A little over two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its long-awaited and much anticipated financial aid audit of Western Governors University (WGU). Since then, there have been a number of great discussions of the report as well as its potential impact on higher education. Today, in the third post of our series on the audit, we are going to take a trip down memory lane and revisit a post that we wrote last year that reviewed all of the available information at that time on “regular and substantive interaction,” the issue at the heart of both the audit findings and the source of much discussion among online educators.
It has been more than a week since the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its Final Audit Report declaring that “Western Governors University Was Not Eligible to Participate in the Title IV Programs.” Both of us (Russ Poulin, WCET and Van Davis, Blackboard) have been following the activities surrounding the audit (competency-based education, regular and substantive interaction, the definition of faculty) for some time. Last year we wrote a post trying to compile and interpret previous OIG and Department of Education information about “regular and substantive interaction.”
This is the second in a series of blog posts on the OIG Report. This post begins with some additional background. We also want to be the first to provide advice as to what this means for distance educators and suggest some issues you and your institutional colleagues should consider.