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Course Quality Assurance

Assuring the quality of your courses is critical to the credibility of your students’ success. Whether you are creating your own courses or purchasing them from one of the many commercial vendors, the same standards of quality should apply. As the number of course providers continues to grow, this quality assurance becomes increasingly critical.

iNACOL’s National Standards of Quality for Online Courses provides the current, nationally accepted definition of what makes a quality online course.

To incorporate these standards into your policies, consider the following:

  1. What policies do you already have in place for the creation or purchase of face-to-face courses, and do those need to be modified for online courses?
  2. Will you require training in instructional design for online courses before providing funds to teachers for course development?
  3. What team of people will review the courses prior to launch, and will you require that the team be trained or experienced in working with online courses? iNACOL offers a fee-based independent course review service in which multiple experienced online educators, with training on evaluating online courses with respect to the iNACOL course quality standards review and provide feedback on the courses. For more information contact iNACOL.
  4. Do the iNACOL standards need to be modified to fit your particular situation? If so, who will be responsible for those modifications?
  5. When reviewing courses from commercial vendors, will you review each course separately or will you review a sampling from each subject area?

Once quality of the courses is established, policies should indicate that online courses enjoy complete parity with face-to-face courses. Courses should be accessible to all students just as your face-to-face courses are. Students completing online courses should earn the same credit, be awarded the same grade (and weighting, if your program weights grades) and have the same opportunities for participating in advanced coursework.