HE: Three QA Priorities for 2017-18

QM Higher Ed Members Share Quality Assurance Priorities for 2017-18 Academic Year

With the growth of online education has come a commitment to deliver a quality learning experience for all learners. As institutions prepare for the upcoming school year, they do so with this commitment in mind. But what quality assurance initiatives are at the top of their priority list? And how will they deliver on those initiatives? Here’s what’s on the mind of a few QM Members with whom we spoke:

Student success

Not surprisingly, helping students succeed is the number one priority for all the institutions with whom we spoke.. But while the goal may be the same, the approach varies. Some schools are focusing on increasing the level of interactivity and active student engagement in online courses as a pathway to student success. While others are focused on professional development for faculty.

Our primary focus this year is building capacity and contributing to the University’s culture of quality student engagement through professional development. Improving the student experience with online learning starts with providing Faculty and Instructional Designers access to tools, research, and training in the field of online education.

— David Brodosi, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

If your organization is looking to build capacity for quality assurance in online learning, take a page from the University of South Florida’s book by exploring the tools in MyQM, utilizing the QM Research Library and exploring professional development related to student engagement.

Accessibility

Making courses accessible for all learners is another primary area of focus for many institutions. As Brenda Watkins from Hillsborough Community College (HCC) reports, HCC is “continuing to move towards universal design and full accessibility for all online and hybrid courses.” The focus is also on accessibility at the University of West Florida:

Another very important initiative underway to maximize UWF’s potential to achieve its legal, moral and ethical commitments in the digital environment, the University has recently established an Accessibility Task Force. The task force is charged with developing strategies to effectively manage all aspects of digital accessibility, including additional accessibility resources, support, training, communication and outreach.

— Cindy Mersereau, University of West Florida

To learn more about accessibility and how you can make courses accessible for all learners, participate in one of several QM professional development opportunities related to accessibility including Addressing Accessibility & Usability (Standard 8). For information on creating an accessibility policy, review the QM Accessibility Creation Guidelines.

Course Reviews

Getting courses reviewed either internally or officially remains an important area of focus for all institutions with whom we spoke. Several institutions plan to put 15 or more courses through the official review process in the coming school year. Others are building internal capacity to complete internal reviews prior to going through the official review process.

It has been incredibly helpful to have an internal review process that mirrors the official Quality Matters Peer Review process within our institution. We have found this significantly decreases (if not eliminates) a number of revisions needed upon external peer review and helps administration feel more at ease about the financial investment involved in the external reviews.

— Karla Morris, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg


These are the top three quality assurance priorities among QM Members for the coming school year, but we know there are many more. So, let us know what your organization is focusing on for the coming academic year.