New Distance Learning Platform Approval Process

New Distance Learning Platform Approval Process

The state has agreed to a major change in the way in which Distance Learning (DL) platforms are approved. Platforms that track time-on-task proxy hours, as opposed to relying on proxy hours based on unit completion, no longer require state approval.

When Minnesota ABE began implementing DL a number of years ago, most DL platforms relied on proxy hour equivalents based on the time it took representative numbers of students to complete modules or lessons outside of class. In recent years, many platforms implemented time-on-task proxy hour features. These accurately record the amount of time individual students are actively engaged with online content. This feature eliminates the possibility that students might sign-in to a platform but not be actively engaged, which was the major factor driving the use of proxy hours based on unit completion.

The DL Supplemental Services Team discerned that DL platforms that accurately measure time-on-task should not require state approval, just as in-class curricula do not require approval. MDE ABE staff agreed. ABE practitioners who request approval for a DL platform must document whether and how it aligns to ABE content standards (CCRS, TIF, Northstar Digital Literacy), and how that alignment was determined.

Programs can claim system-recorded time-on-task as proxy contact hours for these platforms, adding 15 minutes of time per hour to account for student and staff time that is not logged as time-on-task. Programs will need to provide some basic information for the MNABE DL website, so that all platforms in use can be included.

Platforms that do not include time-on-task features will still require pre-approval.

The new online form for all platforms is now available.

Please submit any questions regarding these changes via the MN ABE Distance Learning email ([email protected]).

Tom Cytron-Hysom, Consultant MNABE Distance Learning