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Regular Substantive Interaction

What is Distance Education?

To paraphrase from the US Department of Education, Distance Education is education that uses specific technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor(s) and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor or instructors, either synchronously or asynchronously.

This definition was updated effective July 1, 2021 to distinguish Distance Education from correspondence courses. Distance Education, unlike correspondence courses, includes "regular and substantive interaction." GHC is not authorized to provide correspondence courses. Doing so may jeopardize its access to federal financial aid such as Pell Grants.

What is Regular Interaction?

The Department of Education's definition in Chapter 34, §600.2 continues: "An institution ensures regular interaction between a student and an instructor or instructors by, prior to the student's completion of a course or competency" meeting both of the following requirements

What is Substantive Interaction?

Chapter 34, §600.2 continues: "For purposes of this definition, substantive interaction is engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment, consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes at least two of the following -

RSI Dashboard


Examples above adapted from Blue Mountain Christian University and Georgia State University. These examples do not constitute policy for Georgia Highlands College. The information is provided to help online faculty consider how they might address regular and substantive interaction in their classrooms. Many of the checklist items are well-established as best practice for online course design and delivery.