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Student Guide

Policies and Procedures

eCore online courses have policies and procedures just like courses offered in the face-to-face classroom.

This section will provide information on the following:

Admission and Placement
Regularly Admitted eCore Students

Each student in the University System of Georgia is required to have a primary relationship with one institution, which is considered the student's home institution. This institution maintains the student's transcript, monitors progress toward a degree and processes any financial aid. Upon completion of degree requirements, the student will graduate from this institution. An eCore student must be registered at one of the USG institutions which offer eCore courses. Information on these institutions is available on this page https://ecore.usg.edu/about/institutions/.

Before registering for eCore courses, students must meet the admission requirements of one of the affiliate institutions. Students who have graduated from high school in the past five years should consult Georgia College 411 (https://www.gafutures.org/). Additionally, students should consult the catalog of their respective affiliate institutions for information on freshman admission requirements. Remember, the admission requirements depend on the type of institution.

Non-Traditional Students

Students who have been out of school for at least five years may apply as a non-traditional student. The student should follow the admission policy of the institution.

Transfer Students

Students who have earned at least 30 semester credit hours elsewhere may apply as transfer students. Transfer requirements vary by institution.

Transient Students

Students who wish to take eCore courses as transient students must file an application for transient status with one of the USG affiliate or non-affiliate institutions. Once the course is completed, the student may request a transcript for the eCore course be sent to his or her home institution.

Visit this link for the Core Curiculum Requirements

Core Curriculum Requirements

The eCore curriculum is organized into five areas based on the University System of Georgia Core Curriculum requirements. The courses and requirements in areas A through E of the Core curriculum are listed here: https://ecore.usg.edu/courses/curriculum. This list includes only courses available through eCore. To see a course description, consult the listing of courses here: https://ecore.usg.edu/courses/course-descriptions/

These courses are available online through the University System of Georgia. See Georgia ONmyLINE course listings. www.georgiaonmyline.org

Transfer Information
Transfer of Credit from eCore to a University System Traditional Core Curriculum
If a student completes an area of the eCore Curriculum without changing majors, full transfer credit for that area is guaranteed at other University System of Georgia institutions.

Georgia Legislative Requirements

A requirement of each USG institution is showing competency in the history and constitutional frameworks for both Georgia and the Unites States. Students can take either History 2111 or 2112 (2112 is not offered by eCore) to satisfy the history requirement. Political Science 1101 satisfies the constitution requirement

Honors Credit

A student may be able to convert an eCore course for Honors credit, but doing so requires additional steps to be completed in advance of the semester. First, the student must follow his or her home institution's policy for granting Honors credit. Second, the student must make arrangements as soon as possible with the eCore faculty member to fulfill such a policy. Often the faculty member will require that the student turn in an extra assignment of some sort in order to award the Honors designation.

The faculty member is not required to oblige the student; but if the faculty member does agree, then he/she and the student should describe in writing the conditions for granting Honors credit. Both student and faculty should sign the document, either literally or by email agreement.

Student Privacy and FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal statute, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99, that protects the privacy of student academic records. Notification of student’s rights regarding to FERPA and release of their student academic records is available in the affiliate institutions’ Undergraduate Catalogs. eCampus Administrative Services complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended (FERPA) for all aspects of students’ records/interactions and requires its team members to complete training on support protocols such as student confidentiality, including FERPA and HIPAA regulations. In addition to this training, student workers are required to sign an eCore Student Worker Employment Confidentiality Agreement [14] and a Worker Statement of Understanding of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prior to beginning work [15]. A signed copy of the document is maintained in each worker’s personnel file. Each support team member, who is employed to work with at-risk students, must complete additional training related to student privacy and FERPA regulations. Desire 2 Learn (D2L) is used as the eCampus course learning management system and is hosted on a secure (https) server by the USG Information Technology Services. D2L allows for the secure transmission of course material and content between instructor and student. Students directly login to D2L with a unique username and password, and all account credentials and access are protected in accordance with USG IT security guidelines and using the industry-standard SSL encryption protocol. eCore requires a proctored experience for every course for academic integrity and additional identity verification.

Academic Honesty

(Acknowledgement is hereby given to Georgia State University on whose policy this is based).

As members of the academic community, all students are expected to recognize and uphold standards of intellectual and academic integrity. The University System of Georgia assumes as a basic and minimum standard of conduct in academic matters that students be honest and that they submit for credit only the products of their own efforts. Both the ideals of scholarship and the need for fairness require that all dishonest work be rejected as a basis for academic credit. They also require that students refrain from any and all forms of dishonorable or unethical conduct related to their academic work.

In an effort to foster an environment of academic integrity and to prevent academic dishonesty, students are expected to discuss with faculty the expectations regarding course assignments and standards of conduct. In addition, students are encouraged to discuss freely with faculty, academic advisers, and other members of the academic community any questions pertaining to the provisions of this policy.

Definitions and Examples

The examples and definitions given below are intended to clarify the standards by which academic honesty and academically honorable conduct are to be judged.

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating on Examinations
  • Unauthorized Collaboration
  • Falsification
  • Multiple Submissions
  • Unauthorized Use or Distribution of Copyrighted Material in eCore Courses

The list is merely illustrative of the kinds of infractions that may occur, and it is not intended to be exhaustive. Moreover, the definitions and examples suggest conditions under which unacceptable behavior of the indicated types normally occurs. However, there may be unusual cases that fall outside these conditions that also will be judged unacceptable by the academic community.

Plagiarism

(NOTE: Plagiarism detection systems are often used by eCore faculty members. For example, see the following site: http://turnitin.com/en_us/home)

Plagiarism is presenting another person's work as one's own. Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student's work as one's own. Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken by someone else.

The submission of research or completed papers or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is specifically forbidden by the instructor. Failure to indicate the extent and nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism.

Finally, there may be forms of plagiarism that are unique to an individual discipline or course, examples of which should be provided in advance by the instructor. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this responsibility.

Cheating on Examinations
Cheating on examinations involves giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include the use of notes, texts, "crib sheets," websites, electronic documents or notes, and computer programs during an examination (unless specifically approved by the instructor), or sharing information with another student during an examination (unless specifically approved by the instructor). Other examples include intentionally allowing another student to view one's own examination and forbidden collaboration before or after an examination.

Unauthorized Collaboration
Submission for academic credit of a work product, developed in substantial collaboration with other person or source but represented as one's own effort, is unauthorized. Seeking and providing such assistance is a violation of academic honesty. However collaborative work specifically authorized by an instructor is allowed.

Falsification
It is a violation of academic honesty to misrepresent material or fabricate information in an academic exercise, assignment or proceeding.

Some examples of falsification are:

  • false or misleading citation of sources
  • the falsification of the results of experiments or of computer data
  • false or misleading information in an academic context in order to gain an unfair advantage.

Multiple Submissions
It is a violation of academic honesty to submit substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without the explicit consent of the instructor(s) to whom the material is submitted for additional credit. In cases in which there is a natural development of research or knowledge in a sequence of courses, use of prior work may be desirable, or required. However, the student is responsible for indicating in writing, that the current work submitted for credit is cumulative in nature.

Unauthorized Use or Distribution of Copyrighted Material in eCore Courses
Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material occurs when a student utilizes, reproduces, or distributes copyrighted material without written permission by the copyright owner. Unauthorized use or distribution of ANY eCore course material is expressly prohibited. This includes sharing any information about eCore courses with websites or any other third party.

Evidence and Burden of Proof

In determining whether or not an academic honesty violation has occurred, guilt must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that if the evidence that a violation occurred produces a stronger impression and is more convincing compared to opposing evidence, then an academic honesty violation has been proven. In other words, the evidence does not have to be enough to free the mind from a reasonable doubt but must be sufficient to incline a reasonable and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than to the other. Evidence as used in this statement can be any observation, admission, statement, or document that would either directly or circumstantially indicate that an academic honesty violation has occurred. Electronic means may be used to monitor student work for the inappropriate use of the work of others. (NOTE: Plagiarism detection systems are often used by eCore faculty members. For example, see the following site: http://turnitin.com/static/index.html)

Student Academic Honesty Violation Procedures

A student who is contacted by an instructor regarding an academic honesty violation should provide all information requested so that a thorough investigation can take place. Grades and/or academic records may be affected if academic dishonesty is confirmed. Academic Honesty Violation cases must be reported to the student's home institution. A student has a right to an appeals process if he or she feels any grade or decision is unfair; consult with the affiliate eCore liaisons as necessary. Also, after the initial discovery of an academic honesty violation by the instructor, the student will be afforded the following:

  • 1. Student is made aware by instructor regarding concern of an academic honesty violation.
    • Student is provided with possible consequences of the offense.
    • Student is provided with the opportunity to discuss or explain the circumstances in writing.
  • 2. Student responds to the concern(s) from step one within seven (7) calendar days. Response is sent to the instructor via the mail tool inside the course.
  • 3. Student receives decision from the instructor.
  • 4. Student accepts or appeals the instructor's decision within seven (7) calendar days.
  • 5. If the student decides to appeal the instructor's decision, the student should complete the Student Academic Honesty Violation Appeal Form, and then take the following steps:
    • a. Appeal in writing to the Assistant/Associate Dean of eCore.
    • b. If the appeal is not resolved at the eCore Assistant/Associate Dean's level, the student must inform the eCore Assistant/Associate Dean, in writing, within seven (7) calendar days that he/she is not satisfied and must then appeal to an ad hoc committee of eCore faculty in writing. The Dean of eCore will appoint the committee, which will then consider the written appeal from the eCore Assistant/Associate Dean's decision via conference call or through an electronic medium. After careful deliberation and consideration, the committee will recommend to the USG eCore Dean what should be done in the case.
    • The Dean of eCore will render the final decision taking all relevant factors into consideration.

Per BOR Policy 4.7.1, final judgment on all appeals rests with the student’s home institution. If the student wishes to continue his/her appeal beyond the decision of the eCore Dean, the student must appeal directly to the university PROVOST at his/her home institution, following local procedure, within seven (7) calendar days of being notified of the eCore Dean’s decision.

The Dean or Assistant/Associate Dean of eCore will be involved in the escalation of academic honesty issues and provide guidance, signatures, etc., during any appeals process as needed.

Grade Appeals

If a student wishes to appeal a grade, that appeal must be made within thirty days after the grade is posted. The student can contact his/her eCore Liaison or eCore Administration for assistance with the process.

The grade appeal process is as follows:

  • Student must appeal to the eCore faculty member in writing why he/she thinks that the grade he/she received is not in accord with what the student has achieved in the class.
  • If the appeal is not resolved at the faculty member's level, the student must inform the professor in writing within thirty days after the grade is posted that he/she is not satisfied, and then appeal in writing explaining why the grade was not what it should have been to USG eCore Associate Dean.
  • If the appeal is not resolved at the eCore Associate Dean's level, the student must inform the eCore Associate Dean, in writing, within one business week that he/she is not satisfied and must then appeal to an ad hoc committee of eCore faculty in writing. The Dean of eCore will appoint the committee which will then consider the written appeal from the eCore Associate Dean's decision via conference call or through an electronic medium. After careful deliberation and consideration, the committee will recommend to the USG eCore Dean what should be done in the case.
  • The Dean of eCore will render the final decision taking all relevant factors into consideration

Per BOR Policy 4.7.1, final judgment on all appeals rests with the student’s home institution. If the student wishes to continue his/her appeal beyond the decision of the eCore Dean, the student must appeal directly to the university PROVOST at his/her home institution, following local procedure, within seven calendar days of being notified of the eCore Dean’s decision.

Incomplete Grade Policy

The notation of "I" (incomplete) may be given to a student who, for nonacademic reasons beyond his or her control, is unable to meet the full requirements of a course. In order to qualify for an "I", a student must:

  • Have completed most of the major assignments of the course (generally all but one);
  • Be earning a passing grade in the course (aside from the assignments not completed) in the judgment of the instructor.

When a student has a nonacademic reason for not completing one or more of the assignments for a course, including examinations, and wishes to receive an incomplete for the course, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor in person or in writing of the reason. A grade of incomplete is awarded at the discretion of the instructor and is not the prerogative of the student. Conditions to be met for removing a grade of incomplete are established by the instructor.

A student receiving a grade of "I" is expected to consult with the instructor on remaining work and assessments. The student is then expected to complete all necessary work and assessments before the end of the next academic term.

Removal of an Incomplete

A student receiving a grade of "I" is expected to consult with the instructor on remaining work and assessments. The student is then expected to complete all necessary work and assessments before the end of the next academic term.

Once the student satisfies the incomplete requirements before the end of the following academic term, the instructor will submit the Grade Change Form changing the "I" to an appropriate grade. The grade change will be processed and sent to the Registrar's Office at the student's Affiliate institution, and the student's Banner record will be updated accordingly.

The university system requires that the grade of "I" be removed no later than the end of the third academic term after the grade of I was assigned (whether or not the student was enrolled during these three terms). The Office of the Registrar will assign a grade of "F" (or "U", if an "S/U" grading) at the end of the third academic term unless the Office of the Registrar receives an approved grade change request from the instructor. Using the grade change form, instructors may or may not change this "F/U" to an authorized academic grade (i.e., A, B, C, D, S or WF) but may not change it back to an "I". Instructors may not change an "I" to a "W" unless a Hardship Withdrawal is awarded. Students need not be enrolled to complete assignments for a course in which a grade of "I" has been assigned. Auditing or retaking the same course will not remove a grade of "I". No student may graduate with an incomplete grade.

Auditing Courses

Students who wish to audit a course may do so by selecting the 'audit' option in the registration process. No academic credit is earned in this status. Students may not transfer from audit to credit status or vice-versa after the last day to register on the eCore calendar. Auditors are required to participate fully in the class. A student auditing a course who fails to meet class participation and other assigned requirements will not be assigned to further group and/or discussion activities in the class. Students should consult with their institutional Registrar's Office regarding this option.

Registration without Tuition

Beginning in 2001, students desiring to register for courses under the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Georgia Residents aged 62 or Over Program may do so if space is available. These students must pay course-specific fees if any are required. Students in these programs will be allowed to register during the specified registration date at the student's affiliate institution.

Course Evaluation

Near the end of the semester, each student may complete an anonymous standardized evaluation form for each eCore course taken. The feedback provided will be helpful to the instructor and the University System in providing quality online instruction. Evaluation data will be gathered at a neutral site and maintained at a single system location. The faculty member will not receive the evaluation information until after the end of the semester.

To help ensure that services are improved, evaluation data will also be shared with other involved groups. Specific evaluation results regarding course development will be provided to the Board of Regents Advanced Learning Technologies unit. Results regarding student services and portal access will be provided to eCore Administrative Services.

Student Complaint or Grievance Policy

Student complaints are handled through one of two procedures depending on the nature of the complaint. If the matter is academic in nature, the student should follow the stated academic complaint procedures. If the matter is non-academic or grade related, the student should follow the stated non-academic complaint procedures.

eCore Administrative Services will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who file a complaint to the eCore Administration, or who cooperate in the investigation of such reports. To the extent possible, the confidentiality of the reports will be maintained.

Academic Complaint Procedures

An academic student complaint is any non-civil rights related complaint generated by an individual student concerning the work-related activities of any faculty member (such as grade disputes).

Students who wish to lodge a complaint about a grade should follow the Grade Appeal Policy. Students may not use this procedure to appeal grades resulting from violations of academic honesty. Students should refer to the Academic Honesty Appeal Procedures.

Students wishing to lodge a complaint that is not related to a grade dispute but that is academic in nature should follow the procedures outlined below:

  • Student must initiate a telephone conference with the instructor with whom they have a complaint no later than two weeks after the relevant incident/dispute. One representative from eCore Administrative Services may be requested by each party to participate in this conference. At this conference, the student must identify the concern(s) and propose a resolution. For assistance in setting up the telephone conference, please contact eCore Administration at 678-839-5300.
  • If the conflict is not resolved in the conference between the student and instructor, the student, if he/she chooses to pursue the matter further, must put the complaint in writing within five business days by completing the Student Complaint Form. Upon submission of the form, eCore Administration is notified.
  • The Associate Dean of eCore will convene a meeting with the student and instructor via a telephone conference. The Associate Dean will conduct any necessary investigation prior to the meeting. The Associate Dean will render a decision taking all relevant factors into consideration.
  • If the student or instructor is unsatisfied with the results of the meeting with the Associate Dean of eCore, either party may request a review of the complaint by the Dean of eCore. At that time, the formal written complaint and the instructor's written statement of facts as he/she understands them will be submitted to the Dean of eCore. Within one week of the time the Dean has received copies of the applicable documentation, the Dean shall appoint an ad hoc committee who will consider the written appeal from the eCore Associate Dean's decision via conference call or through an electronic medium. After careful deliberation and consideration, the committee will recommend to the Dean of eCore what should be done in the case.
  • The Dean of eCore will render the final decision taking all relevant factors into consideration.
Non Academic Complaint Procedures

A non-academic student complaint may be a complaint related to civil rights, services, violation of FERPA Regulations, or other complaints not academic in nature. If a student has a complaint, he or she should initially attempt to resolve that issue with the other person(s) involved no later than two weeks after the relevant incident/dispute. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of that attempt, then he or she should submit a formal complaint, within ten (10) business days after the attempt to resolve the issue, by following the steps outlined below:

  • To file a formal complaint, the student must complete the Non Academic Student Complaint Form after logging into SEADS. Upon submission of the form, eCore Administration is notified.
  • The Associate Dean of eCore will convene a meeting with the student via telephone conference. The Associate Dean will conduct any necessary investigation prior to the meeting. The Associate Dean will make a recommendation taking all relevant factors into consideration.
  • If the student is unsatisfied with the response from the meeting with the Associate Dean of eCore, he/she may request a review of the complaint by the Dean of eCore. At that time, the formal written complaint and the statement of facts as he/she understands them will be submitted to the Dean of eCore. Within one week of the time the Dean has received copies of the applicable documentation, at the Dean's sole discretion, grievance appeals may be held in one of the following two ways:
    • The Dean will review the information provided by the student and administration. The Dean may convene a formal meeting with the student via telephone conference. Parties of interest may include the student, Associate Dean of eCore, and other official campus representatives deemed necessary. The Dean will render the final decision taking all relevant factors into consideration.
    • The Dean will appoint an ad-hoc committee who will consider the written appeal. A telephone conference may be scheduled with the parties in question. After careful deliberation and consideration, the committee will recommend to the USG eCore Dean what should be done in the case. The Dean of eCore will render the final decision taking all relevant factors into consideration.
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