Designing and Implementing a Quality Online Course Rubric: A Collaborative Approach
Concurrent Session 9
After the immediate push for online options in 2020, the need for quality assurance in online courses became more relevant across higher education institutions. This presentation reveals how a coordinated effort among a cohort of online faculty and staff reviewed current industry standards, analyzed gaps, and created a custom rubric.
After the immediate push for online options in 2020, the need for quality assurance in online courses became even more relevant across higher education institutions. The department of Online Learning and Academic Programs (OLAP) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville launched an initiative to develop a custom set of standards for online course quality reviews. This presentation will reveal how a coordinated effort among a cohort of experienced online UTK faculty and staff reviewed current industry standards, analyzed gaps, and created a custom quality review rubric. The participants will learn the steps taken, the challenges the cohort faced, and revelations discovered to finalize a set of 42 standards with annotations and examples.
OLAP began with re-evaluating what was currently being used in the higher education industry such as Suny OSQR and Quality Matters. The UT System joined Quality Matters and this membership provided a base for processes and tools used to implement a custom review initiative. OLAP reached out to other institutions and talked with these colleagues about their experiences and began asking some essential questions. How do we best develop our own set of standards that fit the culture of UT Knoxville and still provide research driven quality assurance practices? This resulted in the Engaged Online Course Initiative (EOCI).
By allowing departments to nominate colleagues with experience in online teaching, course reviews, and many other expertise, OLAP developed a 12-member cohort consisting of instructors, staff, and Instructional Designers. Over the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, this cohort collaborated to develop a custom set of standards for online course quality. The result was the Engaged Online Course Rubric with Annotations and Examples. This quality assurance initiative supports faculty and a review process in creating and updating online courses based on a set of standards designed to reinforce research-based engagement strategies, technology use, regular and substantive interaction, and accessibility standards.
The Interactive Presentation
After a short introduction the audience will be asked to participate in an engagement activity using Mentimeter polling. They will be able to share their experience with quality review programs. The audience will then learn about the Engaged Online Course Initiative and the history of the custom rubric development. The presentation will provide an emphasis on project management and the elements necessary within each milestone to achieve success in this type of initiative.
The audience will participate in a Jamboard style collaboration to share their own challenges and strategies in facilitating quality assurance within online courses. Some prompts will include:
- Generating faculty buy-in
- Meeting participation
- Decision making
- Awkward silence
Next, the audience will review the completed rubric and the tools utilized to support faculty with self or peer reviews and a higher level, exemplary designated review. Finally, results from the EOC Review Pilot will be revealed and the procedures developed for this campus-wide exemplary recognition designation. Future goals will also be discussed highlighting quality assurance within course management, delivery, and degree programs with the objective of a complete holistic approach to online course implementation.
Participants will learn:
- The process of coordinating and managing a team from across multiple departments.
- Strategies to facilitate discussions among experienced faculty.
- About overcoming challenges the cohort faced and barriers that had to be addressed.
- Logistical barriers
- Cultural barriers
- Encouraging participation among colleagues
- The importance of faculty champions.
- The tools used for project management and rubric management.
- How each level of the new EOC Review is available to faculty.
- About the processes that were successful.
Participants will be provided:
- A digital copy of the Engaged Online Course Rubric (EOCR)
- A link to the OLAP Peer Reviewer Interactive Spreadsheet (complete with 42 standards)
The participating audience will have opportunities to ask questions and discuss their own institution’s quality assurance program and the challenges faced in promoting and assuring online course quality. Join us to learn more about implementing a custom online course quality initiative.