Regulations Update

​NC SARA (10-1-2020)


"These new requirements take effect July 1, 2021, yet early implementation is permitted."​

Here are some highlights of the new rules:

Clarity is provided on definitions of “regular and substantive interaction” in distance education such that “regular” is defined as taking place on a “predictable and scheduled basis” and “substantive” means students are engaged through teaching, learning, and assessment as well as at least two of these five activities:

  • providing direct instruction;

  • assessing or providing feedback on a student’s course work;

  • providing information or responding to questions about the course content or competency;

  • facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency;

  • or other instructional activities approved by the institution’s or program’s accrediting agency."

"Distance education and correspondence education are more clearly distinguishable through five critical factors:

  • Distance education should be delivered through an “appropriate” form of online media.

  • Distance education must use instructors that meet accreditor requirements for instruction in the subject matter.

  • There should be at least two forms of substantive interaction (see above).

  • There must be “scheduled and predictable” opportunities for instructor/student interaction (see above).

  •  Instructors must be responsive to students’ requests for support."

"Academic engagement” can be fulfilled through virtual/augmented reality activities."

Notional Hour

"'Notional learning hours' are the estimated learning time taken by the 'average' student to achieve the specified learning outcomes of the course-unit or programme. They are therefore not a precise measure but provide students with an indication of the amount of study and degree of commitment expected."