K-12: Quality Assurance Priorities for 2017-18

QM K-12 Members Share Quality Assurance Priorities for 2017-18 School Year

With the growth of online education has come a commitment to deliver a quality learning experience for all learners. As schools and districts 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 demonstrating their online teaching knowledge by pursuing the Quality Matters Teaching Online Certificate. While others are increasing the level of interactivity and active student engagement in online courses as a pathway to student success.

The Designing an Engaging and Active Learning Environment workshop provided instructors with a variety of resources to determine whether the current course design in place is providing materials that are aligned and are consistent with the learning outcomes. In addition, the course incorporated the different cognitive levels for facilitators to expand the delivery to offer more individualized learning and provide learners with activities that will enrich the learning outcomes.
Brenda Hernandez-Asenjo, Nevada Digital Learning Academy

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

Accessibility

Making courses accessible for all learners is another primary area of focus for many districts. The start of the school year is a great time to make sure that your course is accessible for all students who may be enrolled in your online course. Start by looking for places which may need some improvement. We love this checklist from Vox Media, which can help you get closer to your accessibility goals. And if your online course content comes from a publisher, make sure you find out how their course meets accessibility standards.

To learn more about accessibility and how you can make your course accessible for all learners, check out General Standard 8’s Annotations in in your QM K-12 Secondary Rubric workbook. 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 plan to put 15 or more courses through the official review process in the coming school year. Others are putting processes in place to help prepare for course reviews.

“Embracing the Quality Matters review process has led our instructional product development team to revise our course development process. For example, we created a course development template in our learning management system that addresses many of the QM standards. This has led to more consistency across all courses and actually speeds up some parts of the course development process. In addition, we have used the feedback from reviewers to create a “best practices” document for our instructional designers. As a result, we are finding that more and more of our courses are meeting QM standards on the first attempt and fewer courses are entering the amendment phase.”
— Krista R. Tomaselli, Michigan Virtual

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.