UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DEARBORN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS CREATION, MAINTENANCE, AND QUALITY MANAGEMENT OF ONLINE COURSES

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1 UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DEARBORN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS CREATION, MAINTENANCE, AND QUALITY MANAGEMENT OF ONLINE COURSES OCTOBER 28, 2014 The details that follow concern the pedagogy of online teaching and the use of technology for online teaching; they do not concern the content of the courses. Specifically, online course quality management recognizes that the needs of online learners are different than those in classroom and hybrid courses and as such is concerned with the set-up, approach, design, and delivery of the course. It is concerned with how subject matter is taught, not what subject matter is taught (or not taught). Definitions The College of Business, by default, offers two categories of courses: online and classroom. An online course is one where all content, communication, assessment, and interaction occur online via a Learning Management System (LMS), currently Canvas. A classroom course is any course that is not an online course. Online courses are scheduled as such through Banner, have a different enrollment capacity, and have a different tuition structure than classroom courses. The College of Business may choose to define a third category hybrid with specific minimums and/or maximums to classroom and LMS usage, enrollment capacity, and tuition, but has not defined such a category at this point in time. Throughout this document, the term instructional designer is used in its broadest sense. Instructional designers provide support for online (and classroom) courses and instructors through training, pedagogical support, technical support, helpdesk functionality, and more. Usage of Canvas in Classroom Courses College of Business classroom courses are to meet on a regular basis at the time and location as described in the Schedule of Classes. Classroom courses are not online courses. Classroom courses may have online components provided through the LMS to supplement classroom instruction, to administer examinations or quizzes, or to present content in place of classroom sessions in special circumstances (e.g., conference travel or other pre-arranged absences). Online Course Creation and Maintenance The College of Business is focusing its resources on supporting approved online courses (based on the above definition). To this end, the following describes the course creation process and the availability of instructional design and course maintenance support for online courses. Course Creation Each new online course must have a completed Course Creation Document (CCD; template shown in Appendix A). The CCD will supplement (not replace) ing policies and procedures for designing or approving new courses. Within the CCD, an instructional designer working with the faculty member will develop a Course Creation Plan (CCP) that outlines the needs of the new online course, including involvement of instructional designers and associated costs of the course (i.e., release time, stipends, specialized software, video hosting, and/or other support). The Course Creation Document with the completed Course Creation 1

2 Plan will be submitted to the Department Chair prior to course development to ensure that the department has the resources (human, technical, and financial) available that are necessary to successfully implement the course. For this reason, the CCD must be approved by the faculty s Department Chair prior to actual development of the course. Once approved by the Department Chair, the faculty must attend one (1) workshop or similar training session on online teaching (only during the design period for the faculty s first online course). Once an online course has been developed, an instructional designer will conduct a pre-launch review to make sure there is alignment between the goals of the course and the delivery of the course. The instructional designer will provide recommendations regarding usage of technology and pedagogy that take into consideration best practices and common standards for online teaching. The instructional designer will also review the accessibility of the course, faculty-student and student-student interaction, general organization and set-up of the course, and clarity of instructional text. If an instructional designer is involved during the development process, the pre-launch review should not be onerous nor should it result in any surprises. This review will be given to the faculty member and will be scheduled to be completed a minimum of two (2) weeks before the start date of the semester in which the course is to be taught online for the first time. Following the first semester of teaching each online course, the faculty will have a one-on-one debriefing meeting with an instructional designer. This will complete the CCD. Course Maintenance Ongoing course maintenance is available for approved online courses. Faculty teaching these courses can request support from Lee Freeman or from AliveTek. Support is available for instructional design, pedagogy, Canvas functionality, and technical set-up. Faculty are encouraged to do as much of the course maintenance work as possible and to only utilize AliveTek for work they can not do themselves. Faculty wishing to incorporate online components and tools into their classroom courses will be responsible for this development and maintenance. Training is available to help faculty learn how to do these tasks and to maintain their courses, regardless of the level of technology usage within these classroom courses. Canvas Helpdesk The Canvas Helpdesk is available for all courses (online and classroom), all faculty, and all students for troubleshooting and technical support. The Canvas Helpdesk can be reached from within the Help menu in Canvas, and from the links and contact information provided at Quality Management Pedagogical s All online courses should strive to achieve pedagogical standards 1 (developed based on the Quality Matters 2 rubric) in the following categories: Course Overview and Introduction, Assessment and Measurement, Resources and Materials, Learner Interaction, Course Technology, and Accessibility. The full set of standards, three in each category, can be found in Appendix B. 1 These standards provide an overall guideline for pedagogical quality in online learning. Each course and each standard will be viewed holistically across the entire set of standards and courses not every course will incorporate every standard, and not every standard will be fully realized in every course. 2 The Quality Matters TM program ( is sponsored by MarylandOnline, and was supported in part by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), U.S. Department of Education. 2

3 A regular and formal assessment of these standards will occur at a frequency and schedule to be determined, with initial measurements occurring in Fall Faculty and students will be asked to complete the assessment scale in order to provide their perceptions of the pedagogical standards. The assessment results are not a grade of the faculty or the course; they are an assessment of specific standards of online course delivery as suggested by Quality Matters. A low score on any item or in any category imply a poorly designed or poorly delivered course. Such scores may be the result of pedagogical and design decisions put in place to provide high-quality learning experiences that are specific to instructor or student needs. Ongoing Refreshes Based on a schedule to be determined (ideally once every four years), all faculty teaching online courses will work with an instructional designer to review latest pedagogical and technological best practices, review current courses being taught online, and review assessment results from any and all measurements available. This refresh meeting is not intended to judge or assess faculty. This meeting is to provide faculty with a formal update on best practices, an opportunity to review assessment data and make changes as appropriate, and an opportunity to have focused support for any needs that. Faculty are encouraged to take advantage of this time as much as possible. Constituent Surveys All students enrolled in online courses will be surveyed annually to assess their satisfaction with and perceptions of the technology, the pedagogy, and the program as a whole. All faculty teaching online courses will be surveyed annually to assess their satisfaction with and perceptions of the technology, the pedagogy, and the program as a whole. Summary reports and longitudinal data comparisons will be made available to College of Business administrators and faculty. These surveys are different from and in addition to the traditional end-of-semester course evaluations which are course-specific. Other Efforts A strong emphasis will remain on pedagogical workshops, technical training workshops, and other efforts to maintain and improve online course quality. Online enrollments will be tracked via credit hours, average section enrollments, and growth over time to ensure accurate financial models and planning. Task Summary Task Deliverable Ownership Outcome Course Course Creation Instructional Designer and Completed Document, Creation Document Faculty Training, and Review Course Maintenance Pedagogical s Regular Maintenance Course-level Surveys of Faculty and Students (Coordinated by Lee Freeman) Faculty, with AliveTek as needed (Coordinated by Lee Freeman) Chris Casey, Coordinator of Online Learning n/a Longitudinal Survey Data Refreshes Constituent Surveys Periodic Review of Best Practices and Course Design Annual Surveys of Faculty and Students Instructional Designer, working with Faculty (Coordinated by Lee Freeman) Chris Casey, Coordinator of Online Learning Faculty Awareness of Best Practices in Pedagogy and Technology Longitudinal Survey Data 3

4 Appendix A Course Creation Document Course Number and Name University of Michigan Dearborn College of Business Online Course Creation Document Instructor Launch Semester Initial meeting with Instructional Designer Date: Initials: Access given to Canvas and other resources, as needed Date: Initials: Course Creation Plan (to be completed with instructional designer) Include in this section a timeline of actions (including, if appropriate, where and how an instructional designer will be involved) and the needs of the course (i.e., release time, stipends, specialized software, video hosting, and/or other support): Course Creation Plan approval by Department Chair Date: Initials: Pre-teach workshop attendance (only required for first online course) Date: Initials: Pre-teach course review by instructional designer Date: Initials: Post-teach meeting with instructional designer Date: Initials: 4

5 Course Overview and Introduction Appendix B Pedagogical s Annotation What s the Idea? Assessment Navigational instructions make the organization of the course easy to understand. Instructions provide a general course overview, guide the new student to explore the course website, and indicate what to do first, rather than list detailed navigational instructions for the whole course. A statement introduces the student to the course and to the structure of the student learning. Netiquette expectations with regard to discussions and communication are clearly stated. Instructors may choose to incorporate some of this information in the course syllabus. If so, students should be directed to the syllabus at the beginning of the course. A useful idea is a Read Me First or Start Here button or icon on the course home page, linking students to start-up information. A course tour Clear statements about how to get started in the course A Scavenger hunt assignment that leads students through an exploration of the different areas of the course The instructor s statement gives the new student an idea of how the learning process is structured including schedule, communications modes, types of activities, and assessments. These features are often found in the course syllabus. Look for some or all of the following: The course schedule (self-paced, following a set calendar, etc.) Course sequencing, such as a linear or random order Types of activities the student will be required to complete (written assignments, online self-tests, participation in the discussion board, group work, etc.) Course calendar with assignment and test due dates Preferred mode of communication with the instructor ( , discussion board, etc.) Preferred mode of communication with other students Testing procedures (online, proctored, etc.) Procedure for submission of electronic assignments Expectations of student conduct online are clearly stated, however brief or elaborate they may be. The expectations themselves are not evaluated. Rules of conduct for participating in the discussion board Rules of conduct for content Speaking style requirements, (i.e. use of correct English required as opposed to net acronyms) Spelling and grammar expectations, if any fully fully fully 5

6 Assessment and Measurement Annotation What s the Idea? Assessment The types of assessments selected measure the stated learning objectives and are consistent with course activities and resources. Assessments, learning objectives, and learning activities align in a clear and direct way. The assessment formats provide a reasonable way to measure the stated learning objectives. The grading policy is transparent, easy to understand, and provides feedback to the student. Examples of inconsistency: The objective is to be able to write a persuasive essay but the assessment is a multiple choice test The objective is to demonstrate discipline-specific information literacy and the assessment is a rubric-scored term paper, but students are not given any practice with information literacy skills on smaller assignments Examples of objective/assessment alignment: A problem analysis evaluates critical thinking skills Multiple choice quiz tests vocabulary knowledge A composition assesses writing skills Review the clarity of presentation to the student, not the simplicity or complexity of a given grading system itself. A relatively complex grading system can still be unambiguous and easy to understand. Example: A list of all activities, tests, etc. that will affect the students grade is included at the beginning of the course fully The types of assessments selected and the methods used for submitting assessments are appropriate for the content being assessed. Students learn more effectively if they receive frequent, meaningful, and rapid feedback. This feedback may come from the instructor directly, from assignments and assessments that have feedback built into them, or even from other students. Instructor participation in a discussion assignment Writing assignments that require submission of a draft for instructor comments and suggestions for improvement Self-mastery tests and quizzes that include informative feedback with each answer choice Interactive games and simulations that have feedback built in Assessments make use of the technologies and security typically found in an online classroom. Examples that DO meet the standard: Submission of text or media files by or drop box Exams given in a proctored testing center Quizzes with time limitations, printing disabled, and other security measures Multiple assessments which enable the instructor to become familiar with individual students work and which discourage proxy cheating (someone other than the student completing and submitting work) Examples that do NOT meet the standard: Required assessments that cannot be submitted online, such as a lab practicum in a science course A course in which the entire set of assessments consists of 5 multiple choice tests taken online, with no enforced time limit, the print function enabled, and minimal security features in place fully fully 6

7 Resources and Materials Annotation What s the Idea? Assessment The instructional materials support the stated learning objectives and have sufficient breadth and depth for the student to learn the subject. Instructors should provide meaningful content in a variety of ways, including the textbook, PowerPoint presentations, websites, lecture notes, outlines, and multimedia. Instructional materials are presented in a format appropriate to the online environment, and are easily accessible to and usable by the student. The instructional materials, including supporting materials, are logically sequenced and consistent in organization. Students who have the required technical equipment and software can view the materials online. If some of the course resources, including textbooks, videos, readings, etc., are unavailable within the framework of the course website, determine how students would gain access to them and examine their ease of use. Textbooks and/or videos, if used, include titles, authors, publishers, ISBN numbers, copyright dates, and information as to where copies can be obtained A navigation button is devoted to Resources and appropriately tied in with the overall course design Required software plug-ins are listed, along with instructions for obtaining and installing the plug-ins Examples of some visual format problems: Text size may be inconsistent for typical View/Text Size setting Large text files are presented without table of contents or unit numbering Multimedia files require plug-ins or codecs students do not have Online courses often use multiple types of instructional materials. Students can easily understand how the materials relate to each other. The level of detail in supporting materials is appropriate for the level of the course. For example, a course requires students to use the following materials: a textbook divided into chapters, video segments ordered by topics, and a tutorial website that has an opening menu consisting of practice quizzes, images, and audio examples. Such diversely formatted course materials must be integrated well enough to be useful to the uninitiated student. fully fully fully 7

8 Learner Interaction Annotation What s the Idea? Assessment The learning activities promote the achievement of stated objectives and learning outcomes. Learning activities are various including class discussions, case studies, simulation exercises, practice quizzes, tests, etc. Activities align with and support the learning objectives. Most of the objectives can reasonably be achieved by students completing the learning activities. Learning activities foster instructor-student, contentstudent, and if appropriate, student-student interaction. Clear standards are set for instructor response and availability (turn-around time for , grade posting, etc.), and requirements for student interaction are clearly articulated. Examples of mismatches between activities and objectives: The objective requires students to be able to deliver a persuasive speech, but the activities in the course do not include practice of that skill The objective is Prepare each budget within a master budget and explain their importance in the overall budgeting process. The students review information about this in their texts, observe budgets worked out by the instructor, and produce only one of the several budgets. All online courses should include interaction between the instructor and the students and between the students and the content. The degree and type of student-to-student interaction may vary with the discipline and the level of the course. Examples of learning activities that foster the following types of interaction: Instructor student: Self-introduction; discussion postings and responses; feedback on project assignments; evidence of one-to-one communication, etc. Student content: Essays, term papers, group projects, etc. based on readings, videos, and other course content; self-assessment exercises; group work products, etc. Student student: Self-introduction exercise; group discussion postings; group projects; peer critiques, etc. Information clearly indicates instructor response time for key events and interactions, including turnaround time, time required for grade postings, discussion postings, etc. s also include instructor availability, including response time, degree of participation in discussions, and availability via other media (phone, in-person) if applicable. This standard prescribe what that response time and availability ought to be. A clear statement of requirements should indicate the criteria for interaction. For example, students required to participate in discussions are told how many times each week they must post original comments, how many times they must post responses to other s comments, what the quality of the comments must be, how the comments will be evaluated, what grade credit they can expect for various levels of performance, and whether the interaction is required or optional. fully fully fully 8

9 Course Technology Annotation What s the Idea? Assessment The tools and media support the learning objectives of the course and are integrated with texts and lesson assignments. Tools and media used in the course support related learning objectives, and are integrated with texts and lesson assignments. Students know how the tools and media support the assignments and how they support the learning objectives. Technology is not used simply for the sake of using technology. For example, a course might require viewing video materials, but it may not be clear how the video materials illustrate or support any learning objective. The tools and media enhance student interactivity and guide the student to become a more active learner. The tools and media are compatible with ing standards of delivery modes. Tools and media used in the course help students actively engage in the learning process, rather than passively absorbing information. Automated self-check exercises requiring student response Animations, simulations, and games that require student input Software that tracks student interaction and progress Use of discussion tools with automatic notification or read/unread tracking feature Course tools, media, and delivery modes meet current standards for widespread accessibility. For example, if most students have access to DVD players or use streaming media, use of those delivery modes in an online class meets this standard. If the typical student cannot be expected to have access to a technology at his or her out-of-the box home computer, that technology should probably not be used in the course. fully fully fully 9

10 Accessibility Annotation What s the Idea? Assessment The course acknowledges the importance of ADA requirements. All online courses should direct students to the institution s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) services on their campus. There should be a statement in the course that tells students how to gain access to ADA services at their institution. Web pages provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content, including links. The course demonstrates sensitivity to readability issues. Alternative means of access to course information are provided for the vision or hearing impaired student, such as equivalent textual representations of images, audio, animations, and videos in the course website. Presenting information in text format is generally acceptable because screen reader software (used by the vision impaired) can read text. Audio lecture has a text transcript available Video clip, image, or animation is accompanied by text transcript Instructors provide links to Internet content that includes useful descriptions of what students will find at those sites. These descriptions enable the vision impaired student to use screen reader software to understand links. All file names and web hyperlinks have meaningful names. For instance, the link to take a quiz should say Take Quiz 1, not click here Icons used as links should also have HTML tags or an accompanying text link The course employs appropriate font, color, and spacing to facilitate readability and minimize distractions for the student. Formatting such as bold or italics in addition to color coding text Web page provided in an alternate, non-color-coded format Formatting and color coding serve instructional purposes. For example, format and color are used purposefully to communicate key points, group like items and emphasize relevant relationships, etc. fully fully fully 10

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