Defining Quality Standards, Guidelines, and Strategies for the Delivery of Successful Online Education in a Changing Society

Defining Quality Standards, Guidelines, and Strategies for the Delivery of Successful Online Education in a Changing Society

Leane Skinner (Auburn University, USA), Maria Martinez Witte (Auburn University, USA) and Elisha Wohleb (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch015


The purpose of this chapter is to provide a framework for defining quality standards, guidelines, and strategies for the delivery of successful online education in a changing society. Online education is one of the most prevalent outcomes of the influence of technology and economic and competitive pressures. Continued growth in the demand for online education has forced many traditional educational institutions to re-evaluate their historically defined quality standards, guidelines, and strategies relating to the delivery of courses and programs. As the trend toward online education continues, it is imperative to have a framework that will provide guidance to educational institutions when designing the successful delivery of online education. Research over the last two decades has provided information that can be used as a foundation for developing a framework for the strategic planning of online education at the state, institutional, program, and course levels.
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Online education is often considered a method of distance education. Distance education is defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (2011) as “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” (p.1).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Styles: A pervasive and enduring pattern of interpersonal behaviors.

Quality Matters (QM): A nonprofit organization started in 2002 to address quality in online courses.

Sense of Community: Focuses on the experience of community.

Constructivism: Constructing one’s own knowledge from one’s own experiences.

Metacognition: Learning how to learn; awareness of one’s own learning or thinking process.

Social Constructivism: A theory proposed by Vygotsky that emphasizes the critical importance of the social context for cognitive development.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC): A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people.

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