsible for all education offered to residents within their state boundaries regardless of where the education originates. As a result, states have instituted state authorization regulations governing all or portions of educational programs that are being completed in their states by out-of-state students (e.g., a UTHSC student wishing to complete a field experience in a state other than TN). These regulations encompass both online education as well as clinical experiences for UTHSC students permanently or temporarily residing in states other than Tennessee. Students are advised to seek clarification prior to arranging for field experiences outside of the state of Tennessee or to enrolling in one of the College’s online or hybrid programs if they reside in a state other than Tennessee to ensure the presence of the necessary authorization. For information regarding currently authorized locations, refer to http://www.tennessee.edu/system/academicaffairs/online-education/state-authorization.html (although students should be aware that the status of state-by-state authorization changes frequently and as such the best source of up-to-date information is either the program director or academic dean for the specific college in which the student is enrolled).
Important Note for Prospective Students: If you are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license in your state, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing your home state BEFORE beginning the academic program located outside your state.
Student Honor Code
Complete information on the Student Code of Conduct, the Student Judicial System and Due Process, and the Student Honor Code is available in CenterScope. All UTHSC students, including distance education students, are bound by the Honor Code and Student Code of Conduct as outlined in these policies and procedures. As referenced above, it is considered an Honor Code violation to elicit the assistance of another individual to complete course assignments for which a student is awarded academic credit. In addition, it is an Honor Code violation “to engage in unauthorized or inappropriate distribution and/or use of course materials including podcasts/lecture recordings.”
All students, including distance education students, are required to sign the Honor Code Pledge prior to matriculation, attesting they have “read carefully the Honor Code of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and fully understand its meaning, significance and application” and agree to “abide by this Honor Code while a student in this institution and agree to accept all of its implications without reservation.”
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as amended sets forth the requirements pertaining to the privacy of student records, and the rights of students with respect to their education records. Faculty and administration within UTHSC are routinely trained on, and comply with, the mandates contained within FERPA. For complete FERPA information, refer to CenterScope, Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act.
In order to protect the privacy of distance education students, secure modes of delivery are used when the information is considered personally identifiable information (e.g. student ID, address, birthdate) and/or confidential information (e.g. grades). Of particular note - email is considered a public form of communication that is neither encrypted nor secure. Thus, personally identifiable or confidential information should either be transmitted through encrypted email or made available on a secure website or posted to Blackboard.
Finally, students are not permitted to post personally identifying information or confidential information about another student on publically accessible sites (i.e., through any form of social media). Such posts would be considered a violation of state and federal laws and the UTHSC Honor Code. For more information on guidelines regarding social media, refer to CenterScope, Social Media Guidelines.
Student Rights & Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of all students, regardless of geographic location, to be acquainted with all policies and rules governing UTHSC as outlined in the student handbook, CenterScope (see in particular section on Student Rights and Responsibilities). Violations of these rules will be subject to disciplinary procedures as outlined in CenterScope. Likewise, students have the right to appeal decisions regarding academic matters at the UTHSC as well as to file formal complaints if deemed necessary. Procedures for such actions are outlined in detail in CenterScope (see Academic Appeal Process and Student Complaint Procedures) as well as in the college-specific portions of this bulletin.
Submitting a Formal Complaint
All students, regardless of geographic location, are provided several mechanisms through which to resolve complaints. Each college has developed an appeals process for addressing student concerns regarding grades and grading procedures, assignments, progression, etc. These procedures are outlined in each of the college sections in this bulletin and apply to students enrolled in online programs as well as those students pursuing studies on one of the UTHSC campuses. Procedures regarding complaints related to discrimination, sexual harassment, financial aid (i.e., in cases where the student believes financial aid was denied unfairly), violations of student privacy, and any unresolved formally submitted complaints are outlined in CenterScope, Student Complaint Procedures. As with procedures followed for academically related appeals or complaints, the procedures outlined for all complaints are followed for all students, regardless of geographic location or program of study.
Most colleges and programs have identified technology requirements or recommendations that are outlined in the college and/or program specific sections in this bulletin. Distance education students, particularly students enrolled in online programs, are expected to have reviewed and met all technology requirements prior to matriculation into the program given the significant reliance on such technology for the delivery of course material.
Differential Tuition and Fees for Online Programs
Information about tuition and fees for the individual programs may be found at http://www.uthsc.edu/finance/bursar/colleges_fee_information.php with additional information regarding estimated cost of attendance at http://www.uthsc.edu/finaid/. Information regarding any additional or differential fees charged to students enrolled in online programs is available on the above listed website (for the Office of the Bursar).
Access to Academic Resources and Support Services as a Distance Education Student
The UTHSC is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of geographic location, have access to sufficient academic and student support services while enrolled in any of the programs offered through the institution.
Access to the UTHSC Library and Biocommunications Center for Distance Education Students
All distance education students have access to library resources and support services through electronic means. The gateway to all library and learning resources and services is the UTHSC library web site home page (http://library.uthsc.edu/). At this website, students can access all paper and electronic resources, services, staff, policies, contact information, directions, and Ask a Librarian (available to students by instant message, text, phone, or email).
Additional library resources available to students in Knoxville and Chattanooga
In addition to the access to electronic library resources described above, students studying in Knoxville and Chattanooga have access to two local facilities:
• University of Tennessee, Knoxville John C. Hodges Library - Students studying in Knoxville have access to the John C. Hodges Library on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This library provides research assistance and access to study space 24 hours a day.
• Preston Medical Library at UT Medical Center - Students studying in Knoxville also have access to the Preston Medical Library on the University Hospital campus. In addition to an extensive collection of medical journals and books, this facility provides study space, nineteen common use computers and wireless internet access. UTHSC students, faculty and staff can access Preston Medical Library holdings during normal hours of operation; access after hours can also be arranged.
• University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Lupton Library - As in Knoxville, students studying in Chattanooga have access to the Lupton Library on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. This library provides research assistance and access to study space during regular hours. A new library is being built on this campus and should open in January 2015.
• Erlanger Medical Library - UTHSC students studying in Chattanooga also have access to the Erlanger Medical Library at Erlanger Medical Center. This library provides a wide range of textbooks as well as print journals, many of which are also available electronically.
For additional information, refer to CenterScope, Library and Biocommunications Center.
Access to Student Services for Distance Education Students
• Financial Aid: All students can access Financial Aid services through weblinks, or by communicating with appropriate staff using email, phone, videoconferencing through Adobe Connect and/or Skype. Financial literacy sessions are provided face-to-face at regular intervals in Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga with a video archive of live presentations available to all students regardless of geographic locations. Students with additional questions can set up appointments by email, phone, video-conferencing through Adobe Connect or Skype.
• Bursar: Bills are delivered to students on a secured web site provided by the online servicer Touchnet. Distance education students access their bills electronically through this system using the self-service function of Banner (the UTHSC Student Information System) that links to Touchnet.
• Registrar: All students register for courses online using the self-service function of Banner using a secure login and password.
For additional information pertaining to each of these services, refer to CenterScope, Academic Process.
Access to Technology Support for Distance Education Students
• UTHSC licenses BlackboardTM as its primary Learning Management System (LMS), a web-accessible software application that provides students access to their course materials electronically. Access is gained through the use of a secure login and password, thus ensuring student privacy and access to course materials.
• The Information Technology Services (ITS) Helpdesk can be accessed (7:30am-5:30pm Central) by phone (901-448-2222, 800-413-7830), online (https://www.uthsc.edu/helpdesk/) or through email (to email@example.com) to submit a HelpDesk Ticket regardless of the student’s geographic location. Additional computer support (computer labs/computer access for student use) is provided at the UTHSC campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville.
The UTHSC Education Technology (EdTech) team offers a variety of tools and resources to assist students regardless of geographic location. For information regarding specific tools, applications, and helpful hints refer to https://academic.uthsc.edu/edtech/students.php.
Access to Student Academic Support Services
Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) promotes student progress through a wide array of programs and services designed to enhance learning and student performance, SASSI services are available for all students free of charge; all consultations are completely confidential.
- Academic support related to time management, board preparation, test anxiety and study skills can be accessed by appointment with educational counselors in the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) by phone (901-448-5056), online (http://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/), through web conferencing or Skype.
- Tutoring sessions, which are coordinated by SASSI, can be accessed live through video-conferencing or by reviewing archived sessions.
For additional information pertaining to each of these resources, refer to https://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/.
Access to Accommodations for Distance Education Students
Academic support and accommodations for all students with diagnosed disabilities, regardless of geographic location, is provided through SASSI in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Students disclosing a diagnosed disability with evidence of a functional limitation that impacts the individual in the academic setting will be provided with reasonable accommodations. For additional information, see http://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/disability_services.php.
Access to Health Care and Behavioral Health for Distance Education Students
For ALL students, on or off the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC) Memphis campus, a University Health Services (UHS) on-call provider is available 24/7 for any urgent issue (medical or behavioral health; 901-541-5654). In case of an emergency, distance education students are advised to call 911 to access immediate help in the community in which they are located. To reach a provider at UHS, Monday-Friday, 8:00-4:30, call 901- 448-5630.
Behavioral health services are available to all students 24/7 via phone (800-327-2255, option 3) through the Student Assistance Program (SAP). Through SAP, students are referred to counselors in their region or seen by Memphis-based providers via Telepsychiatric services.
Students located on other clinical campuses of UTHSC (e.g. Knoxville, Chattanooga or Nashville) are advised to consult the University Health Services web site at https://www.uthsc.edu/univheal/student%20services/Students_at_Other_Locations.php for the most current information as to how best to access medical services in these locations.
All students, regardless of geographic location or program, are required to obtain basic health care and medical care insurance. Students who fail to furnish proof of current insurance coverage will be prevented from completing their registration for that academic term.
For more information regarding access to health care and behavioral health assistance, refer to CenterScope, Health Services.