MCLE Opinion 16

MCLE OPINION 16 - COURSES PROVIDED BY DISTANCE LEARNING METHODS

The purpose of this opinion is to provide guidance for the application of the MCLE Regulations to courses presented live, or presented pre-recorded, by distance learning methods.  Courses presented by distance learning methods must meet the following requirements:

1.         Courses provided by distance learning methods must afford interaction between the attendees and the presenter with respect to the subject matter of the course. Simultaneous, live interaction, an internet discussion group, a "bulletin board," or the use of electronic mail or other features providing such interaction may satisfy this requirement so long as active discussion is thereby facilitated.

2.         For purposes of this opinion “simultaneous, live interaction” means live real time synchronous communication between and among the presenter and the attendees either using voice communications or instantaneous electronic communication such as electronic mail communications or a live internet discussion group or other features providing synchronous interaction among the presenter and the attendees so long as active discussion thereby is facilitated.

3.         Courses provided by distance learning methods utilizing a live presentation must afford simultaneous, live interaction between the attendees and the presenter regarding the subject matter of the course.

4.         As defined in MCLE Regulation 101(j), a “pre-recorded course” means a program where a live presentation has been recorded and presented via any electronic media (e.g. videotaped, DVD or CD-ROM presentations, audiotaped or CD presentations, pre-recorded telephone seminars or webcasts, on-demand online courses, etc.) that does not include simultaneous, live interaction with the presenter.  Any distance learning CLE course that affords simultaneous, live interaction between the attendees and the presenter is not considered to be a “pre-recorded course” and is thereby allowable for all or any portion of the minimum of twelve (12) credit hours of approved CLE as provided in MCLE Regulation 102.

5.         For purposes of this opinion a presenter is either (a) the faculty member qualified by practical or academic experience to teach the subject he or she teaches during the CLE course, or (b) a person qualified by practical or academic experience to facilitate and who does facilitate discussion among the attendees during the seminar regarding the subject matter of the CLE course.  The presenter shall be available for some designated portion of no less than fifteen (15) minutes of the program for simultaneous, live interaction with the attendees. 

6.         The provider of a course which is delivered by distance learning methods must have a system and must maintain an archival record which allows certification of attendance to be controlled by the provider and which permits the provider to verify the date and time of attendance and which does not rely solely on a representation made by the participating attendee. For example, for an internet delivered course, a system which identifies the log on and log off of an attendee and prevents inaccurate representations regarding attendance and participation may satisfy this requirement.

7.         A provider of a course which is delivered by distance learning methods where the presenter and the attendee are not simultaneously engaged in the course at the same time must clearly specify during its registration process when the last substantive revision of the course was made. Courses may not be approved for more than three (3) years after the date the course was originally recorded, except those courses determined by the Board to be substantively current.

8.         The attendee must self-certify that any course delivered by a distance learning method was taken in a setting physically suitable to the course or program and that a suitable learning environment existed. To insure compliance with MCLE Regulation 102(f), for any course delivered by distance learning methods where the presenter and the attendee are not simultaneously engaged in the course at the same time the attendee must also self-certify that the course for which credit is sought is not substantially identical to a course for which the same member received credit during the same completion period or the completion period immediately prior to the one for which credit is sought.

9.         The provider must furnish high quality written instructional materials and attendees must self-certify receipt of same. Consistent with MCLE Board Opinion 14, these materials may be made available electronically or provided in printed form. In most instances, such materials should be made available prior to course attendance so that the participant can refer to them during the course. In appropriate circumstances additional and supplementary materials may be made available during or immediately subsequent to the presentation.

10.      No more than eight (8) hours of distance learning credit may be earned during any twelve (12) consecutive hour period.  No credit will be allowed for courses or portions thereof taken simultaneously.

11.      Courses must be presented through audio or audiovisual means.

12.      Course sponsors must provide the MCLE Board with free access to all CLE courses so that they may be monitored for compliance with the MCLE regulations.

13.      Without limitation, course accreditation may be terminated if the course sponsor is found to have failed to meet applicable MCLE regulations and the guidance provided by this opinion.  Such findings may result in denial of approval to the sponsor for future distance learning programs.

 

Approved 6/22/98 Effective 7/1/98 Revised 12/10/01 Revised 10/21/03 Revised 10/25/2011

 

Updated: Nov 10, 2011