Campus News

UK's Distance Learning Recognized for Innovation in Accommodating Students in Other States

student taking online courses looking at the Canvas web page on their home computer
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky (Oct. 5, 2020) While the University of Kentucky continues to grow its online programs and services to students, a national organization has recognized UK’s excellence in meeting the challenges of delivering distance education across state lines. UK Teaching, Learning, and Academic Innovation’s (TLAI) Office of Distance Learning has been awarded two SANsational Awards by WCET (the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) and the WCET State Authorization Network (SAN).

“I’m delighted to see the hard work and collaboration that went into these projects rewarded with this recognition from our professional organizations,” said Miranda Hines, TLAI’s associate director of Distance Learning.

According to WCET, award winners must provide “high-quality, comprehensive solutions” to meet the challenges of delivering distance education to students in other states while meeting federal regulations, institutional requirements, and student needs. The University of Kentucky’s awards recognized two innovative projects — its Licensure Disclosure Project, which converted the standard compliance page from a long list of disclosures to an interactive database using Tableau as a framework, and its Field Placement Coordination, which included the establishment of college- and program-level state authorization liaisons and a centralized hub for their compliance needs. The projects represent collaboration among the Office of Distance Learning, university leadership, UK Office of Legal Counsel, Information Technology Services, Admissions and several other areas.

“The Licensure Disclosure Project is a very cool tool for students and faculty alike,” said Associate Provost Kathi Kern, who leads Teaching, Learning, and Academic Innovation. “It allows prospective students from out of state to select a UK online program and discover within seconds whether that program will result in licensure in their home state. The ease of using this tool is incredible, but behind that easy interface is a mountain of complex compliance research in a rapidly changing landscape of online education. It’s great to see UK’s pioneering work get this national recognition.”

Colleges and programs also depend on the project for field placement. Evelyn Parrish, associate professor and director of accreditation and strategic outcomes in the College of Nursing, said, “I appreciate so much working with the Distance Learning team to assure that we have state authorization and that the board of nursing approvals are in place and disclosed prior to the admission of our students. We could not achieve our mission without their ongoing support!”

Others recognized with awards were The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Full project descriptions are available on the WCET website.

The Office of Distance Learning provides support for navigating federal and international requirements for offering fully online programs, courses and field experiences outside Kentucky. Programs in need of their support will find resources on the Teaching, Learning, and Academic Innovation website.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.