Academic Catalog

Distance Online Learning Policy


Ithaca College offers select credit-bearing coursework, degree programs, and non-credit bearing certificate programs or credentials online.

Our institutional mission is to be a “global destination for bold thinkers seeking to build thriving communities”. Online programming aligns with this mission by broadening our reach and expanding access to quality educational opportunities.

Online learning provides students with a flexible and alternative way to engage in academic study and complete degree programs, or to acquire specific job skills or credentials. The college’s online courses and programs maintain the same quality and rigor that can be found in our traditional classroom setting.

The Office of the Provost maintains primary institutional responsibility for policies and procedures for online coursework and programs. These policies and procedures will be reviewed annually to account for rapid technological changes with online instructional design or program delivery which may warrant updates. Substantive changes are subject to the process for policy review and approval outlined by the college’s Academic Policies Committee (APC), which may also necessitate review by Graduate Council.

The policies outlined in this document will apply regardless of the format or method of online learning. If a policy is not specifically addressed herein, the appropriate institutional (undergraduate, graduate, or office of extended studies) policies apply.

Definition of online coursework and programs

Online coursework and programs require that students be separated by time and/or space from the instructor and/or the campus from which the course/program originates. Modes of instruction and communication are by technological means, now known or hereafter developed. The policies and procedures outlined here apply to synchronous and asynchronous online instruction defined as follows:

  • Synchronous – Interactions between Instructors and Students take place simultaneously in prescheduled meeting times. 
  • Asynchronous – Interactions between Instructors and Students take place at different times as assigned by the instructor.

General Requirements 

Program Registration and accreditation

Credit-bearing online coursework and programs (either degrees or certificates) must comply with appropriate NYS State Education Department (NYSED) Guidelines pertaining to program registration. In addition, professional programs may need to seek approval from their appropriate accrediting body. Deans and the Office of the Provost must ensure that all accreditation requirements and standards are met.

Departments interested in offering degree-conferring programs that utilize fully online modalities for a significant portion of their curriculum must consult with their Dean’s office and follow the appropriate Program Authorization steps. All online coursework and credit-bearing programs must be submitted and approved through the appropriate school curriculum committees, and the Academic Policies Committee or Graduate Council, as appropriate.

Faculty interested in offering online programming that is noncredit-bearing must consult with the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. 

disclosures to prospective students

Degree-bearing programs or certificates that utilize more than incidental use of online coursework must be marketed as such and clearly explained to prospective students prior to enrollment.

Because online coursework can vary in modes of delivery and technical sophistication, and students taking online courses are expected to assume much greater independent responsibility, special restrictions may be necessary, or even required, as conditions for enrollment in an online course or program. These requirements must be communicated to prospective students prior to enrollment.


All online coursework shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.

Application to FAmily educational rights and privacy act (ferpa)

Ithaca College and all its academic units comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). Ithaca College makes every reasonable effort to protect the privacy of student sensitive personal information regardless of course or program delivery method. Ithaca College’s FERPA information is available on the Office of the Registrar webpageand that office is the point of contact for all FERPA-related issues.

application to graduation requirements

Credit-bearing online and in-person coursework may be used interchangeably to meet graduation requirements, unless expressly prohibited by major or minor-specific curricular policies. Online courses completed at other institutions may be accepted in transfer, provided that the courses have been evaluated by the Registrar, the appropriate academic department, and meet all other transfer requirements.

The college does not designate individual courses as online on the official transcript. However, students graduating from a fully online degree program will have this designated on their official Ithaca College transcript.

use of the learning managament system

The intended use of the Ithaca College learning management system is to complete activities specifically approved by the college. All users must abide by the policies and procedures described in Section 2.10 Technology Use Policies of the Ithaca College Policy Manual. Any use of the designated learning management system not related to the fulfillment of college-approved course or program responsibilities and deliverables is prohibited, including but not limited to business venture proposals. Credentials for access to the learning management system should not be shared with anyone for any reason. This includes backup of credentials, entry into the learning management system for completion of course requirements, assignments, or assessments. In no event will Ithaca College be liable to users for any incidental, indirect, special, or consequential damages arising out of improper use of credentials or the materials provided. Infringement of this policy will result in an academic review, pursuant to the Ithaca College Student Conduct Code, Faculty Handbook, or Policy Manual as appropriate.