Guiding the Way to Effective, Inclusive, Accessible, and Engaging Courses and Programs


Phylise Banner, Owner and Learning Experience Design Lead, Phylise Banner Consulting

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I have always loved maps. I find them all fascinating – the hand-drawn scrawls from strangers who helped me travel along in life, and the complicated digital sectionals that guide my little airplane (a Piper Cherokee 140) across the skies. Maps remind me that the world is much bigger than my daily life, and that there is so much more to explore and learn. They remind me that there’s always someplace new to go, or a new way to get to where I’ve already been.

As I have traveled on my career journey, my most trusted maps have been the suite of OLC Scorecards. Yes, to me, they are maps. Maps that have enabled me to get from “here” to “there” — to mature the online, blended, and technology-enhanced courses and programs that I have worked on for more than 25 years. They have taken me to places I never could have gone without them and taught me valuable lessons along the way.

I consider the OLC Scorecard Suite as a set of roadmaps that can guide the design, development, delivery, and administration of engaging, effective, inclusive, and accessible courses and programs. An atlas of sorts that not only defines desired goals, but one that provides extensive guidance on the best route to take to reach those goals, while at the same time includes tips for how to measure your progress along the way. I call that progress “maturity”.

The OLC Scorecard Suite is made up of:
  • OSCQR: The course-level quality rubric for reviewing and improving the instructional design and accessibility of online courses based on online best practices.
  • Administration of Online Programs: Benchmarks and standards to evaluate the quality of online programs, and initiate planning efforts towards areas of improvement.
  • Administration of Blended Programs: Benchmarks and standards to evaluate the quality of blended and hybrid programs, and initiate planning efforts towards areas of improvement.
  • Student Success: This scorecard assists in the identification of gaps in services and provides a pathway to improve support services for online students.
  • QCTIP: Designed to evaluate the overall classroom experience, this tool can be used to evaluate teaching effectiveness in several areas.

As our field constantly evolves, we are required to continuously seek ways to mature our practices. Although each OLC Scorecard has a targeted set of quality metrics, I posit that every one of them can be of benefit to every one of us – independent of our roles and responsibilities within our organizations and institutions. Yes, there is an intended focus audience for each OLC Scorecard, but I know from experience that there are hidden gems for everyone inside this atlas!

Sometimes we use maps in ways that may not have been intended (yes, I may have folded a roadmap into a hat more than once). I invite you to explore a diversion with me for a moment and travel down the road of “where else might these OLC Scorecards take us”?

Consider this story: Shantali, a mid-level instructional designer is looking to transition into the role of Associate Director of Online Learning. She wants to start applying for open positions and could use some help navigating this growth experience. She knows the ins and outs of learning design research and effective practices but is not fully confident about what constitutes quality relative to academic governance structures or strategic value. She also knows that she will need more insight into student services and teaching effectiveness. Where might Shantali find guidance? How might she get from “here” to “there”? The OLC Scorecard Suite. The atlas of maps is perfectly positioned to guide her maturity across the board, and even provide a basis for initiating guided conversations with her colleagues and mentors.

I could share thousands of stories just like this one – from the difference one simple course update might make to improve inclusiveness, to the impact of a system-wide approach to advancing strategies and improving programs in a longitudinal way. My story? I have learned so much from every single quality indicator and associated recommendation within this entire suite. They are all what guided me to where I am. 

Where are you on your career pathway? What guidance might you find in the OLC Scorecard Suite?

I invite you to take a journey with me at OLC Accelerate as we explore the possibilities in a Master Class: Enabling Effective, Inclusive, Accessible, and Engaging Courses and Programs with OLC’s Scorecard Suite

In this Master Class, we will open each of the OLC Scorecards to display their full potential, and then dive into scenario-based exercises to explore different ways of addressing the opportunities and challenges embedded in the scenarios. We will put on our explorer hats (maybe even fold a few maps), and plan out collaborative journeys and ways of getting from “here” to “there” in the myriad of work that we do. 

This Master Class is not just for those new to this space. It is for anyone who wants to mature in any way across the design, development, delivery, or administration of engaging, effective, inclusive, and accessible courses and programs. 

I rely on maps to get me from “here” to “there” — wherever “there” may be. It’s always helpful to have someone there to read the map, and i’d love to have you help me navigate this journey. See you at OLC Accelerate

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