Quality Assurance in E-Learning

Quality Assurance in E-Learning

Stacey McCroskey (Online Adjunct Professor, USA), Jamison V. Kovach (University of Houston, USA), Xin David Ding (Xin (David) DingUniversity of Houston, USA), Susan Miertschin (University of Houston, USA) and Sharon Lund O’Neil (University of Houston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-615-2.ch010
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Quality is a subjective concept, and as such, there are many criteria for assuring quality, including assessment practices based on industry standards and accreditation requirements. Most assessments, including quality assurance in e-learning, frequently occur at three levels: individual course assessments, department or program assessments, and institutional assessments; frequently these levels cannot be distinctly delineated. While student evaluations are usually included within these frameworks, student views are but one variable in the quality assessment equation. To offer some plausible perspectives of how students view quality, this chapter will provide an overview of quality assurance for online learning from the course, program, and institutional viewpoints as well as review some of the key research related to students’ assessment of what constitutes quality in online courses.
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Continuous Quality Improvement

Continuous quality improvement (CQI) in higher education, which began in the early 1990s, is based on the principles and practices of Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM has been widely used in the business community as a strategy to motivate the constant improvement of work processes to exceed customers’ expectations (Dean & Bowen, 1994). Within higher education, TQM has often been successfully applied to administrative operations (Montano & Utter, 1999). CQI, however, is the preferred term when referring to improving the design and administration of academic programs or courses because it emphasizes traditions with which scholars are already familiar – constantly striving for a higher goal (i.e., to seek out and implement best practices including new learning modalities, teaching methods, facilitation strategies, etc.).

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