Front & Center: Focusing on What Matters
Concurrent Session 1
Quality Matters (QM) Standards are adopted, simplified, and utilized as a design, development, and evaluation tool to guide the faculty on how to personalize, modify the course design appropriately based on faculty roles - Facilitator, Adopter, and Developer.
In order to ensure the highest quality of the online course, quality assurance guidelines are utilized early in the planning stage and continues throughout the design, development, and evaluation. This presentation will discuss the framework used to ensure the quality of online courses and how the Quality Matters (QM) Design Standards for Online and Blended Courses (https://www.qualitymatters.org/rubric) are adapted to support the design of the Center for eLearning (CeL) master course and the faculty online course implementation. It will focus on how the Quality Assurance (QA) tools can be embedded in the course design and development process. The presenters will also provide the audience with examples of quality assurance tools and course design templates.
The Center for eLearning at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) serves as the online course design department for Open Campus and the entire college. The primary mission of the CeL is to design and develop quality online courses, as well as to establish quality online course standards for the College. Furthermore, the CeL is responsible for transforming courses that have been taught in a traditional face–to–face format to hybrid or fully online course formats.
The CeL’s course development is a collaboration among faculty subject matter experts, instructional designers, multimedia developers, web designers, and administration. The team works together to develop modularized master online courses for academic programs using research–based best practices for online teaching and learning. The CeL uses an integrated approach to quality assurance throughout the entire course development process, from the planning and analysis stages through the design, development and evaluation. Advantages of using the CeL master course include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and copyright compliance, cross-platform capability, visually engaging template, consistency, user-friendliness, and above all, quality assurance guaranteed.
CeL-Designed Master Course
CeL-designed master courses are available for faculty to use. Prior to the beginning of a semester, a master course is copied to a faculty’s individual section. Faculty members have an opportunity to decide whether to use the content and design of the given master course copy.
The manner in which each faculty member implements the CeL’s master course can be classified into three levels:
· Facilitators fully adopt the master course and teach with it
· Adapters use the master course but modify non-essential course elements
· Developers develop their own content and design using the standard course design template with minimum features.
The presentation will share the CeL’s strategy used in identifying these levels and process for reviewing faculty revision request plan/proposal.
QM Standards Adoption
The CeL adopted and integrated QM Standards throughout the master course development process. The QM rubric is used to guide initial course planning, design, and production, and as a core review tool during course evaluation. The CeL can guarantee that master courses meet all of the QM standards. Faculty whose preferred role is the facilitator requires minimal personalization to the master course before use. Unlike the Facilitators, faculty members in the Adapter and Developer levels will be asked to notify the CeL of their revision plan before the course is modified or developed.
The Facilitator Level places the responsibility to meet most of the QM Standards into the hands of the CeL based on the development process of a master course and via the CeL’s learning management system (LMS) course template and supporting documentation templates (e.g., Syllabus and Instructor Guidelines). In this level, the weight of the quality assurance review is in the development process of the master course and not with the individual instructor.
The Adapter Level affords faculty to utilize a CeL master course and allows them to make some modifications to the original course design. Though the faculty members are able to personalize the course, it is highly recommended to keep and use essential course elements that are aligned with the curriculum outlines, student learning outcomes, and course learning objectives. However, any alteration/modification to the master course made by the Adapters can compromise its quality. Thus, their course quality assurance is subject to the individual instructor’s verification.
The Developer Level allows faculty who would like the freedom to develop their own course to utilize a variation of a CeL template design with minimum features. The faculty members are responsible for designing and developing an online course that meets the College standards, State laws and regulations, ADA compliance, copyright laws, and QM Standards, and provide proof of QA during the course review process. In this level, the weight of the quality assurance review is heaviest for the individual.
In assisting the Adapters and Developers in their online course quality assurance, the CeL created a detailed review form based on the QM rubric, for each level. The QM review form for the Adapter Level contains checklists, links to relevant tutorials, examples, and/or external guides particular to the standards for non-essential elements.
The Developer Level also receives a QM review form with a more detailed checklist for each individual QM Standard. In addition to the review form, a variation of a CeL course template is provided for use in the course development. The presentation will describe the process and tools the CeL used to measure and maintain online course quality.
Benefits of Using Framework
The three levels presented by the CeL are only a stepping stone in the bigger process. It is an attempt to incorporate QM Standards into the development process instead of waiting until a course is completed to assess whether the Standards are met. This saves time, money, and effort in the long-term as well as providing substantial guidance during the development process. There are several benefits of using these QA tools throughout the design process. The course review process can be expedited as the QM Standards have been applied and efforts have been made to ensure the course meets the standards. Faculty members also have flexibility in the level of involvement in the course design and are guaranteed the appropriate tools are readily available for them within any of levels chosen. In addition, embedding QM Standards in the design will bring quality awareness to faculty.
The CeL remains focused on building and facilitating the development of quality in all college-wide online courses and working with faculty in every opportunity. By offering the CeL-designed master courses and providing quality assurance tools for course development, we offer faculty the freedom to choose what they believe is the best course design for their students.