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Defining Quality Standards for Online Education CADE, Calgary May 2002 Lawrence C. Ragan Penn State’s World Campus
Program Goals • Discuss quality variables and their impact on the design and development of online course instruction • Review set of quality standards developed to guide the design, development and delivery of instruction online
Assignment #1 ¨ Turn to Defining Quality and complete definition ¨ Compare answer with partner at table ¨ What was common in both definitions?
Defining Quality ¨ Writing by committee: An event or experience that provides a reasonable opportunity for success for the student and instructor
Defining Quality ¨ Varied interpretations of “quality” ¨ Several industry-wide guidelines or standards for production of course materials (CHEA, AAHE, others) ¨ Broad statements of principles and guidelines
Bottom Line ¨ The definition of quality varies from institution to institution and is dependent upon the mission and model of the online initiative.
Assignment 2: Quality Characteristics ¨ To define quality we need to define variables ¨ Turn to #2. Complete Quality Characteristics variable labels ¨ Compare answer with partner at table ¨ What variables were common in both lists?
Quality Characteristics ¨ Dependability ¨ Reliability ¨ Performance (speed) ¨ Value ¨ Consistent ¨ Measurable ¨ Etc…
Quality Characteristics-NOT ¨ Technology ¨ Cost ¨ Aesthetic ¨ “Gee whiz factor”
Quality Standards-2 Options ¨ Develop standards that can be used to judge the “readiness” of a course/educational event for an online delivery format ¨ Develop standards of design that can serve as a specifications guide ¨ Difficult to do both in single document
Considering Implementation ¨ Development of plans for implementation ¨ Institutionalizing standards ¨ Developing “failure to comply” strategies
WC Online Design Standards ¨ Struggle between specifications document and “quality filter” ¨ Had to decide on “objective” of the publication ¨ Opted for “quality filter’
Quality Filter Described ¨ Create an instrument that would serve as a “readiness assessment tool” for courses NOT designed or developed BUT to be delivered via the World Campus. ¨ Is not created as a design specification document
WC ODS Categories ¨ COURSE PROFILE TOOL: method of gathering demographic information regarding the nature of the course – Asynchronous vs synchronous – Nature of assignments – Timing and duration – Individual vs cohort – Etc…
WC ODS Categories ¨ Review COURSE PROFILE TOOL ¨ What questions would you add to make this work at your institution? – – – What platform for delivery? (browser) Learner and setting analysis - target audience, student profile Special (#19) may not be specific enough - define general applications Mission or objectives of course should be outlined Computer literacy prerequisites Availability of faculty Practical applications - lab requirements Nature and timing of exams Group under location requirements Communication to student about how to start Total instructional time to manage the course
Online Design Standards ¨ User Interface: ¨ issues of structure, navigation, and layout ¨ Media Elements: ¨ issues related to the use of technology ¨ Software: issues related to the use of software and the implications of its use in the course ¨ Permissions/Legal: issues relating to the legality of course and related content ¨ Accessibility: issues related to the accessibility of the course to all students
Media Elements ¨ Appropriate use of media ¨ Variety of media mix ¨ Considerate of student bandwidth ¨ Designed to support learning objectives ¨ Considerate of development costs
Instructional Design ¨ Clearning objectives ¨ Clear connection between learning objectives and assessment process ¨ Clearly articulated assessment criteria and process ¨ Non-ambiguous use of language ¨ Appropriately designed learning activities
Summary ¨ Quality standards need to be defined in the context of the institution ¨ Quality characteristics need to be articulated (vary based on context) ¨ Need to define purpose of quality standards: readiness or specifications ¨ Define implementation plan
Thank you Larry Ragan LCR [email protected] EDU