Using Quality Assurance Standards to Support an Accelerated Approach for Instructional Design

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

The SCPS Instructional Design Department at Manhattan College supports the development needs of a professional school, such as accelerated coursework, online courses, and adjunct teaching staff. This presentation explores the reevaluation of the School’s quality assurance structure and how that structure has been updated to serve essential instructional design needs.

Extended Abstract


For nearly fifty years, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Manhattan College, a four-year, Lasallian institution, has responded to the needs of the post-traditional student. Located in Bronx, New York, the College established the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) in 1973 to provide coursework-related skill development for adult students. The SCPS is one of six Schools within the College and the only School that caters to the post-traditional student, including adult learners. Over time, the SCPS formally developed an undergraduate degree completion program in 1997 and, by 2013, established both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science programs in Organizational Leadership. The School expanded the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership online in 2015 to meet the increasing market for professional learning online. Alongside the move to online, there was a need to establish a comprehensive quality assurance (QA) structure. It was necessary to increase QA standards to support a rapid approach to online course design and to counteract any criticisms concerning academic quality and enrollment practices from the College teaching traditional student populations. Using a QA approach to develop online programs provided a unique opportunity to maintain and showcase the level of academic quality for the SCPS online programs and to develop an approach to online education that could quickly bring courses online effectively and with the rigor expected of the School.

Out of this effort evolved the School’s Instructional Design Department (IDD) that works to review current practices and to expand the quality assurance process for development to better examine the academic and instructional experiences of the post-traditional students enrolled online at the SCPS. In spring 2020, the School has started a formal review of current practices and how to implement meaningful assessment and evaluation processes to better support blended and online coursework, and the instructional design structure that currently supports this eLearning environment specific to post-traditional students.  Over the 2017-2019 academic years, the SCPS implemented several new initiatives, based on a QA approach, to ensure teaching effectiveness and to accelerate the development of online organization leadership programs. Throughout this effort, the IDD team has collected various data points to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach and how a quality assurance paradigm can help to increase online programming. 

Description of ID Process

Faculty members within the SCPS programs utilize online learning platforms to support instruction and student learning. Due to an overwhelming level of instructional design support needed throughout the academic year and the expansion of programs within the School, there was a need to reconstruct the current instructional design system for future program and course development and review. The administration requested all instructional design support elements be subsumed into the School to create a more streamlined system for accelerated curriculum development and course coordination. 

The IDD team is well-versed in the School’s needs and structure. Since the team’s inception in 2018, the team has created formal content maps and course shells, audited and updated current content maps and course shells, and established an interactive learning environment through faculty training sessions and a student resource webpage.

Overall, the IDD team provides an instructional design environment that caters and responds to the unique needs of the School, including accelerated coursework, hybrid/ fully online course offerings, and a teaching cadre of adjunct professors.

Purpose of the Presentation

The mission of the IDD at the SCPS is to provide an environment that caters and responds to the unique development needs of the School, such as accelerated coursework, hybrid/fully online courses, and a teaching cadre of adjunct professors. This spring, the team began development on an instrument to formally assess the quality of current online coursework. Building off of best practices from Quality Matters and the OLC Quality Scorecard Suite, this instrument will create an evaluation structure to further assess the intricacies of the blended and fully online coursework. This interactive presentation will discuss the spring 2020 reevaluation of the SCPS quality assurance structure and how the current structure is to be updated to better reflect the instructional design needs within the School.

Presentation of Findings

The presentation will consist of four main areas, with the bulk of the presentation being dedicated to participants using the various resources designed by the IDD to map out how they could increase or adapt their approaches for a quality assurance-based, rapid approach to course design. The presentation will help participants better understand the approach and how they may align the approach to their own development efforts. The presentation will be broken into four succinct sections, each providing insight into the approach developed by the IDD. The sections are:

  • Overview of IDD course development approach
  • Review of strategies and materials for supporting course design
  • Demonstration of existing development process and redesign process currently underway
  • Showcase of courses designed using IDD approach

The presentation will transition from a focus on the presenters efforts to using the materials and examples shared to explore the approaches being used by others to better understand how to implement a rapid, quality approach for existing programs.

The presenters will demonstrate the strategies and techniques developed by the IDD and ask presentation attendees how they would implement the strategies shared with their teams. There would also be time given to learn more about the approaches that the attendees of the presentation are using that offer a quality and rapid approach to online course design. The presenters will moderate this engagement by providing various opportunities to discuss the ideas shared by the presenters. They will also collect ideas from the audience to both think about how to strengthen the efforts being lead by The School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Manhattan College, while also offering feedback to their own approaches for course development and faculty support, The majority of the session will be to review the process established by the presenters and to provide various worksheets to see how attendees could align their own efforts to the strategies shared. Takeaways for participants will include various tools and resources that the IDD use in their own efforts to manage and maintain quality while taking a rapid approach to course design and development.