This position paper of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges examines practical issues in the area of technology in education and provides a sample of possible policy and contract language. It is the fourth in a recent series of related papers that have addressed academic freedom in a more general setting, instructor-student contact in distance education, and foundations of privacy and copyright in a technological world. This paper discusses details of technology implementation in both the academic and the collective bargaining setting. It concentrates on faculty issues and viewpoints, although several of the topics examined has parallel implications for students. Individual institutions will decide on a case-by-case basis which issues belong in an academic policy setting and which belong in contract language.
The Academic Senate makes the following recommendations to local academic senates:
- Local academic senates should consult collegially and take a leading role in the development of college educational master plans; local senates should ensure that such plans address technology mediated instruction and distance learning, both of which may have an impact upon facilities master plans.
- Since both technology mediated instruction and distance learning are academic and professional matters, local academic senates should take the lead in working with colleges and districts to establish definitions of technology mediated instruction and of distance learning that are incorporated in educational master plans.
- Local senates should consult collegially in establishing parameters derived from definitions of technology mediated instruction and distance learning, as well as formulating criteria that can be applied to instruction to determine where and when such definitions apply.
- Local senates should monitor the impact of technology mediated instruction and distance learning on curriculum and may wish to assign such monitoring activities to the curriculum committee.
- Local senates should collaborate with appropriate local collective bargaining agents to secure policy or support contract language regarding issues that may affect work load, compensation, assignments, and policies governing privacy and intellectual property rights.
- Local senates should consult collegially to develop electronic use and e-mail privacy policies that are no more restrictive to freedom of expression and academic freedom than are policies governing printed and oral communications, usages, and contents. Such policies should explicitly address and reaffirm academic freedom throughout the spectrum of the electronic medium, including e-mail, websites, and online instruction, counseling, research, and communication.
- Local senates should collaborate with the appropriate local collective bargaining agents to secure policy or support contract language ensuring that instructor hiring, class assignments, and responsibilities for teaching remain the same in the arena of technology mediated instruction and distance learning as they are in traditional campus-based in-classroom courses. There should be an appropriate balance of curriculum, discipline and student needs.
- Since technology mediated instruction and distance learning courses require equipment and technological and technical support, local senates should consult collegially to develop policies and institutional commitments that adequately and appropriately support such instructional activities.
- Local senates need to be sure that the curriculum committee fulfills its duties in reviewing distance education courses as specified in Title 5 '55378.
- All issues of access require local senates to consult collegially with the college and district, including instructor access to computers and networks, student access to technology mediated instruction and distance learning, and access of the disabled to online and all distance-learning courses.
- Local senates should consult collegially with colleges to ensure that Library electronic access, including access to the Internet and websites, is no more restrictive than is access to the printed word.
- Local senates need to consult collegially with colleges to secure the same level of confidentially for all aspects of electronic advising that are recognized as necessary for traditional counseling modalities.
- Local senates should collaborate with the appropriate collective bargaining agents to secure policy or support contract language ensuring that evaluation of electronic instruction and of instructors engaged in such instruction conforms to classroom instruction evaluation and non-classroom teaching evaluation.
- Where materials are developed by an instruct or for technology mediated instruction and/or distance learning, local senates should collaborate with the appropriate collective bargaining agents to secure policy or support contract language ensuring that ownership of such instructor-developed materials remain with the instructor, in line with current practice regarding traditional course materials, hand-outs, and textbooks.
- With the appropriate collective bargaining agents, local senates should develop policies or support contract language that ensures agreement and appropriate delineation of copyright, ownership rights, and future use rights between the originating faculty member and the college.
- Local senates need to collaborate with the appropriate collective bargaining agents to support contract language that fully and adequately covers all issues of workload and compensation surrounding technology mediated instruction and distance learning.