To develop a tool which identifies potential issues with an online course we first need to establish what identifiable components combine to create a reasonable online course.
A paper by Herrington et. al titled ‘Quality Guidelines for Online Courses; The development of an instrument to audit online units’ for ASCILITE 2001 states that there are three main areas which best describe the complete online setting. These are:
- Pedagogies, the learning activities which underpin the course or the operationalization of theory. This includes authentic tasks, opportunities for collaboration, learner-centered environments, engagement and meaningful assessment.
- Resources, the content and information which are provided for the learners. This includes accessibility, currency, richness, suitable use of media and inclusivity.
- Delivery strategies, issues associated with the ways in which the course is delivered to the learners. This includes reliable and robust interface, clear goals, directions and learning paths, communications, appropriate bandwidth demands, equity and accessibility and appropriate corporate style.
Add to this the seven principles which guide online learning here at CQUni which are:
- Encourages contact between students and faculty
- develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
- encourages active learning
- gives prompt feedback
- emphasizes time on task
- communicates high expectations
- respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
Alley (2000) argues the existance of 10 critical elements in effective online learning.
- knowledge is constructed
- learning is more effective if a student can take responsibility for her own learning.
- student motivation is a strong determinant of the outcomes and success of learning.
- higher order learning requires reflection.
- learning is unique to the individual.
- learning is experiential.
- learning is both social and private.
- inexorable epistemological presumptions can misdirect higher order learning.
- learning is spiral.
- learning is messy.
Now to analyse this and find some measuables. More to come.
Alley, L.(2000). Ten keys to quality assurance and assessment in online learning [online]. http://www.worldclassstrategies.com/papers/keys.htm
Herrington et.al. Quality Guidelines for online courses: The development of an instument to audit online units. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne01/pdf/papers/herringtona.pdf