N. Pedro1, S. Kumar2

1UIDEF- Institute of Education University of Lisbon (PORTUGAL)
2University of Florida- College of Education (UNITED STATES)
E-learning in Higher Education is presently an expanding domain of research and practice in the international context. Most Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are becoming aware of Online Learning environments, blended-learning approaches, MOOCs or even on-campus technology-enhanced Learning. Worldwide, many HEI are investing in providing some form of online learning; yet, the process of developing online courses is not as simple, fast and financially profitable as many HEI leaders tend to expect. Research has proved that the initial investment on time, technology, faculty expertise and support services is high; the competition is severe, as e-learning has no geographical boundaries, and today the level of quality and support required by the students is exigent. At the same time, just investing in technologies and infrastructure, instructional design, or initial faculty training for online teaching has been documented as insufficient to ensure high quality online courses. The institutional support services provided by HEI for the development, implementation, and sustenance of e-learning is extremely important. This presentation/article focuses on this critical factor for the success of online learning: e-learning related-institutional support services, as a dimension that is frequently highlighted in the international frameworks for online learning quality assurance. 13 international quality assurance frameworks, standards or guidelines were analyzed with the aim of identifying the different institutional support services that are crucial for the implementation of e-learning initiatives. Their nature, role and responsibilities for assuring high-quality online learning will be discussed.