2013 Florida Statutes
Florida Virtual Campus.
Florida Virtual Campus.
1006.73 Florida Virtual Campus.—
(1) The Florida Virtual Campus is established to provide access to online student and library support services and to serve as a statewide resource and clearinghouse for public postsecondary education distance learning courses and degree programs. The primary purposes of the Florida Virtual Campus are to:
(a) Establish a single library automation system and associated resources and services that all public postsecondary education institutions will use to support their learning, teaching, and research needs.
(b) Provide information and access to distance learning courses and degree programs offered by the state’s public postsecondary education institutions.
(c) Coordinate with the Florida College System and the State University System to identify and provide online academic support services and resources when the multi-institutional provision of such services and resources is more cost or operationally effective.
(2) The chancellors of the Florida College System and the State University System shall exercise joint oversight of the Florida Virtual Campus and shall establish its governance and reporting structure, administrative and operational guidelines and processes, staffing requirements, and operational budget. Effective January 31, 2014, all data center services needed by the Florida Virtual Campus shall be provided by the Northwest Regional Data Center established pursuant to s. 1004.649. The chancellors may delegate the authority and responsibility granted in this subsection.
(a) In carrying out the purposes of this section:
1. The campus is not an “agency” as defined in s. 20.03(11) and is not subject to chapter 287.
2. The campus shall be deemed to be acting as an instrumentality of the state for purposes of sovereign immunity pursuant to s. 768.28(2).
3. All records of the campus are public records unless made confidential or exempt from law.
(b) The campus shall maintain an unencumbered balance of not less than 5 percent of its approved operating budget.
(c) The campus may secure comprehensive general liability coverage, professional liability coverage, property and casualty coverage, and any other insurance coverage deemed appropriate by the chancellors.
(d) The campus may contract for administrative services with a public postsecondary education institution. The administrative overhead costs charged by the institution may not exceed the actual cost of providing the services and shall require a specific appropriation in the General Appropriations Act.
(3) The Florida Virtual Campus, upon approval of the chancellors of the Florida College System and the State University System, shall have authority to apply for and accept funds, grants, gifts, and services from local, state, or federal governments or any of their agencies or from any other public or private source and is authorized to use funds derived from these sources to defray administrative costs and implement programs as may be necessary to support the services and resources provided by the campus.
(4) The Florida Virtual Campus shall be subject to the audit requirements of s. 11.45 for Florida College System institutions and state universities. The chancellors of the Florida College System and the State University System shall jointly serve as the governing body of the campus for purposes of the audit and all related activities.
(5) The Florida Virtual Campus shall:
(a) Develop and manage a library information portal and automated library management tools for use by the Florida College System institutions and state universities. The library information portal and automated library management tools shall include, but are not limited to, the following services and functions:
1. A shared Internet-based catalog and a discovery tool that allow a user to search and, if authorized, access the aggregate library holdings of the state’s public postsecondary education institutions. The catalog and discovery tool shall allow the user to search the library holdings of one institution, selected institutions, or all institutions and, to the extent feasible, shall include an interlibrary loan function that ensures the authorized user can access the required library holding.
2. An Internet-based searchable collection of electronic resources which shall include, but not be limited to, full-text journals, articles, databases, and electronic books that the Florida Virtual Campus licenses pursuant to s. 1006.72.
3. An integrated library management system and its associated services which all public postsecondary education institution academic libraries must use for purposes of acquiring, cataloging, circulating, and tracking library material.
4. A statewide searchable database that includes an inventory of digital archives and collections held by public postsecondary education institutions.
(b) Develop and manage a statewide Internet-based catalog of distance learning courses, degree programs, and resources offered by public postsecondary education institutions which is intended to assist in the coordination and collaboration of articulation and access pursuant to parts II and III of chapter 1007. The campus shall establish operational guidelines and procedures for the catalog which must:
1. Require participating institutions to provide information concerning the distance learning course or degree program to include course number and classification of instructional programs number and information on the availability of the course or degree program; the type of required technology; any prerequisite course or technology competency or skill; the availability of academic support services and financial aid resources; and course costs, fees, and payment policies.
2. Require that distance learning courses and degree programs meet applicable accreditation standards and criteria.
3. Require that, at a minimum, the catalog is reviewed at the start of each academic semester to ensure that distance learning courses and degree programs comply with all operational guidelines and procedures.
4. Define and describe the catalog’s search and retrieval options that, at a minimum, will allow users to search by academic term or course start date; institution, multiple institutions, or all institutions; and course or program delivery method, course type, course availability, subject or discipline, and course number or classification of instructional programs number.
5. Use an Internet-based analytic tool that allows for the collection and analysis of data, including, but not limited to:
a. The number and type of students who use the catalog to search for distance learning courses and degree programs.
b. The number and type of requests for information on distance learning courses and degree programs that are not listed in the catalog.
c. A summary of specific requests by course type or course number, delivery method, offering institution, and semester.
6. Periodically obtain and analyze data from the Florida College System and the State University System concerning:
a. Costs of distance learning courses and degree programs.
b. Completion, graduation, and retention rates of students enrolled in distance learning 1courses and degree programs.
c. Distance learning course completion.
(c) Implement a streamlined, automated, online admissions application process for undergraduate transient students who are currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a public postsecondary education institution and who enroll in a course offered by a public postsecondary education institution that is not the student’s degree-granting institution. The Florida Virtual Campus shall work with the Florida College System and the State University System to implement this process which requires all Florida College System institutions and state universities to:
1. Use the transient student admissions application available through the statewide computer-assisted student advising system established pursuant to paragraph (d). This admissions application is the only application required for the enrollment of a transient student as described in this paragraph.
2. Implement the financial aid procedures required by the transient student admissions application process.
3. Transfer credit awarded by the institutions offering the course to the transient student’s degree-granting institution.
4. Provide for an interface between the institutional advising system and the statewide computer-assisted student advising system established pursuant to paragraph (d) in order to electronically send, receive, and process the transient student admissions application.
(d) Develop and manage a statewide computer-assisted student advising system which shall support the process of advising, registering, and certifying students for graduation and include a degree audit and an articulation component. The Florida College System institutions and state universities shall interface institutional advising systems with the statewide computer-assisted student advising system. At a minimum, the statewide computer-assisted student advising system shall:
1. Allow a student to access the system at any time, search public postsecondary education institutions, and identify course options that will meet the requirements of a selected path toward a degree.
2. Audit transcripts of students enrolled in a public postsecondary education institution to assess current academic standing, the impact of changing majors or institutions, the requirements for a student to transfer to another institution, and all requirements necessary for graduation.
3. Serve as the official statewide repository for the common prerequisite manual, admissions information for transferring programs, foreign language requirements, residency requirements, and statewide articulation agreements.
4. Provide information relating to career descriptions and corresponding educational requirements, admissions requirements, and available sources of student financial assistance.
5. Provide the admissions application for transient students pursuant to paragraph (c) which must include the electronic transfer and receipt of information and records for:
a. Admissions and readmissions.
b. Financial aid.
c. Transfer of credit awarded by the institution offering the course to the transient student’s degree-granting institution.
(e) Coordinate the negotiation of statewide licensing of electronic library resources and preferred pricing agreements, issue purchase orders, and enter into contracts for the acquisition of distance learning resources, student and library support services, electronic resources, and other goods and services necessary to carry out its duties under this section.
(f) Promote and provide recommendations concerning the use and distribution of open-access textbooks and education resources as a method for reducing costs and work with public postsecondary education institutions in developing a standardized process for the review and approval of open-access textbooks.
(g) Provide appropriate help desk support and training and consultation services to institutions and students using the services and resources of the Florida Virtual Campus.
(h) Identify and evaluate new technologies and instructional methods that can be used for improving distance learning instruction, student learning, the efficient delivery of student support services, and the overall quality of undergraduate distance learning courses and degree programs.
(i) In consultation with the public postsecondary education institutions, develop and implement a plan that describes the services and resources available at the Florida Virtual Campus to encourage current and prospective students’ use of such services and resources.
(6) Beginning September 30, 2013, and annually thereafter, the chancellors of the Florida College System and the State University System shall jointly publish a report regarding the activities of the Florida Virtual Campus in the prior fiscal year. The report shall include, but not be limited to, information related to the provision of library services and electronic resources, to include those resources licensed pursuant to s. 1006.72; distance learning resources; the computer-assisted student advising system; the transient student online admissions process; and other provided programs, activities, and services.
(7) All records, personnel, property, existing contracts, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, grants, and other funds of the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, the Florida Center for Library Automation, the College Center for Library Automation, and FACTS.org shall be transferred to the Florida Virtual Campus. The campus shall be the successor in interest to these organizations and shall be responsible for the provision of all services as authorized by this section.
History.—s. 14, ch. 2012-134; s. 12, ch. 2013-45.
1Note.—The word “courses” was substituted by the editors for the word “course” to improve clarity.