Faculty fellow, Carolyn Gentle-Genitty, continues to move the dial on how cohesively IUPUI faculty receive information to aid effective teaching. She has also been examining aspects of compliance and adequate training. I continue my discussion in this blog post.
I have completed the Applying the Quality Matters rubric training and became a certified Quality Matters Peer Reviewer, one of three on the IUPUI campus. I know, first-hand, the knowledge the training offers to novice and expert teachers. Alongside my colleagues from eLearning and Design Services (eDS), we recognize that due to the length of the initial quality matters training (8 hours) and the subsequent peer reviewer training (3 weeks), many faculty shy away from the training. Together the IUPUI QM Lite version was created taking the QM standards and categories and creating eight sets of questions in a one-page document for ease of access and evaluation. (https://iu.box.com/v/QMlite )
QM is an international non-profit organization providing tools and professional development for quality assurance in online and blended learning. A review according to QM, conducted from the student perspective, “is a collegial review process in which reviewers provide feedback on course design in two ways 1) through substantive, constructive, measurable, and specific recommendations with regard to both course strengths and areas for improvement, and 2) by evaluating the extent to which course design meets Specific Review standards” (QM Standards, 2014, p.1). The reviewer examines 43 general standards of which 21 are noted as essential. The rubric evaluates eight factors for alignment across course:
- Course overview and introduction,
- Learning objectives (competencies),
- Assessment and measurement,
- Introduction materials,
- Course activities and learner interaction,
- Course technology,
- Learner support, and
- Accessibility and usability.
The internal document offers a quality assurance checklist. It helps faculty ensure quality online course design – the focus of QM. Outside of design is implementation and interaction. With good course design, from the student perspective, efforts are put forth on monitoring interaction. Federal regulations require distance education courses to demonstrate faculty are engaged in regular and substantive interaction with students. Alongside eDS and IU Office of Online Education, a one-page user-friendly document is in development to reflect minimum expectations for faculty to be compliant. More work to be done and as such a document cannot yet be shared but this version by the School of Social Work offers a glimpse into coming expectations.
Elements of Regular and Substantial Interaction include:
- Interaction initiated by instructor: Faculty presence (flow, sequence, and deadlines)
- Initiation of interaction is regular and frequent: offered where students grow to expect it.
- Interaction is meaningful or of an academic nature: offered to increase learning and support
- Interaction is initiated by academic person meeting accrediting body standards: faculty
This document serves to articulate this unit’s expectations of the presence of these and other elements in all its courses in general and in all distance education courses specifically. Faculty teaching in this unit must adhere to this articulation in their course delivery or may be asked to discontinue teaching the course as presented. It is also important to note that the very nature of IU’s academic term structure imposes at least one final due date.
This unit understands regular and substantive interaction to include, at minimum, the following six traits:
- Interaction initiated by instructor (verify participation and performance)
- Opportunities for frequent questions and answers
- Feedback opportunities on submissions, participation, performance
- Hours of interaction with students not less than that offered in traditional courses
- Interaction in graded discussions, chat rooms, and/or collaboration projects with at least one due date posted
- Offer a best way to contact / Q & A Discussion board (chat room) + email options
Begin to broach this conversation in your units and send any questions or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.