2. Recognizing and Promoting Quality in Online Education

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1 College of Education, Health and Human Services University of Michigan Dearborn Quality Online Course Development and Delivery Plan DRAFT of June 20, 2014 The Curriculum Committee of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services considered the campus' emerging policies on the development of online courses twice during the academic year in September and late April. The body will consider the following policy statement in the academic year. Underlying the following draft statement is an assumption articulated by the Curriculum Committee as representatives of the Governing Faculty of the college that all courses in the CEHHS regardless of mode of delivery should be equivalent in terms of course objectives and largely parallel, therefore, in terms of their development, approval, and maintenance processes that pertain. 1. Current Online Course Development Process and Support 1.1. Funding and Technical Support : CEHHS faculty possess specific knowledge of their programs and faculty, and they are best suited to make decisions about their online curriculum selection. Several campus wide and college based resources are available to faculty teaching online to support their instructional proficiency. The main resource at the college level is an Instructional Learning Assistant, who assists faculty with the campus' adopted Learning Management System, Canvas and offers training and consultation regarding the creation and improvement of online instruction. CEHHS faculty have additional access to training and consulting at the Hub for Teaching and Learning (campus wide). Further resources at the university's Ann Arbor campus include the Center for Research, Learning, and Teaching (at the Ann Arbor campus), the Faculty Exploratory and Knowledge Navigation Center, and an annual "TeachTech" event each May for continuing education and professional development focused on productive use and best practice in online teaching and learning and in instructional technology 1

2 more generally. Faculty are encouraged to participate in professional development activities related to online instruction (workshops, webinars, consultation with an instructional designer, or with faculty peers) Course Design and Evaluation : The CEHHS does not have a separate process for creating online courses, or maintaining their quality, since the disciplines expect equivalence in content and rigor between online and face to face courses. CEHHS faculty evaluate and assess online courses using a system of peer review, in which experienced faculty conduct class visits or observation of online classes of junior and adjunct faculty. These reviews include examination of course materials for appropriateness and rigor, the effectiveness of the delivery method in the classroom or on line, and the extent to which courses are updated and teaching innovations applied. Peer review is generally formative and developmental, with suggestions for change, and ongoing mentoring occurring as an important part of the evaluation process. Normally, peer reviews for online courses will require a different observation protocol. Above all, CEHHS faculty seek online course development and delivery that is learner centered and focused on meeting the same course objectives as in face to face offerings. Similarly, course evaluations for online courses should meet the same standards as face to face course evaluations require. 2. Recognizing and Promoting Quality in Online Education Like Quality Matters, a rubric of general and specific standards intended to guide the design of online courses in use at a large number of universities, CEHHS has adopted a 1 rubric, which it recommends that faculty utilize. Based on established best practices in online instruction, the CEHHS Course Design Rubric (CDR; see in Appendix 1) is an optional but recommended tool that can be used: a. As a road map to aid faculty in designing a new course for the online environment. 1 CEHHS Course Design Rubric is largely based on a rubric used at California State University, Chico. It is licensed as a CC 3.0, which allows modifications, given appropriate attribution. 2

3 b. As a course "self evaluation" tool advising instructors how to revise an existing course. Faculty have the option to use this self evaluation to strengthen their online courses, or to mentor peer online instructors. c. As a means for getting recognition for exemplary online instruction. d. As an aid for mentoring of faculty new to online teaching. The Course Design Rubric includes four categories: Learner Support and Resources, Online Organization and Design, Instructional Design, Delivery, and Technology, Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning 3. Creating an Online Course: The Process All new course proposals and major course changes are reviewed by the CEHHS Curriculum Committee. A sponsoring faculty member working through his or her department chair normally presents a proposed new course for consideration within the college's Curriculum Committee (which is advisory to the college Executive Committee). The Curriculum Committee approves proposed courses (normally after offering recommendations and stipulations that are incorporated into the course proposal), and these approvals stand as recommendations for approval by the Executive Committee. Courses approved at the collegiate level in this fashion then move through the campus UCDC and relevant UCDC subcommittees for final recording by the campus registrar. New course proposals and course changes require a standard course form including a supporting statement and rationale for Curriculum Committee consideration and ultimate approval in the Executive Committee. The CEHHS will use the same process for the creation of new online courses and for changing the delivery format of an existing course to include online and hybrid courses. 3

4 The supporting statement and rationale for online courses will include an Online Course Supporting Statement (OCSS) in Appendix 2, with 6 questions, closely aligned with the categories of the Course Design Rubric discussed above. Faculty members plan and design their course using the optional Course Design Rubric, and on that basis, can easily complete the Online Course Supporting Statement. Faculty can then choose to append a completed Course Design Rubric to supplement their Online Course Supporting Statement. Faculty are also encouraged to consult with relevant support staff. In summary, submitting a new online course proposal, or a course change proposal from face to face delivery to online or hybrid, requires: a standard Course Approval or Course Change Form; a supporting statement and rationale that includes the OCSS (Note that the OCSS is considered part of the supporting statement for offering/modifying the course, not an extra step in the approval process.) 4. Self evaluation in Online Instruction The Course Design Rubric is intended as a guide to help faculty structure plans for designing an online course. The rubric also serves as a helpful template for describing course design and delivery in the Online Course Supporting Statement, since they are congruent. Placing check marks across the rubric categories would give the instructor a visual map of strengths in course design and delivery in the planning phase, as well as an idea of what areas to improve over time. Most importantly, this visual map can provide a reference for future self evaluations. 5. Maintaining and Refreshing Online Courses Faculty are encouraged to use the Course Design Rubric and other existing support systems in the college and campus in order to keep pace with new instructional technology and pedagogical developments. The college relies on the peer review system (as set forth in faculty governance policies and the Standard Practice Guide for the 4

5 University of Michigan) to evaluate and assess online courses, including online observation, ongoing training, and mentoring. 5

6 APPENDIX 1 Online Course Design Rubric Category 1: Learner Support & Resources Below Expectations Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations Course lacks relevant information for online learner support and links to campus resources. Course lacks access to contact information for the instructor, department and/or other relevant support personnel/services. Course contains relevant information for online learner support and links to campus resources. Course includes access to contact information for the instructor, department and other relevant support personnel/services. Course contains extensive relevant information for online learner support and links to campus resources. Course lacks sufficient access to a wide range of resources supporting course content and different learning styles. Accessibility needs are only partially addressed. (Including: sight, mobility, hearing, cognition, and technical.) Course offers sufficient access to a wide range of resources supporting course content and different learning styles. Accessibility needs are adequately addressed. (Including: sight, mobility, hearing, cognition, and technical.) Course offers extensive access to a wide range of resources supporting course content and different learning styles. 6

7 Online Course Design Rubric Category 2: Online Organization & Design Developing Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations Much of the course is under construction, with some key components identified such as the syllabus. Course syllabus is unclear about what is expected of students. Course interface lacks clarity. Course is organized and navigable. Students can understand the key components and structure of the course. Course syllabus identifies and delineates the role the online environment will play in the course. Course interface presents and communicates course information clearly. Course is well organized and easy to navigate. Students can clearly understand all components and structure of the course. Course syllabus explicitly identifies and delineates the role the online environment will play in the course. Course interface presents and communicates course information clearly throughout the course. The layout has a consistent appearance. 7

8 Online Course Design Rubric Category 3: Instructional Design, Delivery & Technology Developing Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations Course offers limited opportunity for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor and student to content. Course goals are not clearly defined and do not align to learning objectives. Learning objectives are vague or incomplete and learning activities are absent or unclear. Course uses limited technology tools to facilitate communication and learning. There are limited multimedia elements and/or learning objects for accommodating different learning styles. Course offers a variety of opportunities for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor and student to content. Course goals are defined and aligned to learning objectives. Learning objectives are identified and learning activities are consistent with the stated objectives. Course uses a variety of technology tools to appropriately facilitate communication and learning. A variety of relevant multimedia elements and/or learning objects are used to accommodate different learning styles throughout the course. Course offers extensive and frequent opportunities for interaction and communication student to student, student to instructor and student to content. Course goals are clearly defined and closely aligned to learning objectives. Learning objectives are explicitly identified and learning activities are consistent with, and directly related to, the stated objectives. Course takes advantage of the affordances of a variety of technology tools to effectively facilitate communication and learning. Multimedia elements and/or learning objects are extensively used to effectively accommodate different learning styles throughout the course. 8

9 Online Course Design Rubric Category 4: Assessment & Evaluation of Student Learning Developing Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations Course has limited activities to assess student readiness for course content and mode of delivery. Learning objectives, instructional and assessment activities are not aligned. Assessment strategies are limited in use to measure content knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Opportunities for students to receive feedback about their own performance are infrequent and sporadic. Students self assessments and/or peer feedback opportunities are limited. Course has adequate activities to assess student readiness for course content and mode of delivery. Learning objectives, instructional and assessment activities are adequately aligned. Ongoing strategies are used to measure content knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Opportunities for students to receive feedback about their own performance are provided. Students self assessments and/or peer feedback opportunities exist. Course has multiple timely and appropriate activities to assess student readiness for course content and mode of delivery. Learning objectives, instructional and assessment activities are closely aligned. Multiple ongoing assessment strategies are used to measure student learning. Regular feedback about student performance is provided in a timely manner throughout the course. Students self assessments and peer feedback opportunities exist throughout the course. 9

10 APPENDIX 2 College of Education, Health, and Human Services Online Course Supporting Statement Date: Course number: Course title: Faculty member: Proposed first/next offering: Term Yr Is this an existing course? Yes No If existing, what is the delivery method for which the course is currently approved? Face to Face Online with regular meeting (hybrid) 1. What instructional support will be offered to online learners? (i.e. chat sessions, how to videos, conferencing, etc.) (CDR Category 1) 2. In what ways is the online environment conducive to the learning experience in this course? (CDR Category 2) 3. How will students interact with each other and the professor? Multiple modes of interaction are strongly recommended. (CDR Category 3) 4. What delivery methods will be used for course content? What technology will be required to develop and run the course? (CDR Category 3) 5. How will student mastery of course concepts be evaluated? Multiple methods of evaluation are strongly recommended. (CDR Category 4) 6. Other relevant supporting comments. 10

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