Insights from the Field: Paving the Way for Continuous Improvement in Online Education


Jennifer Rafferty

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended and digital learning.  This week, Dr. Kaye Shelton, OLC Institute faculty for the OLC Quality Scorecard Mastery Series, joins us to discuss her latest research endeavors for OLC as well as a variety of other topics.

OLC: There have been significant advancements in quality benchmarking for online and blended programs in the past 2 years. Tell us about your latest research for the OLC Quality Scorecard Suite? 

In 2015, I was the researcher who developed the OLC Scorecard for the Administration of Blended Programs. It is similar to the OLC Quality Scorecard for Online Programs; however, it has been normed through a Delphi research process to focus on programs that are not fully online. In 2016, I was the researcher for the latest OLC Scorecard, the Quality Course Teaching and Instructional Practice Scorecard (QCTIP). This rubric was developed for faculty to use to self-evaluate their online teaching. It also incorporates some elements of course design that are inherent to good online teaching. This study was completed in August 2016, again using a Delphi Method research process. 

OLC: How are institutions using the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs?

One of my proudest accomplishments is how the Quality Scorecard is being used to help other institutions identify quality and improve their online programs.  OLC developed a tool that allows institutions to create a self-study around their online program, using data, artifacts and narrative text to demonstrate their compliance with the quality indicators of the Scorecard. It is very rewarding for me to start the conversation on a campus about how to identify indicators of success and where programs need improvement. There is great value in taking the time to self-evaluate and then develop improvement strategies based upon a Scorecard review. OLC offers a formal review process where 3 independent Scorecard reviewers evaluate the program’s self-study and then the reviewers develop a report with recommendations for improvement. If the program’s score is with the top 10% range, 202-225, they are awarded an OLC quality seal to be used for 3 years on their website and marketing materials.

OLC: There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you teach for OLC?

I developed and I teach the OLC Quality Scorecard Mastery Series as well as the new QCTIP workshop for the Institute.   I have been working with OLC since 2006 when I was invited to be one of the 3 original Online Teaching Certificate mentors. I have always had great respect for the work being done by the Online Learning Consortium. After my research study that developed the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs, OLC adopted the Scorecard. We have been working together closely on that research since 2009.

OLC: What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the Quality Scorecard Mastery Series?

The Quality Scorecard Mastery Series can help you prepare for accreditation reviews, improve your online education program and set you on a path for continued improvement. Regional accreditors and various other stakeholders are interested in how we can demonstrate that we are offering quality online programs for our students.

OLC: How can people connect with you?  Please provide your Twitter handle, your webpage, your blog, etc., @kayetbee

kaye shelton


About Dr. Kaye Shelton

Kaye Shelton, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Center for Doctoral Studies in the College of Education at Lamar University. Previously as the Dean of Online Education for Dallas Baptist University, she led the development and ongoing operations of their online education programs with over 55 majors and degrees offered fully online. She is certified as an online instructor, teaching online since 1999, and also an online education consultant.

Winner of the both the Blackboard and eLearning exemplary online course awards, she has published over 40 articles and book chapters in the field of online education, including a coauthored book entitled An Administrator’s Guide to Online Education. Dr. Shelton was also awarded a Sloan-C Effective Practice Award for her research on the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs, the John R. Bourne award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Education and the NCPEA Morphet Dissertation Award. Dr. Shelton has been involved with research in online education since 1997 and has spoken at numerous conferences and workshops and advised peer institutions regarding the creation of an online education program and best practices for teaching online and faculty support. She has also served as an advisor regarding online education programs for several peer institutions.

Recently, Dr. Shelton has been involved in the national and international use of the Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs as it has been adopted by institutions in Latin America. She is also an Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard program evaluator and teaches workshops for the Institute regarding its implementation.





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