Course Quality Assurance Group

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1 University of Alaska Steering Board 90-Day Work Group Report Course Quality Assurance Group Distance Education Summit 2005 March 28-29, 2005 Anchorage, Alaska Robert Perkins, PhD Work Group Chair 1

2 Quality assurance for course design, delivery, and connectivity Robert A. Perkins This document presents material pertaining to quality assurance for UA distance education courses. The members of the CDE Steering Board gathered the material. It is organized by categories common in industrial quality methods TQM and ISO This document is designed for review at the March 28 and 29 meeting, at which time the material can be rewritten, condensed, and new material added. All the material from the November CDE Screening Board meeting and the standing criteria from UAA, TVC and Kenai are presented. The two main section of this document are the Quality Policy and Quality Systems Manual. The Quality Policy is the overarching corporate philosophy that provides the environment for the quality process. It includes corporate vision, values, and mission. The Quality Systems Manual is a high level document that describes the organization s quality system. Under that are the Quality Systems Procedures. The Manual could be a relatively short document that references the procedures and how they will be administered, or a longer document that contains the procedures. This document does not get that far. Important items, such as who is responsible for what action might be stated in the Overview, placed in a new Administration section, or placed in the individual Process Steps. These are important items for the March meeting. Quality Policy... 4 Overview...4 UAF Mission Statement...4 Code of Ethics...4 Engineering and Science Management, Quality Policy...4 The goal of [The CDE] Steering Board is to:...5 SAC s Vision for UA s Virtual University...5 Quality system manual... 6 General Overview...6 Ideas from TVC for overview:...6 Ideas from UAA for overview:...7 Ideas from Overview to the Best Practices...7 Total Quality Management in Education Who is the Customer?...8 General notes from the November 2d, CDE Meeting:...8 Quality Team and Responsibility Matrix...8 Quality Team:...8 Mode Specific Issues?...9 2

3 Process Step in Education Delivery Quality issues at each step The need for a new course (or program) is evaluated, including the number of potential students and their demographics CDE notes A decision is made about the benefit of offering the class via distance CDE Notes UAA Standards for Institutional Support Services Best Practices Notes A new course is prepared by the instructor Notes from 3 Nov CDE meeting TVC Notes From UAA The course is delivered CDE notes TVC notes UAA notes The course is reviewed or evaluated CDE Notes TVC Notes UAA notes A decision is made if the course should be offered in the future CDE Notes If the course is suitable for future offerings, it is modified or upgraded as needed.. 19 CDE Notes Training CDE Notes UAA notes Note on Customer..22 References Appendix UAA Quality Standards TVC Quality Standards CDE Quality Standards Kenai Peninsula College Summary DE Issues WCET Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs Mainstreaming Distance Learning Into the Community College Beware! TQM is Coming To Your Campus Total Quality Management Strategic Plan for Distance Course Development..85 3

4 Quality Policy Overview UAF Mission Statement UAF Mission Statement, for example: The University of Alaska Fairbanks, as the nation's northernmost Land, Sea, and Space Grant university and international research center, advances and disseminates knowledge through creative teaching, research, and public service with an emphasis on Alaska, the North and their diverse peoples. ( Code of Ethics Often the quality policy will have a definite code of ethics that emphasizes Integrity, Credibility, and need to Comply with laws Engineering and Science Management, Quality Policy For example ESM Quality, see 4

5 The goal of [The CDE] Steering Board is to: Develop a system through cross-institutional collaboration that provides access to the best education the university has to offer, regardless of students locations, schedules, or other limiting factors. SAC s Vision for UA s Virtual University Here is data from the State-wide Academic Council: To provide the citizens of Alaska who are excluded due to geography, scheduling and other limiting factors with the interface to access the essential courses, programs and services needed for the enhancement of their economies and cultures. Mission 1. Make UA courses and programs accessible, broker courses and programs where necessary, and provide the critical elements for faculty and student success. 2. Draw upon regional and institutional strengths in distance education, and seek to create the most efficient and productive balance between using centralized and decentralized approaches to offering distance delivered education. 3. Identify essential programs determined to be necessary and feasible for distance delivery. 4. Provide the interface to access services to matriculate and sustain the student s enrollment (general advising, financial aid resources, registration, course schedules, admissions information). 5. Support course offerings that fit into programs (certificates, degrees, endorsements, etc.) and that have long term institutional commitment so that courses within the programs are guaranteed to be offered over time and on a consistent basis. 6. Explore current and emerging technologies in pursuit of delivering quality education and increasing access to students throughout the state. ( 5

6 Quality system manual General Overview The manual must contain written Quality system procedures Training and knowledge requirements. Subject to Audits Procedures for Corrective action Kenai notes Creation of a faculty-level DE quality assurance task force on campus (? an arm of the Faculty Forum??) Development of true University-wide DE standards and consistencies (in face of turf issues of MAUs), unified and consistent communications devises to keep faculty and students fully apprised of DE issues, course offerings and administrative consistencies. Continue work towards the goal of ALL UA distance courses on the DE Gateway Change the name of the Distributed Ed Gateway to something the consumers recognize: Distance-Delivered Classes Advising is exponentially more complex than it was. Piecing degrees together across MAUs can be challenging. It would be helpful if there was a comprehensive website for advising for DE program clearly identifying degrees available and their requirements rather than having to search sometimes incomplete information on various websites. The site should also clearly provide registration, fee, refund, ad/drop and book purchase information. Recognize that students increasingly take DE courses that are offered on home campuses and that there is a need to credit home campuses with the enrollment of DE students Kenai STUDENT CONCERNS (consistent issues arising from 9 student interviews) Ease of finding information about DE courses Consistency and full publication of fees, tuition, extra costs, and books Above all else, make the DE course pedagogically sound (and interesting) Treat distant student in the same fashion as face-to-face students (vis a vis in-class assignments and exercises, deadlines, in-class presentations, etc.) Make every effort to overcome tech difficulties (failed microphones, poor training of instructors, poor visuals, etc.) Improve pedagogical techniques Improve availability of instructors for student conferences and individual concerns Ideas from TVC for overview: Because new technologies and innovations are constantly being developed for online courses, the below criteria are not meant to limit new and better ways to develop and 6

7 offer web-based instruction. The criteria are established to ensure meaningful and interactive course material is developed that addresses various learning styles. Substitutions are encouraged if they are considered better or more appropriate to a particular course. Instructors cannot however, opt out of a criteria altogether without developing a more effective substitution. TVC Ideas from UAA for overview: The following quality standards for distance education are based on national standards broadly agreed upon by a range of national education organizations and universities. The purpose of these recommendations (which are designed to apply to all the UAA campuses) is to ensure that the quality of distance-delivered courses at the University of Alaska Anchorage is acceptably high in terms of instructional delivery, "classroom" experience, and learning outcomes. UAA Keep in mind that the following standards are suggested recommendations. They are not meant to dictate behavior or to limit freedom when it comes to the delivery and instruction of distance education courses. Instead, they are designed to suggest a course of action for strengthening the quality of learning and the quality of experience associated with distance education at UAA. For the purposes of this document, distance education is defined as follows: Distance education is planned learning that normally occurs in a different place from teaching and as a result requires special techniques of course design, special instructional techniques, special methods of communication by electronic and other technology, as well as special organizational and administrative arrangements." Moore, M. G. & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education: A systems view. Washington: Wadsworth Publishing UAA Ideas from Overview to the Best Practices (From one of the accrediting bodies, can t find cite at the moment. Document in zip file.) (Perkins comment. This is good document, but refers to programs, for the most part, rather than courses.) These Best Practices are divided into five separate components, each of which addresses a particular area of institutional activity relevant to electronically offered degree and certificate programs. They are: 1. Institutional Context and Commitment 2. Curriculum and Instruction 3. Faculty Support 4. Student Support 5. Evaluation and Assessment Each component begins with a general statement followed by individual numbered paragraphs addressing specific matters describing those elements essential to quality distance education programming. These in turn are followed by protocols in the form of questions designed to assist in determining the existence of those elements when reviewing either internally or externally distance education activities. BP General Process (Perkins notes) 7

8 Quality process must consider the suppliers, the entire process scope, and the customers. At best, the quality team should contain members from the suppliers, customers and each step of the process scope. The initial requirements are obvious, but the need for feedback is not always. Total Quality Management in Education Who is the Customer? In Appendix A there is a acerbic treatment of the concept of customer in education, cut from a very negative document about TQM in education by the NEA. It s important to realize that some of the notions about customers and product in education are different than customers for pickup trucks. I disagree with their thesis that because customers and product are difficult at times to define in education it is useless to try to evaluate the quality or utilize TQM methods. I do agree with them that some caution is needed. General notes from the November 2d, CDE Meeting: Expectations of students and instructors in distance ed courses have to be raised. Who s doing the QA? Ask faculty for their thoughts and concerns on quality assurance for course design Market a unified "Distance Education" program in which all courses have earned a great reputation and students and advisors wouldn't hesitate to enroll in any that are listed in the "Distance Ed Schedule." Draft statewide DE quality guidelines Quality Team and Responsibility Matrix Quality Team: UA Administration Department and its faculty Instructor Developer (if different than instructor) 8

9 Campus staff Remote staff Student Center for Distance Education Others? Mode Specific Issues? 9

10 Process Step in Education Delivery Classroom Determine Education Need (Market) No Distance? Yes Initial faculty training. Prepare new course. Deliver. Review Ongoing training. Modify/ Upgrade Yes Keeper? No 1. The need for a new course (or program) is evaluated, including the number of potential students and their demographics. 2. A decision is made about the benefit of offering the class via distance. 3..A new course is prepared by the instructor. 4..The course is delivered. 5. The course is reviewed or evaluated. 6. A decision is made if the course should be offered in the future. 7..If the course is suitable for future offerings, it is modified or upgraded as needed. 8. Faculty training. 10

11 Quality issues at each step. 1. The need for a new course (or program) is evaluated, including the number of potential students and their demographics. Who makes this determination? How is it made? Quality Issue. If the need is misjudged, resources may be wasted. Courses may be altered on the fly to meet a changed need. How does this need fit the UA system, MAU system and department?[perkins] Kenai Notes Ensure that GER level courses are not relegated to DE (or all-adjunct delivery). Upperlevel courses are good candidates for DE to rural campuses. CDE notes With all development of courses, it should support the reputation that distance courses are challenging, meaningful and a top-notch way to earn an education. Examine the issue of tech support for faculty and students Look at ADETC's (Alaska Distance Education TEchnology Consortium) guidelines developed for acceptance of dist ed courses accessible through a Digital Comme [? Glitch on web] [From 2 Nov CDE meeting] 2. A decision is made about the benefit of offering the class via distance. What support is needed? Appropriate mode. Needed hardware and support on-campus same at remote location. How does this comport with the likely course content, i.e., music appreciation versus chemistry. Can it be done? Can the staff we propose do it? With the resources we have? And who decides all this? [Perkins] Kenai notes Providing time and compensation to prepare Interactive Video and DE classes All materials prepared belong to the instructor and the University cannot use these materials to conduct other classes Adequate assistance must be in place to support IT and other tech devises Level of workload must reflect level of work invested in preparation of DE courses, including the unique issues involved in delivery (learning to use tech, etc.) Support by course design specialists in order to ensure quality of delivery as well as quality of content DE offerings are voluntary Course design work must be undertaken for the Interactive Video-type courses (too many issues touching on effective delivery and pedagogy are unresolved), especially with respect to student interpersonal skills and critical thinking exercises 11

12 CDE Notes Develop guidelines on appropriate uses of different technologies Test delivery tools for distance courses across all the connectivity levels in Alaska from dial up to broadband Provide instructional design support. May need to hire more ID. Only hire instructors who are extremely dedicated. Distance courses often allow instructors to be lazy. Ex. willing to give each student in his/her course individual feedback on work each week. Inventory connectivity across the state--involve GCI and AT&T UAA Standards for Institutional Support Services The institution shall provide faculty and students access to reliable and appropriate technologies for carrying out the instructional goals of distance education courses (this includes a stable, password-protected learning platform for e-learning). The institution shall provide faculty and students appropriate levels of training and/or training materials related to the use of distance education technologies. The institution shall provide and/or administer a pre-course assessment form that asks students to indicate their preparedness for taking a distance education course (preparedness in terms of skills, access to required technologies, and learning styles). The institution shall provide distance education faculty and students access to a centralized technical support center that will provide timely assistance on technology questions and problems. The institution shall provide a course coding system that will allow instructors and departments to flag specific courses as distance-delivered courses in published course schedule offerings. The institution shall provide distance education faculty and students electronic access to library services, materials, and resources. The institution shall ensure that distance education students have adequate access to the following key administrative and support services: enrollment services, financial aid services, book store services, advising and counseling services, and disability support services. The institution shall provide students with timely information on the technical equipment and skills required for success in the different kinds of distance education courses offered at UAA. This includes information on how to log in to the university s primary course management system (e.g., Blackboard). The institution shall provide a centralized organization/department that is responsible for coordinating, implementing, and overseeing the major support services applicable to distance education students and faculty. 12

13 UAA distance education faculty shall have convenient (and free) access to centralized distance education course delivery services such as homework collection, materials duplication and distribution, exam proctoring, content digitization, etc. UAA faculty shall receive assistance in researching and interpreting current copyright law on the use of published and non-published instructional materials. UAA faculty shall receive assistance from library personnel in obtaining and organizing online and print library resources. UAA Best Practices Notes What is the evidence that the program is consistent with the role and mission of the institution including its goals with regard to student access? Is the institution fulfilling its stated role as it offers the program to students at a distance, or is the role being changed? Does the program represent a change to the institution s stated mission and objectives? Does the program take the college or university beyond its institutional boundaries, e.g., students to be served, geographic service area, locus of instruction, curriculum to be offered, or comparable formally stated definitions of institutional purpose? Is the change truly significant? How is the student assured that the program will be sustained long enough for the cohort to complete it? How are electronically offered programs included in the institution s overall budget structure? What are the institution s policies concerning the establishment, organization, funding, and management of electronically offered programs? Do they reflect ongoing commitment to such programs? (See also item 1e below.) 3..A new course is prepared by the instructor. The CDE Course Design Rubric provides a checklist of course design features and a rating method. It belongs here, in the preparation section and again in the evaluation section. Notes from 3 Nov CDE meeting Have minimum set of standards (participation, tests, interaction, etc) for students to follow when taking distance course. Have a minimum set of standards for instructors to follow when teaching a distance course. TVC Notes Has the instructor done this before, successfully, in the classroom? How about on-line? What help is needed: technical support, content support, creative support. Many mode-specific issues. Courses should meet ADA compliance criteria. Instructors are ethically bound to make course materials accessible to students who have disabilities, including visual and audio 13

14 limitations. Accommodations also need to be made for students who need additional time or need to repeat either reading course material or audio portion. TVC All web courses must have weekly lectures that are the equivalent of what an instructor would present in the classroom. They must contain the lectures printed at the bottom of each slide in Speaker s Notes. Each slide should also be accompanied by the audio lecture portion which should clearly explain the material. While it would not be acceptable for an instructor to stand in front of a class and silently click through PowerPoint slides, the same applies to lectures for web-based courses. Upon evaluation of the PowerPoint lectures by faculty, it should be obvious that the PowerPoint lectures are the equivalent of what would be expected in the classroom. TVC {Could fit in 1 or 2.} If an instructor who is developing a course finds that upon research a publisher has provided significant and meaningful multimedia material for use, then the instructor is obligated to inform the department chair that the lectures and other materials have already been developed. If the publisher provides a moderate amount of material, but the instructor can demonstrate that a significant amount of material still needs to be developed, this is permissible. It is expected, however that the instructor show that the number of hours committed to the development of the course is significant and clearly justifies payment. Taking materials that have already been provided by the publisher, even if this is noted by the instructor, is not acceptable in justifying payment for developing a course. This is not considered developing a course. At this point the instructor can be paid for the time it took to research and find the multimedia materials.tvc Course CDs should be mailed to students before the class starts each semester unless the student registers for the course after the start date. It is permissible for late start students to receive their CDs after their registration. TVC From UAA UAA faculty shall have access to instructional design support services (i.e., a course development team) to ensure the sound planning and approved quality of distance education courses. UAA faculty shall have access to instructional design support services (i.e., a course development team) to ensure the sound planning and approved quality of distance education courses. UAA faculty shall carefully assess and review third party courseware (e.g, publishers course cartridges, telecourse tapes, etc.) before integrating such content into a given course. UAA faculty shall ensure that course content is accessible to students with disabilities when and where appropriate. This may include presenting material in alternative formats, such as printable text files. UAA 14

15 4..The course is delivered. MAU items: registration, fees, library, Blackboard, , student number, etc. Ongoing issues with student. Are these instructor matters, technical matters on-campus or onlocation. Content and instruction matters same a classroom vs. different than classroom. Many mode-specific issues.[perkins] CDE notes Gather and publish best practices for course delivery TVC notes Instructors must grade students course work and then respond to each student regarding the quality of that work on a weekly basis. This correspondence must be done in writing, by and must be specific to each student s individual work each week. TVC Instructors must respond to students within 24 hours. The exception to this is if the is received during a Saturday or Sunday, in which case, a response by Monday morning is acceptable. Instructors who teach web courses are also obligated to maintain this timeline for correspondence even if traveling. It is the instructor s responsibility to seek out internet access even while away from the office whether for business or personal travel during the semester.tvc UAA notes UAA students shall be made aware of the major technologies used in the course before the start of the course. UAA students shall be made aware of the minimum technical equipment and skill requirements of the course before the start of the course. UAA students shall be made aware of all required synchronous (i.e., real time ) activities as well as their dates and times with as much advanced notice as possible (preferably two weeks before the event date). UAA students shall be granted frequent (and free) access to technical help desk services for the duration of the course. UAA students shall have a defined means of voicing grievances about courses to appropriate departments and deans. UAA students shall have adequate access to enrollment services, financial aid services, book store services, advising and counseling services, disability support services, and library services. UAA students shall be provided access to training materials related to the course technologies when and where appropriate. 15

16 The institution shall ensure that distance education students have adequate access to the following key administrative and support services: enrollment services, financial aid services, book store services, advising and counseling services, and disability support services. The institution shall provide students with timely information on the technical equipment and skills required for success in the different kinds of distance education courses offered at UAA. This includes information on how to log in to the university s primary course management system (e.g., Blackboard). The institution shall provide a centralized organization/department that is responsible for coordinating, implementing, and overseeing the major support services applicable to distance education students and faculty. UAA students shall be made aware of the major technologies used in the course before the start of the course. UAA students shall be made aware of the minimum technical equipment and skill requirements of the course before the start of the course. UAA students shall be provided with a comprehensive course syllabus by the first day of the start of the course (note: if required textbook information is only available to the student through the course syllabus, then this document should be distributed to students in advance of the course start date). UAA students shall be made aware of all required synchronous (i.e., real time ) activities as well as their dates and times with as much advanced notice as possible (preferably two weeks before the event date). UAA students shall be granted frequent (and free) access to technical help desk services for the duration of the course. UAA students shall have a defined means of voicing grievances about courses to appropriate departments and deans. UAA students shall have adequate access to enrollment services, financial aid services, book store services, advising and counseling services, disability support services, and library services. UAA students shall be provided access to training materials related to the course technologies when and where appropriate. UAA faculty shall assume full responsibility for the oversight and quality of distance education courses; this includes full responsibility for the selection and design of course content, course activities, and course assessments; the selection and use of appropriate course technologies; the facilitation of course activities and course interactions; the evaluation of course assignments and tests; etc. UAA faculty shall ensure that the major tasks and learning outcomes of a given distance education course are comparable to the major tasks and learning outcomes of the course s face-to-face counterpart. 16

17 UAA faculty shall ensure that all course materials, course requirements, course links, course policies, etc. are revised and up to date by the first day of the start of the course. UAA faculty shall ensure that distance education students have access to a copy of the course syllabus by the first day of the start of the course (note: if syllabus content is needed before the start of the course, then it shall be provided at an earlier time as the instructor sees fit). In addition to standard items such as course objectives and course grading protocols, the syllabus should contain information particularly relevant to distance education, such as course access information course format and pacing course technologies course equipment requirements technical skill requirements book purchasing information IT Call Center information library access information required synchronous activities assignment submission instructions, etc. (For more information, please view a copy of the CAS Distance Education Course Syllabus Template at the following address: UAA faculty shall give distance education students at least two reliable methods of contacting the course instructor throughout the semester (e.g., , discussion board, telephone, in-person meeting, online chat room, etc.). UAA faculty shall respond to student questions and inquiries within a timely manner (preferably within two working days). UAA faculty shall provide useful and corrective feedback on assignments, tests, papers, and activities in a timely manner (preferably within seven working days). UAA faculty shall build mechanisms into their distance education courses that foster student-to-student interactions as well as student-to-instructor interactions. UAA faculty shall adopt teaching strategies and course design strategies that verify a given student s work as his/her own. UAA faculty shall attempt to address different learning styles in the design and development of course materials and activities. UAA faculty shall assess student learning through multiple means rather than relying solely on the use of standardized tests. 17

18 UAA faculty shall provide students with advanced notice of required synchronous activities. UAA faculty shall ensure that borrowed print and electronic materials are used in accordance with current copyright law. UAA students shall take the initiative to learn about the technical equipment and technical skill requirements for the course in advance of the course start date. UAA students shall be advised to complete a university-sponsored pre-course assessment form in which they are asked to indicate their preparedness for taking a distance education course (preparedness in terms of skills, access to required technologies, and learning styles). UAA students shall be advised that an instructor may drop a student from a course if he/she is unable to demonstrate the necessary technical skills for the class. UAA students shall adhere to the UAA Student Code of Conduct. UAA students shall use their UAA account for the duration of the distance education course and shall be responsible for checking it on a frequent basis (preferably every two working days). UAA students shall respond to instructor-initiated s and inquiries within a timely manner (preferably within two working days). UAA students shall demonstrate participation in a given distance education course within the first three weeks of the class or become immediately eligible for an instructor-initiated drop/withdrawal (note: some instructors may make exceptions to this policy for self-paced courses and other courses with alternative formats). UAA students shall be advised that frequent participation in a distance education course (e.g., completing assignments, responding to s, posting messages, accessing course content, taking course exams, etc.) is a requirement for most classes. Therefore, failure to participate in a course for three weeks in a row will make a student eligible for an instructor-initiated drop/withdraw (note: some instructors may make exceptions to this policy for self-paced courses and other courses with alternative formats). 5. The course is reviewed or evaluated. How? By who? How is data cycled back to instructor? Are we assessing the students, the instructor, or the distance method? Are we assessing student satisfaction versus student learning? 18

19 The CDE Course Design Rubric provides a checklist of course design features and a rating method. Kenai Notes Special evaluation instruments must be developed to assess faculty and student success in DE courses CDE Notes Tie the suggestions for course quality measures to student outcomes Assess from the students' perspective the utility of distance leaning programs in which they have participated Guidelines and Course Content Guidelines for the various "like" courses Find way to receive more in depth evaluations from students on instructors already teaching distance. Examine the issue of tech support for faculty and students TVC Notes AIS evaluations must be administered online through a Blackboard link and set up through Hild Peters at The return rate for AIS forms through the mail is very low and does not provide an effective assessment of an instructor s online teaching effectiveness. Instructors are responsible for providing her office with their course information to include course name, CRN, student names and ID numbers. TVC UAA notes UAA faculty shall assess distance education courses through formal means (e.g, peer review, student review, departmental review, etc.) to ensure that appropriate learning outcomes are being met. UAA students shall take the time to complete and submit the university-sponsored course evaluation form made available to them at the end of the semester. UAA 6. A decision is made if the course should be offered in the future. Who decides? Criteria? CDE Notes What are the expectations for distance teaching faculty? 7..If the course is suitable for future offerings, it is modified or upgraded as needed. Can the instructor fix it? Content sure. How about technical issues or demographics? How are more resources found? 19

20 CDE Notes Approach to enrolling and taking courses should feel integrated to the student. With the University of Phoenix, after students take their first class, they no longer have to navigate through the unknown of what's expected for each course. They spend their time learning the material, not learning new technology, where to get the book, whether or not they have to meet deadlines, etc. 8. Training Kenai Notes Offer a certification for DE instructors who have attained certain levels of training, etc. Training of faculty choosing to offer DE must be a high priority (along with course design professionals) CDE Notes Distance seminar for best practices in distance ed Collect best practices from practicing faculty Create a mechanism for sharing and receiving best practices between faculty Create a task force to examine and develop recommendations for enhancing technological capabilities UAA notes UAA faculty shall have access to training workshops and mentoring opportunities that will assist faculty in learning how to teach at a distance and how to translate face-toface courses for distance delivery. UAA faculty shall be provided with incentives to participate in distance education course development training opportunities and technical training opportunities offered by the institution. UAA faculty shall be provided appropriate and reasonable access to new technologies and technical equipment for use in distance education instruction. UAA faculty shall be granted convenient (and free) access to technical help desk services. 20

21 References Distance Education Online Symposium Works Consulted [From UAA Notes] American Federation of Teachers (2000). "Distance Education: Guidelines for Good Practice." Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs. Institute for Higher Education Policy (2000). "Quality on the Line: Benchmarks for Success in Internet-Based Distance Education." North Central Association Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (2000). "Guidelines for Distance Education." Oregon State University (2002). "Course Quality Standards." University of Wisconsin System (2000)."Distance Ed Standards for Academic and Student Support Services: Guidelines for Distance Education Credit Program Array and Approval." UAA 21

22 Notes on the concept of customer in education by the National Education Association, cut from: 9. Note on Customers, from NEA opinion Beware! TQM is Coming To Your Campus By Mike Parker and Jane Slaughter All TQM programs insist that the focus of activities must be on the customer. But, even in manufacturing, determining who the customer is turns out to be much more difficult than it appears. In higher education, the question always generates intense debate: Is the customer the student? The parents? The taxpayers, the academic community, businesses that will hire the graduates, graduate schools, the local community, the national public interest, the international public interest, truth, knowledge, justice? If the customer is the student, are customer needs what students "think" they need when they apply to college, or what students will discover in later life is really beneficial? Or should student needs be determined by others who already know these things? Are we talking about what students need for their envisioned career, the skills they may need to support themselves, or what they need to be good citizens? Do government and literature courses help a person to be a better engineer? The list of questions grows. The definition of "the customer" is really the pre-tqm question of the goals of education. As most readers will suspect, the debates never come near consensus except to say that higher education has many different customers. Insofar as TQM leads toward identifying the different objectives of education, it provides a valuable service. But TQM is a model that depends on actually establishing customer needs. In theory, TQM cannot progress further without resolving who the customer is. You cannot focus your activities on your customer's needs if you cannot define your customer. You can't gather data on "how we are doing" if you don't know how to weight conflicting evaluations by students, colleagues, future employers, and alumni. Nor can you decide how much time should be allocated to the competing demands of teaching, research, advising students, community service, or keeping up in the field. Some TQM advocates resolve this difficulty by asserting that the student is the customer but someone else must determine what the student needs. Many argue that the model can be simplified by assuming that employers of graduates are the critical customers of higher education; fortuitously, the interests of all other "customers" will turn out to be the same in the long run.(16) In practice, despite TQM's own requirement for clarity on this issue, TQM programs tend to side-step the question. They issue a vague mission statement including everybody as a customer, or they use the device of the "internal customer." Under the "internal customer" paradigm, participants are told to look at the institution as a series of processes. Understand that the person--or process--who receives the results of your activities is your customer. If you work on an assembly line, then your 22

23 customer is the next person on the assembly line, just as you are the customer of the previous worker ("supplier"). You meet the needs of your customers. Similarly, in the academic setting, we flow-chart the process of a student's education. As one educational TQM consultant explains: If you are a 10th grade math teacher, then your customer is the 11th grade math teacher.(17) (Every teacher who has had students with the formal prerequisite courses but without the content can appreciate the important element of truth here.) 23

24 Recommended Quality Standards for UAA Distance Education Courses The following quality standards for distance education are based on national standards broadly agreed upon by a range of national education organizations and universities. The purpose of these recommendations (which are designed to apply to all the UAA campuses) is to ensure that the quality of distance-delivered courses at the University of Alaska Anchorage is acceptably high in terms of instructional delivery, "classroom" experience, and learning outcomes. Keep in mind that the following standards are suggested recommendations. They are not meant to dictate behavior or to limit freedom when it comes to the delivery and instruction of distance education courses. Instead, they are designed to suggest a course of action for strengthening the quality of learning and the quality of experience associated with distance education at UAA. For the purposes of this document, distance education is defined as follows: Distance education is planned learning that normally occurs in a different place from teaching and as a result requires special techniques of course design, special instructional techniques, special methods of communication by electronic and other technology, as well as special organizational and administrative arrangements." Moore, M. G. & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education: A systems view. Washington: Wadsworth Publishing. Standards for Institutional Support Services The institution shall provide faculty and students access to reliable and appropriate technologies for carrying out the instructional goals of distance education courses (this includes a stable, password-protected learning platform for e-learning). The institution shall provide faculty and students appropriate levels of training and/or training materials related to the use of distance education technologies. The institution shall provide and/or administer a pre-course assessment form that asks students to indicate their preparedness for taking a distance education course (preparedness in terms of skills, access to required technologies, and learning styles). The institution shall provide distance education faculty and students access to a centralized technical support center that will provide timely assistance on technology questions and problems. The institution shall provide a course coding system that will allow instructors and departments to flag specific courses as distance-delivered courses in published course schedule offerings. The institution shall provide distance education faculty and students electronic access to library services, materials, and resources. 24

25 The institution shall ensure that distance education students have adequate access to the following key administrative and support services: enrollment services, financial aid services, book store services, advising and counseling services, and disability support services. The institution shall provide students with timely information on the technical equipment and skills required for success in the different kinds of distance education courses offered at UAA. This includes information on how to log in to the university s primary course management system (e.g., Blackboard). The institution shall provide a centralized organization/department that is responsible for coordinating, implementing, and overseeing the major support services applicable to distance education students and faculty. Standards for Student Support Services UAA students shall be made aware of the major technologies used in the course before the start of the course. UAA students shall be made aware of the minimum technical equipment and skill requirements of the course before the start of the course. UAA students shall be provided with a comprehensive course syllabus by the first day of the start of the course (note: if required textbook information is only available to the student through the course syllabus, then this document should be distributed to students in advance of the course start date). UAA students shall be made aware of all required synchronous (i.e., real time ) activities as well as their dates and times with as much advanced notice as possible (preferably two weeks before the event date). UAA students shall be granted frequent (and free) access to technical help desk services for the duration of the course. UAA students shall have a defined means of voicing grievances about courses to appropriate departments and deans. UAA students shall have adequate access to enrollment services, financial aid services, book store services, advising and counseling services, disability support services, and library services. UAA students shall be provided access to training materials related to the course technologies when and where appropriate. 25

26 Standards for Faculty Support Services UAA faculty shall have access to instructional design support services (i.e., a course development team) to ensure the sound planning and approved quality of distance education courses. UAA faculty shall have access to training workshops and mentoring opportunities that will assist faculty in learning how to teach at a distance and how to translate face-to-face courses for distance delivery. UAA faculty shall be provided with incentives to participate in distance education course development training opportunities and technical training opportunities offered by the institution. UAA faculty shall be provided appropriate and reasonable access to new technologies and technical equipment for use in distance education instruction. UAA faculty shall be granted convenient (and free) access to technical help desk services. UAA distance education faculty shall have convenient (and free) access to centralized distance education course delivery services such as homework collection, materials duplication and distribution, exam proctoring, content digitization, etc. UAA faculty shall receive assistance in researching and interpreting current copyright law on the use of published and non-published instructional materials. UAA faculty shall receive assistance from library personnel in obtaining and organizing online and print library resources. Standards for Course Content & Course Delivery UAA faculty shall assume full responsibility for the oversight and quality of distance education courses; this includes full responsibility for the selection and design of course content, course activities, and course assessments; the selection and use of appropriate course technologies; the facilitation of course activities and course interactions; the evaluation of course assignments and tests; etc. UAA faculty shall ensure that the major tasks and learning outcomes of a given distance education course are comparable to the major tasks and learning outcomes of the course s face-to-face counterpart. UAA faculty shall ensure that all course materials, course requirements, course links, course policies, etc. are revised and up to date by the first day of the start of the course. UAA faculty shall ensure that distance education students have access to a copy of the course syllabus by the first day of the start of the course (note: if syllabus content is needed 26

27 before the start of the course, then it shall be provided at an earlier time as the instructor sees fit). In addition to standard items such as course objectives and course grading protocols, the syllabus should contain information particularly relevant to distance education, such as course access information course format and pacing course technologies course equipment requirements technical skill requirements book purchasing information IT Call Center information library access information required synchronous activities assignment submission instructions, etc. (For more information, please view a copy of the CAS Distance Education Course Syllabus Template at the following address: UAA faculty shall give distance education students at least two reliable methods of contacting the course instructor throughout the semester (e.g., , discussion board, telephone, in-person meeting, online chat room, etc.). UAA faculty shall respond to student questions and inquiries within a timely manner (preferably within two working days). UAA faculty shall provide useful and corrective feedback on assignments, tests, papers, and activities in a timely manner (preferably within seven working days). UAA faculty shall build mechanisms into their distance education courses that foster student-to-student interactions as well as student-to-instructor interactions. UAA faculty shall adopt teaching strategies and course design strategies that verify a given student s work as his/her own. UAA faculty shall attempt to address different learning styles in the design and development of course materials and activities. UAA faculty shall assess student learning through multiple means rather than relying solely on the use of standardized tests. UAA faculty shall provide students with advanced notice of required synchronous activities. UAA faculty shall ensure that borrowed print and electronic materials are used in accordance with current copyright law. 27

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