Living in the Wild, Wild West: How to Maintain Online Course Quality with Limited Cash and Criteria
Concurrent Session 1
How do you ensure quality in online courses in the absence of a centralized quality assurance system? What are strategies and challenges in supporting faculty and students with limited institutional resources? Should institutions adopt centralized or decentralized standards and processes? This interactive session will tackle these questions and more.
In recent years, our University wanted to incentivize the development of online courses and programs and did so through a rich cache of resources for faculty, including financial incentives, equipment, software to teach online, professional development opportunities galore, and a lot of support for faculty. It also included centralized quality control system, an internal Quality Matters (QM) process that included trained faculty peer reviewers and required all faculty who teach online to have university QM certification (an internal training) and each course offered online to meet QM standards through the internal QM process. This was all funded through an assessed student fee for online courses.
In November 2018, the online learning fee was removed, and the faculty were informed that the QM process would no longer be used at KSU, and no replacement system would be put into place. In January 2019, when QM was no longer the quality process, the university administration informed department chairs that they would be in charge of making sure the online courses offered in their departments were offered by qualified faculty, met quality standards defined by the chairs, and were ADA compliant. With 51 departments, that meant that potentially instead of one QM system for all colleges and courses, there could be 51 systems in place.
The purpose of this presentation is to share and initiate discussion around the tensions between assuring quality for online courses and reduced resources. As college-level online learning coordinators, we are tasked with supporting our faculty in online course development and facilitation and in helping department chairs ensure high quality online courses. As a group, we are conducting research that focuses on faculty perceptions of this culture change in online learning. We are surveying university faculty to find out how they see their own experiences throughout this institutional cultural change. Also, we will share how we as college-level online coordinators are dealing with this seismic shift in the university’s vision and support of online learning.
With our loss of resources, how do we focus on student success in this new world? How do you convince administrators and decision makers not directly involved in online courses to provide resources? We are falling upon finding innovative ways to ensure quality and how to argue for resources. Our strategies including showing what students value in online courses (see research), identifying what our faculty value, and finding ways that we can help those align given our limited positions of power.
- Do you have a quality assurance system at your institution?
- If so, is it a centralized process or decentralized process?
What do students value? (research review)
What do faculty value? (our survey)
Summary of our current strategies/approaches towards quality assurance
- How do you ensure quality in online courses in the absence of a centralized quality assurance system?
- What are strategies and challenges in supporting faculty and students with limited institutional resources?
- What are the pros and cons of centralized or decentralized standards and processes?
Top 5 Report Out