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Distance Education Policy

Adopted July 16, 2020

I. Distance Education Policy

(a) A distance education course is one in which students are separated from the faculty member or each other for more than one-third of the instruction and the instruction involves the use of technology to support regular and substantive interaction among students and between the students and the faculty member, either synchronously or asynchronously.

(b) The Law Center will award credit for a distance education course only if the academic content, the method of course delivery, and the method of evaluating student performance are approved as part of the Law Center’s regular curriculum approval process. Distance education courses must be approved by the Curriculum Committee and the faculty. Approval must be sought for use of distance education course delivery even if a course with the same name and content is already part of the approved curriculum.

(c) The Law Center will maintain the technological capacity, staff, information resources, and facilities necessary to assure the educational quality of distance education. Faculty members teaching distance education courses will take advantage of the training provided, will call on the support staff made available, and will utilize the technology necessary to assure educational quality and overall compliance with this policy.

(d) The Law Center will approve distance education courses for credit toward the 64 credit hours of “regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction” required by ABA Standard 311(a) within the overall credits required for the Law Center to grant a J.D. degree if:

  1. there is opportunity for regular and substantive interaction between faculty member and student and among students;
  2. there is regular monitoring of student effort by the faculty member and opportunity for communication about that effort; and
  3. the learning outcomes for the course are consistent with the Law Center’s learning outcomes established pursuant to Standard 302.

(e) The Law Center may grant a student up to one-third of the credit hours required for the J.D. degree for distance education courses qualifying under this Standard. The Law Center may grant up to 10 of those credits during the first one-third of a student’s program of legal education.

(f) Faculty members will utilize the Law Center’s Learning Management System (LMS, e.g., Moodle) or an LMS similarly protective and functional, as disclosed during the course approval process and reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, for posting links to distance education materials required for course credit. Faculty members will work with the Law Center to ensure that the LMS used applies an effective process for verifying the identity of students taking the distance education courses that also protects student privacy.

II. Exception to Distance Education Policy
for 2020-2021 Academic Year

The LSU Law Faculty acknowledges the limitations on in-person capacity and other restrictions on building use necessitated by the COVID-19 health crisis in the United States, which continues to have particularly severe effects in the state of Louisiana.

During the Spring 2019 semester, the Law Faculty suspended certain aspects of its then-existing Distance Education Policy to accommodate the number of distance education credits being offered in the summer term.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Law Faculty is suspending the provisions of subsection (e) of the Law Center’s newly revised and expanded Distance Education Policy insofar as enforcement of that limitation would prevent the Law Center from conducting the academic program in a hybrid manner in accordance with the ABA variance application submitted by the Law Center (some courses in person, and some online, including some first-year courses) or would prevent the Law Center from appropriately responding to further worsening of conditions in the state.