Module 5: Quality Assurance in Blended Learning
The chapter this week is lengthy, but gives a realistic view of the challenges with assuring quality in Blended Learning. When I’m asked what I’m doing to assure quality in eLearning courses on our campus, I ask what we’re doing to assure quality in our face-to-face classes. If quality in instruction is measurable, isn’t it equally important to assure it in our face-to-face classes?
It’s worth clicking the links in the reading to the various quality standards. Many WA CTC schools are promoting Quality Matters, and even requiring QM certification for online courses. I resist mandates like this for several reasons. The first is that I don’t believe eLearning should be singled out for quality control. Fortunately some schools include face-to-face courses in their quality improvement initiatives.
I also don’t want to be stuck in a long-term relationship with any vendor, especially one that modifies standards, which then requires re-certification and renders purchased publications obsolete. And I don’t feel comfortable mandating standards that require a significant amount of training when I don’t have the budget to pay instructors for their time.
Most of the standards, including QM, will give you good ideas about how to design a quality course. I think the important thing is to build your own repertoire of these standards so you’re able to apply them within the context of your own teaching. Prioritize the student learning experience as you design your course. Students should enter the online space and know exactly what’s expected of them and what to do next.
I also worry that a heavy focus on quality design could potentially shift priorities so pedagogy/andragogy suffers. Some of the best courses I’ve experienced wouldn’t pass any quality design standards assessment. And some of the most well-designed courses bomb completely when instructors fail to establish a presence in the course and build relationships with students.
In the LWTech eLearning department, we’re always happy to meet with you one-on-one to learn about your needs and help you design a quality course that works with your teaching and learning practice, without sacrificing the personal characteristics that make your course unique. The benefit to working with us one-on-one, rather than checking things off a list, is that we have deep knowledge and experience with the actual issues that get in the way of student learning. We recognize patterns in support requests, and can help you prevent common issues. We also know success stories across all disciplines and with students who are similar to yours.
- Read and view the module content.
- Complete at least one assignment. The DiY assignment this week includes two documents I’m not requiring for the LWTech project. You are welcome to complete them if you think they will contribute to your learning.
- Optional: Attend the #BlendKit online session projected live at 10:00 AM in E225 on Monday, May 19th, the live synchronous session in E225 or online Tuesday, May 20th at 4:00 PM, the live synchronous session online Friday, May 23rd at 1:00 PM, or the #BlendKit online session projected live at 10:00 AM in E225 on Tuesday, May 27th.
- Recommended: Find time to meet with Jen or Sally for an individual consultation, if you haven’t done so.
- Recommended: Check out the Portfolio assignment in the course to make sure you’re preparing what you need to submit by June 2nd.
If you are unable to meet in person for your one-on-one consultation, we can meet online using Lync.
I have already paid the Portfolio review fee and submitted the names of all our participants. You do not need to pay the fee to submit your Portfolio.