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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

Technological and pedagogical advances in distance education have accentuated the necessity for higher education to keep pace regarding institutional infrastructures. Each infrastructure—driven by a common mission to provide quality learning—interprets quality according to standards established by various governmental and accrediting entities. Staying ahead of the technological and pedagogical changes have been challenging for many public higher education institutions, which are continuing to struggle with online course design and delivery modes (Suttle, 2010). Online universities, however, have aggressively and strategically responded to technological and pedagogical shifts across institutional, departmental, program, and course levels according to their institutional mission, vision, and core values. The American Public University System (APUS), a leader in postsecondary online learning, continues to align these foundational components through systematic program and course assessment. Demonstrating commitment to quality, APUS leaders developed the APUS Online Contact Hours Calculator to assist faculty and program directors with the assessment of total course contact hours. Core learning management system tools used to complete in-class and homework projects were apportioned time requirements toward contact hour calculations, thus streamlining the course review process, adhering to governmental and accreditation standards, and ensuring the overall quality and rigor of each online course.

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