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Electronic Course Fee

In November of 2005, The Texas State University Board of Regents approved the electronic course fee to ensure adequate funding for the development and maintenance of courses delivered through electronic media. Students enrolled in courses that are coded "fully distance education" or "hybrid/blended" pay $50 per SCH in additional fees to support the development, delivery and maintenance of fully online and hybrid courses.

Below you will find frequently asked questions. If the FAQ does not have the answer to your question or you seek additional clarification or guidance, please contact Brendan Scott via email at brendanscott@txstate.edu or by phone at 512.245.0531.

 

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Frequent Asked Questions

Administration of Electronic Course Fees

What triggers the electronic course fee?

In order for a course to trigger the fee the location must be coded off campus and the instructional method must be coded either fully distance education or hybrid/blended. Additionally, it is important to check that the total fee provided in the course description in the Schedule of Classes is correct. 

Should my course be coded fully distance education or hybrid/blended?

In a fully online course, mandatory face-to-face sessions may comprise no more than 15 percent of the total planned instructional time for the course. Examples of face-to-face sessions include orientation, laboratory, exam review, or an in-person test.

Hybrid courses are those courses in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent) of the total planned instructional time for the course occurs when the students and instructor are not in the same place. Mandatory face-to-face sessions may total up to 49 percent of planned instructional time.

How are electronic course fees distributed?

Following the 20th class day or equivalent of each term, the AVPAA office transfers 75% of electronic course fee revenue back to the academic departments that own the courses for which the fee was assessed.

To what account is my department's ECF revenue transferred?

The cost center of every department offering online or hybrid courses is mapped to the ECF multi-year account 2027811000. If your department is offering online or hybrid courses for the first time, please contact Brendan Scott at brendanscott@txstate.edu to request that your department's cost center be mapped to the ECF fund.

Are there additional requirements for faculty teaching online?

Yes, faculty members teaching online are required to: (1) participate in a professional development/training program; and (2) submit a Best Practices Checklist every three years for each online course taught. More information on professional development and training opportunities can be found on the Faculty Development Requirements for Online Teaching page.

Who is responsible for managing my department's ECF funds?

While the AVPAA office provides recommendations and guidance, each department in receipt of electronic course fees is fully responsible for all account activity and must maintain records that clearly identify the relationship between expenses and the development, maintenance and delivery of distance education.

How can ECF funds be used?

Faculty and staff salaries

Since ECF funding is variable from semester to semester, it is strongly encouraged that departments work with the AVPAA office to ensure adequate funding is available. In the event of revenue shortfalls, departments are responsible for securing funding from other sources for faculty and staff positions budgeted.

Furthermore, the duties and responsibilities of all faculty and staff paid by ECF funds must be directly tied to fully distance and/or hybrid courses and programs, and the cost distribution of ECF funded positions should align with the percentage of time occupied by those duties. Depending on the circumstances, ECF funds may not be appropriate for funding permanent positions.

Except for per-course instructors, departments seeking use ECF to fund new positions or change the cost distribution of an existing position should first contact Dana Willett, director of distance and extended learning, before proceeding. When requesting to use electronic course fees to fund a new position or change the cost distribution of an existing position, please explain how the position directly contributes to the development, maintenance, and delivery of fully distance and hybrid courses.

Travel and M&O expenses

All travel-related and M&O expenses must be directly attributable to the development, maintenance, and delivery of fully distance and hybrid courses. Appropriate expenses can include but are not limited to: travel to an online teaching conference; membership in an online teaching or distance education professional organization; fees to complete certification in online teaching; and subscriptions for literature related to online teaching.

Marketing or recruitment

Electronic course fees should not be used for expenditures related to the recruitment, enrollment, or assistance of prospective Texas State students.

Computer equipment or software

ECF Funds may be used to purchase computer equipment and software for faculty who teach fully distance and hybrid courses. ECF funds may also be used to provide software, learning support and other resources for students enrolled in fully distance or hybrid courses.

Lab space and equipment

Generally speaking, ECF funds may be used for expenditures related to the acquisition of public-use computer equipment or construction of lab space if the expenditure expands student access to distance courses or improves a department's capacity to provide online or hybrid courses.

Electronic Course Fee