The following policy and information is in effect for all academic programs offered by Wayland Baptist University.
The Virtual Campus is the designation for the department that coordinates Wayland’s online program, supplementing the courses offered at each of Wayland’s physical campuses as well as support the undergraduate degrees offered online. Additionally, the Virtual Campus supports the university’s mission of helping students reach their educational goals by making courses more accessible.
All courses taught on the Virtual Campus must meet these minimum standards. Class sizes are usually limited to 25 for undergraduate courses and 20 for graduate courses. All Instructors are qualified and approved by the academic schools in which they teach. Interaction between instructors and individual students is required as well as student-to-student interaction. Assignments require analytical and writing skills; access to examinations is authenticated, often through proctoring. Students may expect prompt responses from instructors, usually within 48 hours.
Students must provide their own equipment for accessing online courses. While computer specifications are always changing, computers must meet the minimum requirements posted on the Virtual Campus webpage (www.wbu.edu/online) to take classes successfully online
In an online course, the Blackboard Academic Suite functions as the classroom. Interaction between instructors and students or among students is accomplished through email, discussion boards (not in real-time), or virtual classrooms (real-time). Homework assignments are posted within Blackboard and students are required to submit completed assignments to their instructors through electronic means.
Students may register for online classes through their campus of record or through Self Service (https://selfservice.wbu.edu). Self Service serves as a portal not only for registration, but for collecting payments and checking grades, as well. Students will be allowed to register for Virtual Campus courses only after completing the online orientation module posted on the Virtual Campus website (www.wbu.edu/online).
The Virtual Campus does not provide computer equipment to access online courses. Students must contact their instructors to reset exams or for questions concerning final grades. Additionally, students may obtain help on the following from their campuses of record.
- Academic advisement
- Financial aid counseling
- Registration for courses
- Dropping courses
Students are required to make arrangements for any tests requiring proctors. For students near a Wayland campus, office personnel may assist with proctoring when given adequate notice; office personnel cannot be expected to accommodate students who drop in unannounced to take a test. Students not located near a Wayland campus will need to make arrangements with their education office or local public library to have tests proctored. Prospective proctors not affiliated with Wayland must submit a completed proctor request form (found at www.wbu.edu/ online) to the Virtual Campus. Additionally, some instructors may require the use of a university- provided lock-down browser. In such cases, students must be able to install this software on the computer they will be using to take the exam.
Virtual Campus students have access to library materials through Wayland’s Mabee Learning Resource Center (LRC); the website is www.wbu.edu/LRC. The LRC provides numerous full-text databases, articles, and books accessible online. The LRC also sends books and articles to students at no charge. The LRC staff answers reference questions by telephone or email. Online tutorials also are available for students to learn how to use LRC resources.
The Virtual Campus maintains a home page (www.wbu.edu/online) on the Wayland Web site.
Here you will find the following information:
- Advice to prospective online students concerning approaches to study
- Minimum technical requirements for taking online classes
- A schedule of courses for the current and upcoming term
- Course outlines of current and upcoming terms
- Procedures for enrolling in online classes, ordering textbooks, and requesting proctors
- A technical support knowledge base with contact information to support staff
- Links to the LRC, the University Bookstore, Blackboard, and Self Service
- Announcements of important dates and events
- Tips for successful completion of online courses
- Information on using Blackboard and other content delivery systems used by WBU
Plainview Undergraduates Enrolled in Wayland Internet Courses
Plainview students are allowed to register for online courses in the last week of Virtual Campus registration.
Class Attendance - Online
Students are expected to participate in all required instructional activities in their courses. Online courses are no different in this regard; however, participation must be defined in a different manner. Student “attendance” in an online course is defined as active participation in the course as described in the course syllabus. Instructors in online courses are responsible for providing students with clear instructions for how they are required to participate in the course. Additionally, instructors are responsible for incorporating specific instructional activities within their course and will, at a minimum, have weekly mechanisms for documenting student participation. These mechanisms may include, but are not limited to, participating in a weekly discussion board, submitting/completing assignments in Blackboard, or communicating with the instructor. Students aware of necessary absences must inform the professor with as much advance notice as possible in order to make appropriate arrangements. Any student absent 25 percent or more of the online course, i.e., non-participatory during 3 or more weeks of an 11 week term, may receive an F for that course. Instructors may also file a Report of Unsatisfactory Progress for students with excessive non-participation. Any student who has not actively participated in an online class prior to the census date for any given term is considered a “no-show” and will be administratively withdrawn from the class without record. To be counted as actively participating, it is not sufficient to log in and view the course. The student must be submitting work as described in the course syllabus. Additional attendance and participation policies for each course, as defined by the instructor in the course syllabus, are considered a part of the university’s attendance policy.
Distance Education for Out-of-State Enrollment
On October 29, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released new program integrity regulations. One of the regulations focused on the need for an institution offering distance education, including practicums, seminars, test proctoring, online courses and degree studies, to acquire authorization from any state in which it operates.
Originally, this authorization was required to maintain eligibility for students of that state to receive federal financial aid. The federal state authorization rule was vacated on a technicality on July 12, 2011 and in June, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling to ‘vacate’ the distance education portion (§600.9c) of the U.S. Department of Education’s ‘state authorization’ regulation. In a “Dear Colleague” letter issued on July 27, 2012 the U.S. Department of Education revealed that it will NOT enforce the controversial distance education provision of the state authorization regulations. Nevertheless, institutions like Wayland Baptist University continue to be responsible for complying with the State laws as they relate to distance education.
What This Means
Before accepting enrollments for online courses from students residing outside of a state in which a Wayland campus is located, WBU must be in compliance with the distance learning regulations of the states in which students reside while enrolled. Some states require universities to seek approval before enrolling their residents, and the approval processes can be expensive and time intensive.
What Wayland Baptist University Is Doing
WBU continues to work to obtain authorization from other states. However, due to authorization and review processes associated with some states, we may be limited in our ability to accept some distance learning course enrollments.
Please contact the Virtual Campus to inquire about the current status of your state with regard to this USDOE state authorization requirement. Depending on the status of your state of residence regarding this requirement, WBU may notify you that you are not eligible to register for WBU distance education courses.