Distributed Education Quality Assurance Process

Figure 1 Quality Assurance Flowchart

Quality assurance flowchart. See long-text description link provided for content.

Figure 1 long-text description

Model Courses

Definition

A model course is one developed by faculty under contract for the purpose of replicating the model into multiple course sections to be regularly taught by multiple faculty members. Model courses must pass a team review as outlined in Vol State’s Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review. Once there is an approved hybrid or asynchronous model course, sections may be scheduled in either format.

Rationale

Distance education model courses provide a valuable foundation to help faculty efficiently prepare for and deliver excellent teaching in a wide range of courses within their area of expertise. Model courses and the related faculty-developed review process are also important elements of the College’s quality assurance program.

Compensation

Faculty may be contracted to develop a model course for extra compensation when the College determines that a model course is in the best interest of a program. Rates will be determined based on the strength of the course development proposal. Only courses listed in the college catalog will be considered.

Synchronous (virtual), technology-enhanced, and traditional on-ground courses are not qualified to receive development stipends from Distributed Education.

Faculty should follow the steps below if interested in creating a model online or hybrid course for Vol State.

Step 1: Submit a Model Course Proposal

Click the following link to begin a model course development proposal in Dynamic Forms: Model Course Proposal Form.

Proposals must be approved by the academic department chair or program director and the academic division dean. Distributed Education faculty fellows review and recommend to the dean of Academic Support whether the course should be developed as proposed.

Step 2: Sign a Contract and Set up the Model Course

Once approved for development, Distributed Education will:

  • Initiate a contract.
  • Create a development shell in eLearn with the model course template.
  • Enroll the course developer in the model course shell.
  • Archive any old model courses.
  • Assign and enroll a faculty fellow and instructional designer to provide support and consultation to the course developer.
  • Enroll the course developer in required training, if necessary.

Step 3: Create a Work Schedule and Build the Model Course

The following PDF document outlines the typical new course development timeline over a 16-week period. The course developer will establish a project timeline with the instructional designer that works for all parties involved within the parameters of the contract deadline.

Timeline for New Course Development (PDF)

Please note:

  • Failure to meet established deadlines in the contract may result in diminished or no compensation and cancellation of the contract.
  • Failure to meet established course design and accessibility standards may also result in diminished or no compensation and cancellation of the contract.

Step 4: Review, Revise, and Finalize the Project

  1. Near the end of the development cycle, the course developer and the instructional designer will complete Part 1 of the Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design.
  2. Once a course has passed part 1 of the guidelines it will go to a 3-person team review for Part 2 of the guidelines. The review team members will consist of an instructional designer, an online learning faculty fellow, and a subject matter expert. Each team member will independently review the course and all of their review forms will be combined to create a final course review document.
  3. Possible outcomes include the following.
    1. At least two team members believe that the course meets or exceeds all Guidelines and can be offered as-is. Recommendations for improvement may be included but are not mandatory. The course development is complete, and compensation will be issued to close the contract.
    2. At least two team members believe that the course has at least one guideline that needs improvement. Recommendations for improvement will be included. The course developer will be given the opportunity to fix areas marked as needing improvement. After the changes have been made, the online learning faculty fellow will confirm that the updates have been made to the course. The course development is complete, and compensation will be issued to close the contract.

Periodic Review and Redevelopment of an Existing Model Course

 ​​After a model course is initially created and passes review, the academic department and faculty should monitor student success and retention as part of the program review cycle. Additionally, the model course developer should participate in a periodic review of the course in consultation with Distributed Education to determine what improvements need to be made. This “check-up” may be scheduled based on the chair, director, or dean’s recommendation. There is no financial compensation for participating in the consultation. Possible outcomes include the following.

  • Course meets or exceeds Guidelines at this time. No compensation is issued.
  • Course needs minor improvements but sufficiently meets the Guidelines. Distributed Education may suggest recommendations for improvement. No compensation is issued.
  • Course needs major improvements, fails to meet the Guidelines, and should be removed from the schedule until redevelopment can be completed. Distributed Education will suggest recommendations for improvement, and the course may be scheduled for a redevelopment contract. Redevelopments will be considered alongside proposals for new model courses for additional compensation. Resources will be prioritized based on the greatest student impact.

Notes:

  • If a model course does not exist and needs to be developed, the approval process can be followed while the model course is reviewed. See the Approved Courses information below.
  • Individual departments determine whether faculty are required to use a model course; however, all faculty are expected to follow the Guidelines in their individual online and hybrid course sections.
  • Vol State administration, in consultation with division deans, department chairs, program directors, and faculty, will determine which courses will be developed as models.
  • The development of asynchronous courses for delivery via TN eCampus is subject to the policies and procedures of TN eCampus.

Approved Courses

Definition

An approved course is any non-model course developed by faculty that has passed a review using the Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review. Course sections may be scheduled in online or hybrid formats once an approved course has passed its review. See the review process for approved courses below.

Rationale

Academic departments may need to offer an online or hybrid course when a model course is not currently available or needed. If a model course is not available, it is equally important to ensure that all online courses meet the quality and accessibility standards developed by the faculty within the Guidelines.

Compensation

There is no additional compensation for creating an approved course or having a course evaluated.

Faculty should follow the steps below if interested in creating a model online or hybrid course for Vol State.

Step 1: Submit a Request for an Approved Course Review

Click the following link to request a course review for approval: Approved Course Review Request Form.

A faculty member, department chair, program director, or dean submits a course for approval to the Dean of Academic Support using the form linked above.

Step 2: Review Process for Approved Course

An instructional designer and online learning faculty fellow will review the course according to the Guidelines and provide a final, joint assessment of the course and recommendation to the Dean of Academic Support. Possible outcomes include the following.

  1. Course meets or exceeds the Guidelines and can be offered as-is.
  2. Course needs minor improvements but sufficiently meets the Guidelines to be scheduled as is. Recommendations for improvement will be included.
  3. Course needs major improvements and should not be scheduled or offered to students at this time. Recommendations for improvement will be included. Once improvements or corrections are made, the course may be re-evaluated.
  4. The Dean of Academic Support will communicate a decision. The faculty member may appeal the decision to the Dean of Academic Support. If resolution cannot be reached, they may appeal to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Periodic Review and Redevelopment

Once approved, faculty are not required to have their courses re-evaluated but may choose to enlist the support of a faculty fellow or instructional designer as needed for continuous course improvements.

Model Course versus Approved Courses

The following graphic illustrates side-by-side flowcharts comparing the model course and approved course processes described herein.

See article text above for details in this illustration

Glossary

Distance Education

“For the purposes of the SACSCOC’s accreditation review, distance education is a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place (SACSCOC, 2020, p. 2).” The SACSCOC Resource Manual (2018) defines “majority” as 50 percent or more. Therefore, the following model and approved course processes apply when 50% or more of a course is delivered asynchronously.

Asynchronous course

A course in which 100% of a course is delivered online with no required class sessions.

Hybrid course

A course made up of two or more other delivery methods (asynchronous, synchronous/virtual, and on-site). The quality assurance process only applies to hybrid courses consisting of 50% or more asynchronous delivery.

Synchronous (virtual) course

A course that is delivered via web-conferencing such as Zoom and in which class sessions are scheduled; students and faculty are present in the same virtual location at the same time. Synchronous instruction is considered equivalent to traditional on-site, face-to-face instruction; thus, the quality assurance process outlined herein does not apply.

Questions?

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Details

Article ID: 57094
Created
Tue 7/10/18 12:06 PM
Modified
Tue 6/7/22 9:50 AM

Related Articles (2)

Vol State faculty developed the Guidelines for Online & Hybrid Course Design and Review included in this article. The guidelines assure that distance education courses are designed to promote student engagement and success. Therefore, all asynchronous online courses should follow these minimum standards.