Monday, June 22, 2009
Quality Matters.....what exactly does this have to do with online learning?
Every time faculty and administration "freak out" about the quality of online instruction, a good friend and colleague of mine (you know who you are) brings up the point that we should be concerned about quality instruction in all environments-- i.e. online, face2face, and hybrid. I totally agree with her, but today it has become very apparent to me why. I am going through the Quality Matters rubric with the intent of creating workshops to aid faculty with development of their hybrid and online classes. As I am thinking about activities for the workshop, I realize that all of these QM "standards" apply to face2face courses as well. In fact, they are just really focused on good instructional design -- modality aside. At this point, I haven't really found a standard that is exclusive to an online course. Funny that we make such a fuss about online learning when the requirements for a well-developed online course are the same as a face2face course. Expectations for face2face classes should be no different. I guess my point is this, we should be more concerned about the nuances of the online environment that are a shift from face2face. For example, "presence" in an online course is VERY hard to measure. You may be working 24/7 on your online course, however, if you haven't been communicating with your class on a "large scale," it's easy to forget about the students that aren't emailing with constant questions and needing affirmation. What the QM rubric doesn't address is the "teaching" of an online class. I would argue that the "teaching" is the skill that needs to be addressed......assuming that good course design is the same for both environments. Just thoughts.