The ProEd team recently hosted an interesting webinar about various ways our solutions help career colleges stay compliant with the wide range of laws and regulations they must follow. I found the webinar to be informative not only because it discussed important Blackboard capabilities, but also because it served as an overview of the trends in for-profit regulation and policy that currently impact our schools.
Below is a list of some of the regulations we covered during our webinar, along with a discussion of the ways Blackboard can help professional colleges and universities comply with these rules:
The Clery Act: Under the Clery Act, career colleges must provide emergency notifications to students when there is an immediate threat to their health or safety. With Blackboard Connect, schools can send mass messages to students and staff via text, email, recorded voice messages, and even social media quickly and reliably. Blackboard Connect has been so useful to universities that entire communities are now using this technology to notify residents of an emergency! At the same time, institutions can use the same system to communicate with students regarding course deadlines and changes, as well as policy updates.
Check Fraud: As we have discussed in a recent post, there are regulations in place to address debit cards and other banking mechanisms used to disburse Federal Student Aid (read more here). Blackboard Pay helps professional colleges and universities avoid violations of these rules by eliminating many fees to student aid accounts, including credit exposure and overdraft fees.
Credit vs. Clock Hours: Professional colleges and universities must ensure that students complete 15 minutes of out-of-class activity for every hour of class instruction, while online programs must prove that students spend a similar amount of time completing tasks outside of the virtual “classroom.” To help schools comply with these rules, Blackboard has developed a host of analytical tools that help instructors and administrators track how much time students spend on coursework in real time (see slides 9 and 10 below for examples!).
Title IV: As we all know, attendance or an equivalent is crucial to Title IV compliance. Attendance is defined by evidence of student response to a question from an instruction, contribution to an academic discussion, the submission of a homework assignment, or participation in an online quiz. As was true with credit and clock hours, Blackboard Analytics provides a wide range of tools that track student attendance in a visually-appealing, data-rich format.
Student Success and The Harkin Report: Professional colleges and universities, like all institutions of higher education, are assessed based on student performance defined by student outcomes and retention. However, the recent Harkin Report claims there is not enough data to demonstrate student learning outcomes at for-profit universities, meaning these schools should be assessed on retention rates alone. Blackboard wants to change this lacking of data on student outcomes, and we have already begun to develop tools that allow instructors to see how course content aligns with student learning objectives, and then measures student mastery of those objectives (for more information, see slide 16 below).
If you are interested in learning more about the ways Blackboard can help your school get compliant and mitigate regulatory risks, check out our presentation below or contact the Blackboard Career College team via email at: ProEdInfo@blackboard.com!