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Distance Learning Programs at Medical Universities

Rules and Regulations

 

Introduction

Since distance learning programs focus mainly on educational advanced technologies and blended learning, e-courses are delivered mainly through online methods, and if necessary in some cases through verbal classes.

These programs are entirely developed and carried out based upon the terms of eligible universities and aims to the following purposes:

- Developing the scope of higher education and flexibility to community needs for entering university

- Guiding the e-learning process according to the possibilities and talents

- Characterization and concentration on health system including skilled manpower

Obviously, the faithfulness and commitment of the administrators and learners to the professional ethics will ensure excellence in education.

E-learning educational programs in all fields of study should be officially recognized and approved by the medical planning supreme council. These regulations are developed exclusively to interior learning programs; hence, the learning abroad programs should be subjected to the criteria of the high council for overseas qualifications assessment.

Chapter 1

Generalities

Article I: E-learning programs are supposed to be delivered mainly through online methods; hence, they are not designed for the field training and other practical courses.

Note 1: Over half of these programs are delivered mainly through online methods and just part of the theoretical and practical units, in terms of a systematic instructional design taken to the field / level and according to the executive department decision, through verbal classes.

Note 2: Training courses, internships & externships, in accordance with the field / level and the program, are delivered through face-to-face education. 

 Article II: Title, content and size of each e-learning program is just the same as the title, content and size of a program held in verbal classes, according to E-learning educational programs officially recognized and approved by the medical planning supreme council.

Note: In case of a course without any approved program, it would be necessary to design and propose an educational program to be delivered to the medical planning supreme council in order to get approval.

Article  III: Holding e-learning courses will be possible just by the workplace agreement for all groups including those who are doing military service, doctors and paramedics taking tenure, applicants concurrently educating in other fields / levels through face-to-face or online methods and the employment of learners.

Note: Student presence in all expected verbal programs and final exams in each field / level will be typically mandatory, so in this regard executive departments doesn`t have any responsibilities.

Article IV: Holding e-learning courses in all fields / levels doesn`t lead to exemption from military service.

                                                                         

Admission Requirements

 

Article V: Admission to study approved e-learning courses at the Center of Excellence for E-Learning at Tehran University of Medical Sciences is subjected to following academic admission requirements:

1. Being eligible according to I.R.I higher education general rules

2. Being eligible according to I.R.I higher education specific rules and the terms of the approved educational program

3. Student admission program, via centralized or decentralized entrance exams might be possible due to the university educational council approval

4. It is necessary for eligible applicants to have computer skills; information and communication certification (ICDL) from authorized centers, approved by Vice-Presidency for Strategic Planning and Supervision, otherwise the volunteers should be allowed to participate in computer skills exam.

5. Fees dealing with organizing the courses are specified in accordance with the criteria confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Board of Trustees.

Note: Entering e-learning courses don`t have any age and gender limits unless in some specific circumstances stated in each educational program.

 

Article VI: Qualifications for admission to the Center of Excellence for E-Learning at TUMS is just the same as verbal classes, according to educational programs officially recognized and approved by the medical planning supreme council.

Note 1: Course certificate holders and those who have equivalent degrees are not eligible to participate in these e-learning courses.

Note 25: If at any stage during exam concerning qualifications assessment, announcement of the results and during the study period, accuracy of the documents released by the applicants not be confirmed, in that case further study shall be prohibited.

Chapter 2

Registration

Article VII: Volunteers taking the exam successfully, confirmed by the center, may get access to register for e-learning courses. Registering for courses in the first semester is necessary and failure to register will be considered withdrawal from study.

Note: Universities are authorized to register volunteers with constant / variable probabilities, and in accordance with the current tariffs shall receive fees. It`s worth mentioning that each university should determine the tuition fees after approval of the board of trustees.

Article VIII: After the release of the results of the examination, failure to enroll for the first semester will be considered withdrawal from study.

Article IX: As the registration process declared by the university, students should undertake to comply with the university's registration procedures and select units for each semester. Registering for courses in the first semester is necessary and failure to register without legitimate excuse will be considered withdrawal from study.

If the student has a legitimate reason, selecting and registering for the courses in the upcoming semester would be forbidden but the semester is supposed as his study period.

Note: Students must make their reasonable excuse claim in writing and send it to the centre concerned, in the first month of the semester. Determining justifiable excuse is a duty of instructional center. The provisions of this article shall be valid just for a semester.

 Chapter 3

Academic Credits

Article X: Each course is assigned a certain number of academic credits as following:

According to the E-learning educational program officially recognized and approved by the medical planning supreme council, students are required to pass all the credits.

Article XI: Maximum number of units allowed per semester for a degree at different levels of study will be as following:

·       Associate degree: requires a minimum of 8 and maximum of 16 credits

·       Bachelor's degree: requires a minimum of 8 and maximum of 16 credits

·       Master's degree: requires a minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 credits

·       Ph.D. degree:  requires a minimum of 6 and maximum of 10 credits

 

Note: In the last semester, students are allowed to select even less than the minimum credits determined.

Article XII: Passing the M.Sc. and PhD degrees theses shall be in accordance with educational programs, recognized and approved by the medical planning supreme council.

Chapter 4

Duration of Study

Article XIII: Duration of study in different degrees follows below:

·       Associate degree program a maximum of 4 years

·       Bachelor's degree program a maximum of 8 years

·        Master's degree program a maximum of 5 years

·       Ph.D. degree program a maximum of 8 years

Students will not receive his/her degree unless s/he passes all the assigned academic credits in maximum length of study.

Note: Providing educational services out of the range planned, shall be according to the specified commission regulations and the educational program recognized and approved by the medical planning supreme council.

Chapter 5

Class Participation

Article XIV: Attendance and active class participation is obligatory. Absence from any course does not excuse the student from his/her responsibility for the work done or from any announcement made during his/her absence. The number and the way of making up the missing classes are set by the department at the beginning of the semester. More than four sessions of absence in a term results in an automatic exclusion from the semester. 

Chapter 6

Add/drop Course

Article XV: The deadline to add/drop a course is two weeks after the start of the semester. Each student is authorized to add or drop two courses each semester provided that the maximum and minimum of enrolled courses is within regulations criteria.  

Note: The students should select online add/drop deadlines for a list of the current semester's deadline dates. Summer dates vary, so be sure to check the Summer Studies at Virtual School Credit Course Schedule for accurate summer dates. After the add deadline, only courses with a late start date may be added. University policy prohibits students from attending, being evaluated, auditing, or otherwise participating in regular semester classes without being officially enrolled.

Article XVI: Following the academic add/drop regulations above, the dropping course is without a tuition credit, in other words; the dropping course fees is not refundable.

Article XVII: Dropping all matriculated courses in one semester is acceptable before the final exams only when the University Educational Council has confirmed that the students is not able to continue his/her studies. Upon the University Educational Council's confirmation, that academic semester is considered within student's total academic years and the fees are refundable.

Chapter 7

Evaluation of Students' Educational Status

Article XVIII:  To determine which interventions are most effective in improving student, teacher, and school performance and to evaluate students' educational status, Virtual School considers a variety of criterion including participation in face-to-face classes, net activities in Virtual School's portal, class activities, paper-based exam results during and end of each term and instructors' personal assessments on students' educational outcomes.   

The School-wide Evaluation of Students' Educational Status is designed to assess and evaluate the students' activities during the term and to evaluate critical features of school-wide effective behavior support across each academic school year. The Evaluation results are used to assess features that are in place, to determine annual goals for school-wide effective behavior support, to evaluate on-going efforts toward design and revise procedures and to compare efforts toward school-wide effective behavior support from year to year.

Note: Paper-based exams will be taken at the end of each term in a place determined by the School and the attendance is obligatory.

 

Article XIX: The criterion to evaluate the students' educational status is the score given by his/her professor which is ranged 0 to 20.

 

Article XX: The minimum score to pass a course is 12 out of 20 for undergraduate degrees: Associate degree/ B.Sc. and 14 out of 20 for M.Sc. and PhD. The students who have failed a non-optional course should retake the course the following term. Hence; all scores either passed or failed will be saved in students' transcript of records. 

 

The main exam of a topic is the one which is taken first within the actual exam period. In the case of its failure or omission the student must retake in the same course. The minimal waiting-time for repetition can be set by the head-of-department. With subjects extending over several semesters exams may accumulate. Even in these cases, however, exams must be given in a strict thematic chronological order relevant to the subject. This means that the first comes the earliest postponed exam of the subject then the next one. Although exams can, on the students' risk be shifted to a later period, no exams can be skipped or taken in reverse thematic order. Furthermore, the subject prerequisites must be regarded.

 

Note: If a student fails an optional course, he/she can choose another optional course according to Optional Course Table, instead. However; all scores either passed or failed will be saved in students' transcript of records.

 

Chapter 8

 

Absence from Examination(s)

Article XXI: Absence from any exam is deemed to failure marked as 0 score and in case that you provide a documentary evidence to justify your absence, the course will be automatically omitted and the tuition fees is not refundable.

 

Note1: If you are absent from one or more of your examinations for medical or other mitigating reasons, you must provide documentary evidence to justify your absence for the consideration of the relevant Sub-Board of Examiners.
A mitigating circumstances form is available from School Educational Office and should be handed back to the Office with supporting evidence by one week after the exam period.

Note 2: If your evidence is accepted by the Sub-Board of Examiners, your absence will be deemed to be with good cause and you can re-enter to sit the missed examination(s) at the next available occasion.

Note 3: Cheating and plagiarism are a violation of the University’s academic regulations and is subject to disciplinary action. Cheating during an exam includes e.g. peaking at other’s exam, using non-permissible electronic devices or assistance. Incidents of cheating will be referred to the Secretariat of Educational Programs. Students found guilty of cheating will receive a failing grade on that exam and will be subject to further disciplinary action. Students who fail to credit properly ideas or materials taken from another commit plagiarism. Putting your name on a piece of work – any part of which is not yours – constitute plagiarism, unless that piece is clearly marked and the work from which you have borrowed is fully identified.

Chapter 9

Exam Results

Act XXII: Professors and students are commonly concerned about the accuracy and fairness of their exams results. The professors are responsible to submit the scores no later than 20 business days after the exam and the students can protest over their exam results only 3 days after the results submitted by professors.

Note: The students can fill out Revised Score Demand in order to protest over their results. Revised Score Demand will be perused within two weeks and the final results will be unchangeable. 

Chapter 10

Average Score

Act XXIII: To keep a comprehensive record of all students' activities, the scores will be saved in students' transcript records at the end of each term and each academic term.

Note: To find the average score, the course credits is multiplied by the course score and the sum of the scores will be divided by all passed/failed credits.

Chapter 11

Conditional Registration

 

Article XXIV:  To pass a term successfully and to register for the next term, each student at M.Sc. or PhD level should have the average score of 15, not less. For students at technician degree level, continuous and non-continuous B.Sc. the average scores should be 13, not less.  If not, the student can matriculate for the next academic term according to Conditional Registration Regulations.

Note: The School will officially inform all conditionally registered students and will save a copy of student’s conditional registration in his/her file.

Article XXV: The mentioned regulation is designed to assist interested students in understanding the requirements for Conditional Registration. The conditionally registered student can not take more than 8 credits except for the last semester. 

Chapter 12

Academic Dismissal

Article XXVI: Academic Dismissal is the end result of a pattern of multiple semesters of grades below the School’s standards. Academic Dismissal occurs after the student has been warned about his/her academic performance. A student will academically dismissed if s/he is conditionally matriculated 3 preceding semesters at undergraduate level and B.Sc., 4 alternate/ 2 preceding semesters at M.Sc. or PhD level.

Article XXVII: Since the unsatisfactory grades generally result from serious deficiencies in preparation for School, poor learning and study skills, ineffective work habits, inability to cope with personal and family issues, lack of motivation, or inappropriate choice of major, the School considers a special situation for dismissed students: the student who is academically dismissed can get the certificate of his/her passed courses.  

Chapter 13

Educational Leave

Article XXVIII:  The educational leaves for students studying in different levels vary in accordance with educational regulations for each level.

Note:  The educational leave is considered as an academic term. General eligibility requirements:  Matriculated undergraduate or graduate students, in good standing, who have completed at least one semester and earned credits, may apply for an Educational Leave for a minimum of 1 semester or a maximum of 2 semesters. Additional leaves must be requested by submitting a new Application for Educational Leave within School deadlines. Under no circumstances shall the total number of semesters of educational leave exceed four per academic career.

Article XXIX: The Educational Leave Request should be officially submitted to the Office of Educational Services two weeks before the semester starts.

Note: The submitted Educational Leave Request will be checked by the School’s Educational Board under the supervision of the University’s Educational Council. Before the registration deadline, the acceptance or rejection of the Educational Leave Request will be informed officially.  

Chapter 14

Denial of Education

Article XXX: If a student avoids registering in an academic term without School’s permission or a documentary evidence to justify his/her absence in a term results in an automatic exclusion from the semester.

Note: If a student tends to declare his/her denial of education, s/he should submit documentary evidence one month before the end of that academic term to justify his/her absence. Please note that if the student’s absence is accepted by the Educational Board of the School, that academic term is considered as one educational leave.

 

Article XXXI: The student who decides make a denial of education should fill out an official request and should submit his/her written request to the Office of Educational Services. The student can cancel his denial of education only once during his/her studies and the written request should be handed to the Office of Educational Services one month before the academic term terminates and that academic term is considered as one educational leave. Please be considered that after the deadline, the Denial of Education will be ruled out and the student is deemed to academic dismiss.

 

Note: To consider a special situation for the students who have made denial on education, the School will issue the certificate of passed courses.  

Chapter 15

Graduation

 

Article XXXII: A student who has successfully passed all his/her courses according to the School’s Educational Regulations is called “graduated student”. A complete listing of graduation requirements can be found in the Academic Catalog. Students are responsible for fulfilling these requirements and are encouraged to consult with their academic advisers and resident assistants in planning their course schedules. Students are required to check their online transcript and program evaluation each term for completeness and accuracy. Questions should be directed to the Registrar's Office.

Article XXXIII: To get the graduation degree, the student’s total average score at the end of academic years for undergrads /B.Sc. level should be 14 and for M.Sc. / PhD should be 15. In case that the student’s total average score is below 14 (undergrads/B.Sc. level) or 15 (M.Sc./PhD), the student can re-earn the mentioned course to get a higher mark to boost his/her total average score.

Note: If a student doesn’t intent to re-earn the course or re-earning the courses does not change his/her total average score, s/he can get the certificate of his/her passed courses.

Article XXXIV: The Graduation Degree will be issued under the title of “Distance Education Program” similar to the face-to-face degree program.

Chapter 16

Other Relevant Issues

 Article XXXV: The Distance Learning Programs students can not meet School’s recreational facilities.

Article XXXVI: The general tuition and fees for the students is inconvertible and fixed, however; the instructional tuition will vary for each academic year. (The probable increase is not more than 20%) 

Students enrolling at Virtual School should allow for other expenses such as health insurance, books and supplies, phone, transportation, recreation, and other personal needs. These expenses are considered when financial aid awards are made.

Article XXXVII: The tuition fees for Distance Learning Programs and the academic discounts are planned and announced annually according the Country’s laws and Board of Trustees’ decisions.

 

Chapter 17

 

Host Universities Requirements

 

Article XXXVIII: The host universities should possess a center for Distance Learning Programs with the following standards:

 

1.    Organizational Chart, job description for Office of Distance Learning Programs determined by the University Council. Title, Space and organization position of this office differs in each university.

2.    Beside the Organizational Chart, the Office’s mission, goals, long-term and short-term program should be officially approved by the University Council.

3.    The entire process of Distance Learning Programs including the educational needs assessment, course contents, course structure, interaction with faculty members and educational departments, educational services (registration, course presentation, students' evaluation, and graduation), teachers’ evaluation must be shown in a flowchart.

4.    The host universities should possess an educational file for each student and a staff to keep the students’ educational files is required.

5.    The host universities should plan to employ the permanent national or international faculty members as the university professors or thesis supervisors. In this case, the total number of virtual courses should not be more that 12, the hours of educational advisors should be 10 per week and the number of thesis supervisors should not be more than 7.

6.    Student–teacher ratio is the number of students who attend the School divided by the number of teachers in the institution.  Active faculty members-student ratio in virtual programs for undergrads/ B.Sc. level is 1:15, 1:7 for M.Sc. and 1:4 for PhD level.

7.    The Office of Distance Learning Programs should assess and plan a suitable educational program for faculty members according their potentials and background activities. The documents should be available.

8.    To define the employers/ faculty members’ payment and equity (the Office of Distance Learning Programs, schools and educational departments, faculty members, staffs, students and private institutions), the host universities should approve intern regulations confirmed by the university Council.

9.    The Office of Distance Learning Programs should possess a website in which all mentioned issues are accessible. In addition, this website should bridge students and staffs.

10.The university should prepare the needed scientific resources to be presented to the applicants of Distance Learning Programs.

11.The needed resources for Distance Learning Programs includes:

·       Online Learning Management System (LMS)

·       Online Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

·       Virtual Library along with presented courses

·       Hardware, high speed broad band internet

·       Planned educational materials based on the content standards (which can be online or on CDs). To get the course license, the educational materials for the first academic term should be already prepared.

·       Student interactions via emails

·       User-friendly portals

·       The course structures, curriculum and educational regulations should be accessible on the website.

12.The Office of Distance Learning Programs offers the virtual courses in terms of University daily programs of permanent education which the documents should be accessible.

 

Article XXXIX: The eligible universities according to Article XXXVIII can make their request if they are intended to run Distance Education Program. The request will be checked by TUMS Development Council. 

 

Article XXXX: Other relevant issues which are not mentioned in this Regulation will be handed to students according to Acts of Educational Regulations.

 

 

This Regulation is composed of 40 articles and 22 notes, approved in 49th reunion of TUMS Planning Council in November 2012. It should be mentioned that respecting all articles of this Regulations is obligatory for all TUMS Distance Education institutions and all contrary instructions dated September 2012, must be canceled.

 

 

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