Embedding Quality Assurance in Online Course Design (An African Perspective)
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Embedding Quality Assurance in Online Course Design (An African Perspective)



Presented at eLearning Africa, May 31 2013, Windhoek, Namibia

Presented at eLearning Africa, May 31 2013, Windhoek, Namibia



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  • The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) Educational Technology Initiative (ETI) supported the use of educational technology at seven sub-Saharan African universities over 4 years. This included 11 projects involving mounting of online/blended courses.
  • Quality Assurance aims to promote effective teaching and learning that results in the construction of appropriate knowledge and skills Star is what we focussed onTo ensure high quality output, a thorough quality improvement process was initiated as part of this process
  • As part of the quality assurance and capacity building aspects of the project, courses went through a review process to ensure high quality deliverables.
  • Workshops co-facilitated by internal institutional project support team (where possible)
  • Group review - facilitated by external project support team, encouraged to conduct self-reflection on courses under development
  • 28 criteria across 4 areas using a rating scale together with commentsSome explanation of our 3 worksheet approach: a) course info and how to accessb) Criteria to be rated and specific commentsc) Summary page identifying areas for improvement etc for each categoryNote: did not include accessibility in criteria
  • Purpose: provide feedback to course developers with an objective assessment of strengths and weaknessesExternal reviewer reports also included specific recommendations for improvement for each course reviewed.
  • The project team provided support to course developers in implementing recommendations from external reviewers
  • Purpose: assess the efficacy of the review process
  • Course Developers – via survey monkey - structuredReviewers – via email feedback – unstructured?
  • Course Developers – via survey monkey - structuredReviewers – via email feedback – unstructured?
  • BM: Have made a few additions

Embedding Quality Assurance in Online Course Design (An African Perspective) Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Embedding Quality Assurance inOnline Courses at AfricanUniversitiesGreig Krull, Brenda Mallinson and Ephraim Mhlanga31 May 2013Windhoek
  • 2. OutlineProject BackgroundQuality Assurance ProcessesSuccesses and ChallengesOutcomesReflection and Discussion
  • 3. PHEA ETIProject BackgroundVision is “to support interventions in universities to makeincreasingly effective use of educational technology to addresssome of the underlying educational challenges facing the highereducational sector in Africa”Specific objective relevant for this presentation:• Build academic capacity in quality online course design anddelivery through use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)for mounting over 140 online / blended courses
  • 4. 7 participating sub-Saharan Africa HEIsCatholicUniversity ofMozambiqueUniversity of Dar esSalaam (Tanzania)Kenyatta University(Kenya)University of Jos(Nigeria)University ofEducationWinneba (Ghana)University ofIbadan (Nigeria)MakerereUniversity(Uganda)
  • 5. Motivation• Universities have defined policies and procedures to ensurethe quality of traditional courses…• However, when academics start to convert existing courses foronline delivery, quality assurance is often an afterthought• To ensure high quality output, a thorough qualityimprovement process was initiated1. Online/Blended Course Quality Improvement Process2. Institutional Quality Assurance Systems and Processes
  • 6. Quality Assurance and Capacity BuildingProcess for Course Development1CourseDesign2InternalReview3ExternalReviewPreparation4ExternalReview5CourseRevision6ReviewExternalEvaluation
  • 7. Step 1: Course Design & Development• Academics identified courses for online/blended design• Participated in capacity building workshops– Effective online course design and development– VLE functionality (Moodle)– Facilitated by external project support team• Developed their courses between workshops
  • 8. Step 2: Internal Peer Review• Undertook peer review of course development progresswithin project groups• Revised courses taking initial peer review into account• Where relevant, make use of subject matter experts forcontent review• Received continued support from internal institutional team
  • 9. Step 3: External Review PreparationEvaluate ReviewInstrumentUpdate ReviewInstrumentCreate ReviewRegisterIdentify ExternalReviewersDevelop ReviewInstrumentIdentify Coursesfor ReviewDistributeReviewInstrumentSelf Review ofCoursesEvaluate ReviewInstrumentIdentify Coursesfor ReviewStep 4Step 2
  • 10. External Review Instrument Sample28 criteria in 4 areas: Course Design, Activities, Assessment, TechnologyReview instrument informed by:– Quality Matters (QM) Rubric Standards https://www.qualitymatters.org/rubric– Essential Quality standards (EQS) http://www.ecampusalberta.ca– OCEP http://www.montereyinstitute.org/ocep/– OPEN ECB Check http://ecbcheck.efquel.org/CCriterion Elements 0 1 2 3 Comments25 Wherever possible, a range of technologies like forums, chats, wikis and blogs etc are used tosupport learning and these technologies are appropriate for the pedagogical approach chosen26 There are suitable multimedia objects (like illustrations, video clips, PowerPoint slides,animations and simulations) to facilitate understanding of the content27 There is seamless integration of the different multimedia elements in the course.28 Internal and external hyperlinks are provided and they are always activeTechnology: The technology used in teaching and learning is appropriate, up to date and readily accessible to students and staff. The typeof technology used is guided by the pedagogical approach of the provider.
  • 11. Step 4: External ReviewSend CourseAccess DetailsAuthenticateand BatchCoursesConduct 136Course ReviewsMediateFeedbackInterpretFeedbackAllocateCourses toReviewersUnderstandFeedbackStep 3 Step 5
  • 12. Step 5: Course RevisionCheck Progresson Site VisitsUpdate CoursesSupportChangesStep 4Step 6
  • 13. Step 6: Review ValidationSelect Samplefor 2nd ReviewReviewUpdatedCoursesRefined ReviewInstrumentSend 2ndReviewFeedbackReviewUsefulnessSurveyShort ReviewerReportsRecommendationsReportConsolidateFindingsReviewUsefulnessSurveyStep 5
  • 14. Successes ExperiencedCourse Developers(30 responses)Reviewers(8 responses)• 94% thought the categoriesused in the review madesense• 83% thought that externalreview process helped toimprove the quality of theironline courses• Some comments that thereviews validated theirapproach taken• Basic elements are present – agood start for 1st time developers• Design with the affordances of themedium in mind• Online teaching approachemphasised• Good use of visual aids• Online activities provided for• Course front matter clearlyindicated
  • 15. Challenges ExperiencedCourse Developers(30 responses)Reviewers(8 responses)• 39% did NOT see the reviewcriteria PRIOR to submittingtheir courses for externalreview• 33% did not have the criteriasufficiently explained by theinternal support team• Some reports of the reviewfeedback not being passed onto the developers• Insufficient time to addressthe feedback• Some plagiarism & broken links• Lack of uniformity• Learners need help with findingtheir way• Insufficient student engagementprovided for (including lack ofevaluation)• Insufficient reflective pauses &time indicators• Finish as strongly as you began
  • 16. Outcomes• Share set of recommendations for formative and summativequality improvement• Support enhancement of institutional quality assurancesystems where we were able to engage with the QA UnitInstitutional• Proportion of courses or parts thereof to be made available asOpen Educational Resources (OER) to be shared with otherinstitutions• Evaluation instrument used in the review available from Saidewebsite as OER for any course developers to use or adaptProject
  • 17. Reflection• How do you ensure quality in your own courses andmaterials?• How can you develop or enhance quality assuranceprocesses at your institution?
  • 18. Thank YouGreig Krull and Brenda Mallinsongreigk@saide.org.za / brendam@saide.org.zaThis work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.