Guidelines for Online Courses Carrying Graduate Credit Offered by Northern Illinois University

Section III. Item 22.

  1. An online course carrying graduate credit must have an official instructor of record, just as any other course offered for graduate credit.
  2. Persons receiving graduate academic credit for an online course must be admitted to the NIU Graduate School or to the status of student-at-large, just as would be required for any other course for graduate credit.
  3. Limitations, regarding who may enroll in a course in a given term, should be published in the same fashion as the availability of that course is publicized (in the Schedule of Classes or otherwise). For example, the fact that the delivery system for a course is the World Wide Web/Internet should be indicated.
  4. If a new graduate-level course is created that is intended to be offered primarily or exclusively online, its submission to the curricular-approved process must include providing the curricular committees a rationale as to how the number of credit hours has been determined. This may be done in a variety of ways and is necessary because "contact hours" may not be a germane criterion.
  5. Online graduate courses should not be identified differently on NIU transcripts.
  6. Acceptance of a graduate student's transfer of credit from online courses should be subject to the established limits on transfer of course credit. Similarly, there should be no special limitations on the amount of credit from online courses that maybe applied toward an NIU graduate degree.
  7. Graduate courses and programs offered online should be subject to the same approval processes as for other graduate courses and programs. It should be left up to individual departments and colleges by what mechanism courses gain their approval for online delivery. There should not be any special curricular approval mechanism for an existing degree program to be offered entirely online. As nothing special is recommended for online course approval, then when there are sufficient courses online, there will be a degree program online.
  8. Current rules regarding number of hours of credit that a graduate-level student can take in an academic term should apply to online courses as well. That is, these courses will count in the student's course load.
  9. Online graduate courses should adhere to the same academic calendar and related rules (drop/add, withdrawal, refund policies, etc.) as traditional graduate courses. The use of the boundaries of the existing academic terms is sound both academically and administratively.
  10. Delivery of graduate courses by remote electronic means can be important and appropriate but such courses ought not become the electronic equivalent of correspondence courses. Therefore, courses delivered by these means must include significant interaction between students and instructor, and among students, when such opportunities would normally be part of the course if offered in traditional on-campus mode.

Approved by the Graduate Council, October 5, 1998