The Virtual Quality Assurance program promotes and ensures the integrity and quality of Brazosport College's total online and hybrid courses.
The program is modeled after Quality Matters (QM), of which we are a college subscriber. It is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning.
Just as with QM, our Virtual Quality Assurance program involves 3 components, each of which is described below.
- Quality Assurance Rubric
- Course Review Process
- Professional Development
Quality Assurance Rubric
Our virtual quality assurance standards are modified from the Quality Matters Rubric (QM Rubric). The Rubric is comprised of eight general standards and multiple specific review standards which are used to evaluate the "design" of total online and hybrid courses. These standards are based on national standards of best practice, research findings and instructional design principles. The rubric is designed to promote student learning and encourage continuous quality course improvement.
The Rubric is to be used by our online course review team(s) to evaluate the extent to which course design (NOT course delivery) meets these specific set of standards.
What is the Difference between Course Design versus Course Delivery?
Course design is all the forethought and planning that goes into a course PRIOR to students entering the course.
For example, course design involves informing students how they should participate in a course or in discussions, how they will use the dropbox, or how grades will be assigned.
Course delivery, on the other hand, is the actual teaching of the course AFTER students are in the course.
For example, it is the how and when you, as the instructor, participate in a discussion, determines the quality and timeline of student responses, etc.
Course Review Process
All total online and hybrid courses taught at least 2 semesters will be subject for a course review. Course reviews can take anywhere from 3-14 weeks to complete and involves the following steps, each of which is described below:
Course Meets Expectations
Course selection is completed by administration prior to each fall/spring semester. At this time only 2-3 "mature" courses (those which have been taught at least 2 semesters) will be selected per semester for review.
Once a course is selected the instructor will be notified via email indicating "next steps" in the review process. The instructor then has the option to complete a Self-Review which can provide additional preparation of the course for the "official" review.
In addition to the optional Self-Review, the instructor will be required to complete a Course Worksheet. The workshop provides general supplemental information about the course for the review team to refer to during a review.
Courses are reviewed by a team using the Quality Assurance Rubric (view rubric description above). During the review thecourse design will either have "met" or "not yet met" all standards presented within the rubric and can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks for the review team to complete.
Once a course review has been completed, helpful recommendations via feedback will be provided, and since our program focuses on continuous improvement, feedback is given whether or not a course has yet to meet quality standards. Course review feedback consists of course strengths, areas for improvement, and specific recommendations and suggestions for improving the course.
If a course did not initially meet expectations, revisions will need to be made based on feedback and a re-review of the course will take place. The revision period should take no longer than 14 weeks.
Course Meets Quality Expectations
Once a course meets expectations it then goes back into "rotation" and will be subject for review again based on the following:
1. More than five years since original review.
2. New textbook or instructor is assigned.
3. Faculty request (subject to reviewer schedule).
Professional development opportunities support the rubric and review process through a variety of online and face-to-face sessions which focus on standards and applicable examples of what faculty can do to meet review criteria.
As of summer 2016 current total online and hybrid faculty have completed VAST101 which was an introductory online course to our Virtual Quality Assurance program and the standards on which it is based.
New online faculty are required to complete the E-Learning Certification program which introduces these critically important standards as well as online pedagogy, methodology, and the technological mechanics behind managing and developing an online course.
The following are future training opportunities focusing on quality online course standards and are tentatively set for Spring/Fall 2017.
- Virtual Quality Assurance Standards Training 102 (VAST102)
- Measurable Objectives Development (MOD)
- Quality Assurance Reviewer Training (QART)
All VAST titled courses are offered totally online, focus on the 8 general standard categories in which the Quality Assurance Rubric is comprised.
VAST102 will be an introduction course to the General Standard 2 category which focuses on learning objectives, and all "alignment" based Review Standards.
MOD will be a set of face-2-face developmental workshops, which will focus on the development of program goals and course objectives. The set of workshops support concepts that will be or have been introduced in VAST102. These 2 courses may coincide with each other.
QART will be a set of workshops focusing on how to use the Quality Assurance Rubric and conduct "internal" online course reviews. The workshops are targeted for online faculty who have an interest in serving on a course review team and for division chairs.
If you have any questions about the program or the review process, please let us know.
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