Building Quality Online Courses: Online Course Development Partnership and Model

Building Quality Online Courses: Online Course Development Partnership and Model

Veronica Outlaw (University of South Carolina – Aiken, USA), Margaret L. Rice (The University of Alabama, USA) and Vivian H. Wright (The University of Alabama, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0877-9.ch015
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Abstract

The authors have personally experienced the burdens of creating online courses without the assistance of trained instructional designers. Many faculty are employed in conditions where they develop online courses without the proper knowledge and training of many essential aspects that should accompany the development of an online course (e.g., design, development, learning styles, copyright, design principles, accessibility, incorporating technology, and technical skills) (Singleton et al., 2013; Speck, 2000; Wickersham et al., 2007). The authors propose and describe the use of a detailed online course development and delivery model (Outlaw & Rice, 2015) that was created to provide distance education units with a systematic approach to course development. The proposed model nourishes the partnerships between faculty and designers to improve the quality of online courses, while providing the support faculty need to successfully create online courses. The authors discuss a model that provides consistency in efforts to create efficient workflows to develop online courses.
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Background

Why should stakeholders be concerned about the quality of online courses? The quality of online courses could have a significant impact on student satisfaction, retention, and success (Herbert, 2006; Heyman, 2010; Palloff & Pratt, 2011; Voigt & Hundrieser, 2008). According to Allen and Seaman (2013), even though online enrollments are increasing rapidly, there are still concerns with various barriers impeding the institution's long-term strategy for growth (e.g., lack of faculty acceptance, student discipline, and retention rates). Likewise, Sampson et al. (2010) listed additional barriers as: a) building relationships with students; b) poor faculty-student and student-student interactions; and 3) quality of content, delivery, and web-based instructions.

With enrollment growths and benefits of distance education, various stakeholders (e.g., administration, faculty, distance learning personnel, trainers, and technical support) should invest in the resources and best practices needed to remain competitive with other colleges and institutions. The aforementioned barriers are more reasons to implement standard protocols to help define and assess what quality means to a particular entity. In this chapter, the authors share their experiences in reviewing research, quality assurance rubrics, best practices, and existing course development models to create a new model for online course development and delivery (Outlaw & Rice, 2015), which incorporated a method to define and achieve quality, as well as measure and assess quality in online programs and courses.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Partnership: One or more individuals who work together to collaborate on the completion of a project (e.g., faculty member and an instructional designer to develop an online course) (Merriam-Webster, 2015 AU70: The citation "Merriam-Webster, 2015" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Stakeholders: Individuals or entities who make investments (e.g., decision makers for distance learning initiatives) (Merriam-Webster, 2015 AU71: The citation "Merriam-Webster, 2015" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Outlaw’s Six-Phase Course Development & Delivery Model: A faculty-designed, instructional technology-developed model created by the author, Outlaw, that uses a systematic approach in using standardized templates, evidence-based best practices, and quality assurance rubrics to: a) create consistent structure in online courses, b) offer efficiency in faculty workflow, c) enhance instructional strategies with the use of technology, d) provide advice on transitioning modalities in course offerings, e) offer vigorous course reviews, f) equip faculty with new pedagogical and technological skills, and g) instill robust skills and experiences for faculty and students ( Outlaw & Rice, 2015 ).

Distance Learning: The method of offering students online and/or blended (hybrid) courses over the Internet (also known as distance education) (Merriam Webster, 2015 AU68: The citation "Merriam Webster, 2015" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Course Development: The process of creating an online course, whether done alone (content expert) or in a partnership with an experienced instructional designer.

Instructional Designer: Educated and trained individuals who engage with subject matter experts in “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning” (Reiser, 2002 AU69: The in-text citation "Reiser, 2002" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , p.1).

Instructional Design: The systematic process of translating principles of learning and instruction into content that is conducive for learning ( Smith & Ragan, 1999 ).

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