Distance Learning / SARA Agreement
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories in the United States, which establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education activities. These distance education activities may include, but not be limited to, online courses and certain types of supervised field experiences. SARA is intended to simplify the process of state authorization related to the aforementioned distance education activities by establishing a standard approval process through which institutions may participate in the reciprocity agreement with other member states. At present, all states except for California are members of SARA. Although SARA facilitates state authorization for certain types of distance education activities, the reciprocity agreement has no effect on state professional licensure requirements. To learn more about SARA, please visit: nc-sara.org.
On April 27, 2020 the Puerto Rico Board of Postsecondary Institutions recommended Albizu University to be part of NC-SARA. On May 11, 2020 NC-SARA approved institutional participation for Albizu University.
Albizu University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
Professional Licensure and State Disclosures
The following information is provided in compliance with state regulations related to higher education. Some state laws require an institution to provide students with specific disclosures. The following statements are presented in order to comply with these requirements. Students enrolled in Albizu online programs and residing in the states listed should review this information.
In compliance with the current federal regulations, in particular sections 34 CFR 668.43 (a) (5) (v) and 34 CFR 668.43 (c) “Professional Licensure Notifications”, we inform you that Albizu University is in the process of determining whether the curricula of its academic programs that require licenses or professional certification to practice the profession, meet the requirements established for these purposes by the various states and territories of the United States, where our students are located.
The Institution will notify, in writing, all students, applicants, and potential students (collectively “Students”) who have contacted the Institution about a course or program, as to whether or not the Student’s successful completion of the course or program that customarily leads to professional licensure meets state licensing or post-licensing requirements (“Licensure Information”) where the Student is located.
The Student’s location for purposes of providing Licensure Information is where the Student is physically located at the time the Student is in contact with the Institution. The location is based on where the student is receiving the instruction, not their legal State of residence. The Institution will determine location based on the address provided by the Student at the time of inquiry or enrollment. If a Student relocates, the Student must inform the Institution’s registrar’s office in writing of their new location in advance of the move, if possible, but in no case later than one week after changing location.
|San Juan Campus||Registrar: Maria L. Riveraemail@example.com|
|Mayaguez University Center||Registrar: Maria L. Riverafirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Miami Campus||Registrar: Rosa Belvis Lopezrvelvisemail@example.com|
Albizu University has in place the following process to determine student location address (Rev. April 2020)
- When the student applies for admission to the university, he/she needs to provide a location address to the Admissions’ Office.
- The student certify that the information provided is correct through the acceptance of disclosure in the admission application:
- Do you certify the following? *I hereby certify that the information provided in this application is true, complete, and accurate. The University has my full permission to verify any information provided in this application or any submitted document regarding my abilities, character, reputation, previous education, employment, and any other relevant information. I hereby release all such parties from liability or damages caused by providing any information to Albizu University and/or its representatives
- If a student changes his/her location address once admitted and enrolled, they must update the information in our information system through Student Self Service.
- The student certify that the information provided is correct through the acceptance of disclosure in Student Self-Service platform
- I hereby certify that the information provided for my location address is true, complete, and accurate. The University has my full permission to verify my location address provided thru Self Service or any submitted document regarding my contact information. I hereby release all such parties from liability or damages caused by providing any information to Albizu University, and/or its representatives.
If the Institution determines that a course or program does not meet requirements in the location where the Student is located, the Institution agrees to provide written notice within 14 days of making this determination. If the Institution is unable to make such a determination, the Institution will notify the Student that the Institution cannot confirm the Licensure Information and will provide the Student current contact information for any applicable licensing boards in order for the student to attempt to independently determine whether the program meets licensure requirements where the student is located.
The Institution’s complaint resolution policies and procedures, as well as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (“SARA”) complaint resolution policies and procedures, are provided here and are available to all students taking courses under SARA policies.
The Institution agrees to disclose enforcement actions and prosecutions brought against the Institution by a State or Federal law enforcement agency wherein a final judgment, if rendered, would result in an adverse action by an accrediting agency against the Institution, revocation of State authorization, or limitation, suspension, or termination of Title IV eligibility.
Student Identity Verification in Distance Learning
The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) system is a University authentication and security measure to ensure that accounts are managed more securely across University campuses. All students at Albizu University are provided with credentials with secure access to University systems, including for distance learning. New students claim their credentials during Orientation (in campus or online), after they are providing with their unique “Student ID” number. At the IT Department, automatically create their username and password (credentials) and provide them instructions on how they are built and how to reset or change their password as soon as they get them thru our Self-Service Rest Password System. As part of this set-up, the Identity Management system requires that the student create three secure questions and answers to be used in the event that students need to change their password or reclaim their credentials.
Students are responsible for providing their complete and identity information in any identification verification process. It is against University policy for a user to give someone his or her password or to allow others to use his or her account. Students can access processes and policies through the LMS including the Protocol for Student Identity Verification in Distance Learning.
The Albizu University uses Blackboard as its learning management system. The Blackboard system integrates with University authentication services to ensure appropriate and secure student access to courses and other Student Information Systems. All users of the University’s learning management system are responsible for maintaining the security of credentials, or any other access credentials as required. Attempting to discover another user's password or attempts to gain unauthorized access to another person's files or email is prohibited.
In addition, the University’s Student Information System provides instructors access to class rosters that includes student photos associated with their name and account. Live audio and video of students interacting in the course is also a feature of the learning management system. As technology and personal accountability are not absolute in determining a student’s identity, faculty members are encouraged to use these technologies and to design courses that use assignments and evaluations that support academic integrity.
Distance Education Student Complaints and Grievances Process
Albizu University provides several means through which a student may address complaints and grievances. Students are asked to consult their respective Campus Catalog or the General Policies and Disciplinary Procedures Handbook Policies, Procedures and Consumer Information for information on the appropriate grievance procedures. Students are urged to exhaust all possible internal avenues for resolution before filing complaints with external agencies.
In the unlikely event that an issue cannot be resolved internally, students may file a complaint with the following external agencies:
- Institutional/Regional Accreditor: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) 3624 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680. Phone: 267-284-5000. The following link provides information on the MSCHE complaint procedures. https://www.msche.org/complaints/
- State Licensing Authority: If you are located outside of Puerto Rico (for students enrolled in programs at the San Juan Campus and Mayaguez University Center) or the state of Florida (for students enrolled in programs at the Miami Campus while attending Albizu University, in many cases you can file a complaint with an agency within your state of location. The following link provides a list of state agencies for filing student complaints and contact information: https://www.nc-sara.org/state-portal-entity-contacts .
- State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA): SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Institutions that participate in SARA are authorized to provide online and other distance education activities to students from all SARA member states. Institutions that choose to participate in SARA operate under a set of policies and standards overseen by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and administered by four regional higher education compacts. Albizu University has been approved by NC-SARA to participate in this reciprocity agreement.
Minimum Technology Requirements for Distance Learning
When participating in distance education courses, it is vital to consider the technology needed to have a successful course. We recommend that you meet the technical requirements below when using the learning management system (LMS) of the University.
Note: For additional required hardware or software requirements for your course(s), contact your instructor or refer to the Information Technology Office (ITS) for additional information on their requirements.
- A computer (desktop/laptop) or mobile device (smartphone/tablet) that is less than 5 years old will work.
- NOTE: Chromebooks are not recommended and may not be compatible with all third-party tools used in course shells.
- Speakers/headphones/earbuds for listening to audio or videos presented in courses.
- Webcam for interacting in course activities that require video feedback from students (such as VoiceThread), video test proctoring (such as Honorlock Monitor), or other third-party tools.
The following software is required:
- Internet Browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, are preferred. It is also suggested to have both of these browsers, so that one can act as a backup in case the other is experiencing issues. (See Internet Browser section for more information.)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (latest version) can be used for viewing PDF files offline (outside of a web browser). - Download.
- Microsoft Office (includes Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
- Students have free access to install the suite on their computers Office 365: https://portal.office.com
- Windows Media Player is one media player that can be used to play videos offline (outside of a web browser), if not presented/embedded in Blackboard. - Download.
- A stable Internet connection of 56K or greater is required. (However, please note that a 56K connection may degrade the quality of your experience.)
Various browsers may be able to access the learning management system. We recommend the following tips:
- Use the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. (Please note that eLearning (Albizu's learning management system) may not be fully compatible with the latest versions of each browser.)
- NOTE: Do not use Internet Explorer. This browser is obsolete and is no longer supported by Blackboard.
- Be sure to properly configure your Internet browser. (Please note that Mozilla Firefox is the university-preferred browser. To download Firefox, please visit https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/.)
- You may check if your browser is properly configured via the Browser Check provided below. This component will also be provided in the learning management system.
- Use the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. (Please note that eLearning (Albizu's learning management system) may not be fully compatible with the latest versions of each browser.)
Online Proctoring using Honorlock – Student Guide
All online courses offered by Albizu University features online proctoring through Honorlock. This means that for tests and exams, a live proctor will use your computer’s webcam to observe you taking the test to ensure the integrity of the test. Here are some frequently asked questions about Honorlock and online proctoring.
Q: What is online proctoring?
A: Think about a test you take in a regular classroom on campus. The test is proctored (supervised by a faculty member or teaching assistant) because of three reasons – to ensure that only the student shows up to take the test, to ensure that you work alone, and to ensure that you are not using unauthorized resources such as the textbook, the internet, or your cell phone. With online proctoring, a company called Honorlock will use a live proctor to use your webcam to meet the same three objectives. First, they will verify your identity. Second, they will make sure that you work alone (they can see through your webcam if there is anyone else in the room with you). Third, they will make sure that the test taker is not using any unauthorized resources. In addition to watching you through your webcam, they can see what’s on your computer, so they know if you’ve opened up any web pages you shouldn’t. For more on how proctoring works, see here.
Q: Does it cost me anything?
A: Honorlock does not cost the student anything.
Q: How does online proctoring help me?
A: Honorlock ensures a level playing field for all students in an online course and protects the integrity and value of your degree in the workplace.
Q: Isn’t this an invasion of privacy?
A: It’s important to remember that with online proctoring, there is no more invasion of privacy than happens with a regular face-to-face class. To verify your identity, Honorlock will ask to see your ID and may ask you some questions about your identity from publicly available databases (such as your home address). To make sure you work alone, the proctor will ask you to scan your webcam around the room you are in. To ensure you don’t open any unauthorized webpages the proctor will be able to see your computer screen, just like a proctor in a classroom can look over your shoulder and see
your computer screen. Just remember that proctors can see you, your room, and your computer. If you want to protect sensitive information from the proctor, keep these factors in mind. For example, you can create a separate account on your computer just for taking tests if you don’t want the proctor to have access to anything on your computer other than your web browser.
Q: What does Honorlock do with the information it has about me?
A: Honorlock is FERPA-compliant. It does not store any personal information about you.
Q: I don’t like the idea of someone looking at me because I’m an honest student and would never think about cheating.
A: We realize that 99% of our students don’t cheat on exams. Sadly, however, there are those who do cheat. When a student cheats, it is grossly unfair to you – the student who does not cheat. That student can “throw the curve” if there’s a curve in the class, and they distort average grades in the class. That’s why 100% proctoring benefits everyone by ensuring a level playing field for exams and tests.
Q: How does proctoring help AU?
A: Many institutions, profit and non-profit, now offer online courses. Most are reputable, but some are not. As an Middle States Commission on Higher Education school, we have a strong reputation and brand to defend. We don’t want the AU to become known as an easy way to get an A in online courses. As a student taking an online course you don’t want an employer to think that AU online courses are a “joke” or too easy. That’s why 100% online proctoring ultimately protects you, the student, in the investment you are making in online education, while maintaining the AU’s reputation.
Q: What equipment do I need to use Honorlock?
A: You will need a laptop or desktop computer with webcam, microphone, and a stable high-speed internet connection. See here for more details.
Q: What do I have to do to prepare to take a test with Honorlock?
A: Follow the steps below before you take a test with Honorlock.
- Download Google Chrome last version from https://www.google.com/chrome/
- Test your equipment meets Honorlock's requirements at https://static.honorlock.com/support
- If you are especially sensitive to proctors seeing your computers you should create a separate operating system account on your laptop just for taking tests, or use a "clean" machine without any personal information on it.
- Review the rules of the exam (use of notes, websites, etc) provided by your instructor. If you don’t know, ASK! It’s really important that you understand the rules of the test in order to avoid an incident report or honor code violation during the test.
- The proctor will see you and the room you are in, the entire time you are taking the test. No one should be in the room you are in, and no one is allowed to enter the room you are in. You are also not permitted to leave the exam room during the test.
- You have to provide government-issued ID at the beginning of the exam. Some international students might need to provide two forms of government-issued ID.
- You will need to provide a reflective surface such as a mirror or CD so that the proctor can see the edges of your laptop.
- If you run into any problems you should contact the Honorlock Help Desk (see below) or AU technical support firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: Will I have the same proctor during the whole exam?
A: Not necessarily. Proctors sometimes end their shifts or go on break during an exam. When this happens, you'll be notified in the chat box. You can continue your test even when there's a proctor change.
Q: Am I allowed to call my professor during an exam proctored by Honorlock?
A: Honorlock does not allow phone calls to anyone because they can't verify the identity of the caller on the other end of the line.
Q: Can I take a practice exam with Honorlock?
A: Yes, students can take a practice exam in the Practice Exam Course in Blackboard. Do this well in advance of the actual exam!
Q: What if I’m entitled to extra time on exams due to a disability?
A: Students who need extra time for testing should self-identify (as they normally do in a face-to-face classroom) with the proper documentation to the faculty member teaching the course.
Q: Who can I turn to for help?
A: Contact Honorlock Support on Honorlock.com, using Livechat service here or call them at +1(844) 243-2500