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Online Course Review Process

Purpose

The purpose of the Course Review process is to provide a framework for preparing online courses to meet quality standards. The process is grounded in guidelines and recommendations that promote student learning and teaching effectiveness. Course standards are linked to commonly accepted principles of good practice. As such, the process addresses issues of learner support, assessment, interaction, technical support, and ADA compliance. This is a faculty-centered process that respects academic freedom, promotes the quality of online courses, and encourages the continual improvement of existing online offerings.

Process

  1. Courses submitted for review have already been through the governance process.
  2. Courses taught online for the first time require course review. The review process is repeated every three years unless otherwise requested by the School Dean or if the course undergoes significant changes.
  3. The review process is designed to be completed within four weeks, although the process remains flexible to the needs of the College (see Appendix A).
  4. The Instructional Designer manages the review process. This includes: creation of the development shell, review communications and revision.

Rubric

The rubric, based on standards of good practice, represents a checklist for course review and development (see, Operational Processes for Online Learning). Each standard is assigned different points (3, 2, or 1) depending on their relative importance. Note:The Course Review Rubric was developed by Maryland Online. Maryland Online is a statewide consortium of 19 Maryland community colleges and senior institutions. The consortium received a grant from the U.S. Department Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to develop a replicable pathway for inter-institutional quality assurance and course improvements in online learning. SUNY Canton has received permission from Maryland Online to reproduce and use the rubric.

Review Team

  1. The purpose of the Review Teamis to provide recommendations to the School Dean as well as the course developer on the ability of an online course to meet general and specific review standards. Final course approval rests with the appropriate School Dean.
  2. The anonymous Review Teamis made up of two faculty volunteers trained on evaluating online courses.
  3. Members of the Review Team include: three trained teaching faculty, one of which is an instructor in the discipline or related field called a Content Expert Reviewer, and one resource person (Instructional Technologist, non-voting member).

Appendix A: Structure of Review Process

Course Developer
• Submits request for a development shell by filling out Request Form.

• Course is placed in a review cycle based on when it is taught:
– April 1st – summer or fall terms
– November 1st – winter or spring terms

Instructional Designer
• Creates and tracks all Development shells.
• Works with faculty to implement quality courses for review.
• Trains all new reviewers for review each cycle.
• Compiles anonymous review pairs for each course under review.
• Manages the review process within Blackboard Learn to allow access to development shell for review teams.
• Manages all communications pertaining to review process between developers and anonymous review teams.
Dean/ Department Chair
• Initiates finding the Content Expert Reviewer for each course from their department.
Review
• Review team is given a review schedule to follow.
• Reviewers complete online rubric by established deadline.
• Instructional Designer compiles and submits final review report to the Dean.
Review Outcome
• If course meets expectations:
Instructional Designer notified that course meets standards of quality.
• If course does not meet expectations:
Instructional Designer notified that course needs improvements/revisions. Revision Sheetsent to developer.
Instructional design support provided if requested
Course developer makes revisions. Revision Sheet is completed by developer mapping changes.
*Conditional approval may be given if revisions needed are not
Course Approved by Dean
Dean Approval Form sent to Dean.
• Course approval coincides with course demands due dates.

Appendix B: Sample MOUs

Review Team Members

1. Work with assigned team member

Work with the Review Team review course(s) and compile a combined review score. Combined rubric descriptions and scores are sent to the Instructional Designer when completed by designated due date.

2. Observe confidentiality

Communicate only with the members of the team regarding the course being reviewed.

3. Do not copy, change, delete, or add anything

Reviewers must observe copyright laws and respect intellectual property rights of faculty creator of materials.

4. Meet deadlines

Complete the course review by the established due date.

5. Meet with team member to compile notes

Reviewers meet and discuss observations of course. They will combine their findings within one compiled rubric score. Feedback will be given to developer within the rubric.

Content Expert Reviewer

1. Review course for standard IV.1 on the review rubric.

Review the course review standard:

IV.1 Student learning outcomes are in agreement with those established in the course outline on file.

• Fills out the Content Expert Review Form

• Returns form to Instructional Designer

2. Observe confidentiality

Communicates only with the members of the team regarding the course being reviewed.

3. Do not copy, change, delete, or add anything

Team chairs must observe copyright laws and respect intellectual property rights of faculty creator of materials.

4. Meet deadlines

Completes course review by the established due date.

Course Developer

1. Faculty submits request for a development shell by filling out Request Form.

Based on the request, the Instructional Designer creates a shell within Blackboard Learn. ( name of course_Development_0W1_Term of review name of faculty)

• Due date will be provided to the instructor based on the semester the course will be taught. (April 1=summer and fall November 1=winter and spring)

2. Course developer will work within the designated shell to create course materials.

Instructional Designer is available prior to review date to work with faculty to prepare courses.

3. Complete an Instructor’s Worksheet(the instructor’s worksheet provides information about the course that the instructor wishes to share with the review team. For example, instructional materials may not be available at the time of review, but are expected to be part of the course during instruction.)

Sends completed worksheet to Instructional Designer prior to review deadline.

4. Review Scorecard will be emailed to developer from the Instructional Designer. This contains the final score from course review team, along with suggestions for improvement and/or comments. The Review Scorecard will inform the developer if the course:

• Passed the review process

• Did not pass the review process – revisions are necessary before course can be taught online. o In this case, a Revisions Sheetis provided to the instructor showing the revisions the course will need to pass. All changes to the course will be mapped on the Revision Sheetand sent back to the Instructional Designer.

Developer works with Instructional Designer to make sure that all standards are met and revisions are made to the course.

Instructional Designer Role

1. Create development shells for review process

Based on the request, the Instructional Designer creates a shell within Blackboard Learn. ( name of course_Development_0W1_Term of review name of faculty)

Due date will be provided to the instructor based on the semester the course will be taught. (April 1=summer and fall November 1=winter and spring)

2. Instructional designer will track the development shells for the upcoming review cycle. Communicating with developers regarding pedagogy, and working with faculty to design and prepare for review

This is done via office meetings, virtual meetings and training opportunities.

3. Coordinates and gathers all anonymous review teams.

Communication emails are sent regarding volunteerism for the upcoming cycle.

All communications between the developer and the anonymous review team is done through the Instructional Designer.

4. Coordinates and compiles all the review scores provided by the review teams.

A Review Scorecard is compiled and emailed to each developer regarding the status of their course.

If the course does not pass the review process, the Review Scorecard will have a Revision Sheetattached indicating the changes that need to be to the course prior to it passing. The Instructional Designer creates the Revision Sheet based on the feedback of the review team compiled data.

5. Create – Dean Approval Formsand emailed to the appropriate dean for final approval

 

6. The Instructional Designer tracks the outcome of the review process and dean approvals to updates the Approved Online CoursesList

All courses need to meet the review standards and have final approval by the dean of the associated department.

Dean’s Role

1. After course passes the review process, Completes Dean Approval Formindicating determination for the course: approval, conditional approval, or requires revisions.

Instructional Designer sends results of the review electronically to dean