Operational Procedures for Online Courses

Online courses offered through Online & Distance Education are designed primarily as a way of expanding access to UNI's educational offerings for students who live beyond commuting distance, and wish to pursue a program of study at a distance and/or update their knowledge in specific content areas. On-campus students may elect to enroll in online courses to solve scheduling conflicts, accelerate academic progress, make use of summer and interim periods and/or to experience learning in a flexible alternative to traditional instruction.

Interested in developing an online course? Questions may be directed to Online & Distance Education at 319-273-7206 or online@uni.edu.

Distance Education Delivery Methods

Entirely Online

Course is delivered using one or more forms of technology and the student and instructor are separated by time, space or both.

Blended / Hybrid

Instruction takes place face-to-face and online, with a specified proportion of the instruction taking place online. The time spent meeting face-to-face is reduced accordingly.


"Hybrid," "flexible" courses provide instruction both face-to-face and online, synchronously and asynchronously and allow students to decide which modality to engage with on a session-by-session basis.

Federal Definition of a Credit Hour

The Higher Learning Commission expects that the aggregation of preparation, time on tasks, assignments and interaction must reflect rigor and expectations equivalent to the federal definition of the credit hour — 15 hours of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 30 hours of out-of-class student work for each credit hour awarded.

Academic Standards

Each online course administered through Online & Distance Education will be expected to meet the academic standards of the sponsoring department. No course will be offered and no payment will be made until the faculty member authoring the course, the academic department head, the academic dean of the college and the dean of Continuing Education & Special Programs have indicated in writing that approval has been granted to offer the course.