University of Northern Colorado (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4971-4982
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Distance learning/online learning has grown at an extraordinarily fast rate in the past years in higher education. However challenges have emerged such as quality, student attrition etc. in online classes. In the book "The No Significant Difference Phenomenon: A Comparative Research Annotated Bibliography on Technology for Distance Education", Thomas L. Russell (2001, IDECC, fifth edition) documents over 350 research summary, reports and papers that suggest no significance difference in students’ learning outcomes between modes of delivery (f2f teaching and at distance). Higher education educators have explored various factors that influence the quality of online courses to overcome those challenges.
Several models have arisen in the past years to assess/evaluate the quality of online learning. While quality of online learning is a multifaceted definition, there are several common aspects of quality that these models have addressed, one of which is instructional design of a course. Among these models, Quality Matters (QM), with a specific focus on Course Design has gained wide attention nationally. QM was originated from a FIPSE grant and is a faculty-driven and centered peer review process. The purpose of QM is to assure the quality of online courses and online components in a continuous fashion. Quality Matters is a process and also is about a rubric. The QM rubric, developed on national standards, vigorous research, and instructional design principles has a set of 40 standards distributed across 8 general categories including: Course Overview and Introduction, Learning Objectives, Assessment and Measurement, Resources and Materials, Learner Engagement, Course Technology, Learner Support and Accessibility.
Over the past years, University of Northern Colorado online programs have grown significantly in quantity and will continue to expand as UNC utilizes e-learning opportunities in traditional classes, redesign courses for online environments, and increase the outreach through new programs and courses to new students. To assure quality of online course design, which is one of the important factors that impact the quality of a course, UNC has decided to implement the QM process and rubric. All interested faculty members have chosen to adopt the QM rubric and the review process either formally through training or informally through independent learning. In this paper, the authors are to share their formal QM training experiences, their self and peer course review experiences, and their reflections on how implementing the QM process helps them redesign their online courses for the future students.