Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard

The Online Learning Consortium - OLC  (formerly known as Sloan-C) is a consortium of institutions and individuals committed to quality online learning.

The OLC Quality Scorecard for Online Programs is a tool for assessing and measuring the quality of online programs. Administrators of online programs can use this scorecard to evaluate program strengths and weaknesses. The scorecard lists 70 specific indicators which are grouped into the following nine areas of quality:

  • Institutional Support
  • Technology Support
  • Course Development and Instructional Design
  • Course Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Social and Student Engagement
  • Faculty Support
  • Student Support
  • Evaluation and Assessment

The School of Information uses this tool to evaluate and continuously improve the quality of our program. Each year school administrators evaluate  the school's program compliance with each quality indicator and assigns one of the following scores:

  • Meets criterion completely (3 points)
  • Moderate use (2 points)
  • Insufficient (1 point)
  • Not Observed (0 points)

They write the rationale and provide evidence to support the scores for each of the 70 quality indicators. The iSchool initial scorecard total was 196, a number that is categorized in the "exemplary" range by OLC.  The School has continued to sustain that number. See the Table of Contents below for links to details.

Completing the scorecard analysis provides a quantifiable indication of the quality of the SJSU iSchool program as measured by a recognized third-party benchmarking tool. In addition this process continues to provide valuable direction for strategic planning and improvement.

Also see information about the OLC (formerly called Sloan-C) award.

 

Table of Contents

INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT

  1. The institution has a governance structure to enable effective and comprehensive decision making related to online education.
  2. Policies and guidelines are in place to authenticate that students enrolled in online courses and receiving college credit are indeed those completing the course work.
  3. Policy for intellectual property of course materials exists.
  4. The institution has defined the strategic value of online learning to its enterprise and to its stakeholders.

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT

  1. (5) A documented technology plan that includes electronic security measures (e.g., password protection, encryption, secure online or proctored exams, etc.) is in place and operational to ensure quality standards, adherence to FERPA, and the integrity and validity of information.
  2. (6) The technology delivery systems are highly reliable and operable with measurable standards being utilized such as system downtime tracking or task benchmarking.
  3. (7) A centralized system provides support for building and maintaining the online education infrastructure.
  4. (8) The course delivery technology is considered a mission critical enterprise system and supported as such.
  5. (9) The institution maintains system backup for data availability.
  6. (10) Faculty, staff, and students are supported in the development and use of new technologies and skills.

COURSE DEVELOPMENT AND INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

  1. (11) Guidelines regarding minimum standards are used for course development, design, and delivery of online instruction (such as course syllabus elements, course materials, assessment strategies, faculty feedback).
  2. (12) Technology is used as a tool to achieve learning outcomes in delivering course content.
  3. (13) Instructional materials, course syllabus, and learning outcomes are reviewed periodically to ensure they meet program standards.
  4. (14) Courses are designed so that students develop the necessary knowledge and skills to meet learning objectives at the course and program level. These may include engagement via analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
  5. (15) Learning objectives describe outcomes that are measurable.
  6. (16) Selected assessments measure the course learning objectives and are appropriate for an online learning environment.
  7. (17) Student-centered instruction is considered during the course-development process.
  8. (18) There is consistency in course development for student retention and quality.
  9. (19) Course design promotes both faculty and student engagement.
  10. (20) Current and emerging technologies are evaluated and recommended for online teaching and learning.
  11. (21) Instructional design is provided for creation of effective pedagogy for both synchronous and asynchronous class sessions.
  12. (22) Curriculum development is a core responsibility for faculty (i.e., faculty should be involved in either the development or the decision making for the online curriculum choices).

COURSE STRUCTURE

  1. (23) The online course site or other web site includes a syllabus outlining course objectives, learning outcomes, evaluation methods, textbook information, and other related course information, making course requirements transparent at time of registration.
  2. (24) The institution ensures that all online education students, regardless of where they are located, have access to library/learning resources adequate to support the courses they are taking (SACS statement).
  3. (25) Expectations for student assignment completion, grade policy, and faculty response are clearly provided in the course syllabus.
  4. (26) Links or explanations of technical support are available in the course (i.e., each course provides suggested solutions to potential technical issues and/or links for technical assistance).
  5. (27) Instructional materials are easily accessible and easy to use for the student.
  6. (28) The course adequately addresses the needs of students with disabilities via alternative instructional strategies and/or referral to special institutional resources.
  7. (29) Opportunities/tools are provided to encourage student-student collaboration (i.e, web conferencing, instant messaging, etc) if appropriate.
  8. (30) Documents attached to modules are in a format that is easily accessed with multiple operating systems and productivity software (PDF, for example).

TEACHING AND LEARNING

  1. (31) Student-to-Student interaction and Faculty-to-Student interaction are essential characteristics and are facilitated through a variety of ways.
  2. (32) Feedback on student assignments and questions is constructive and provided in a timely manner.
  3. (33) Students learn appropriate methods for effective research, including assessment of the validity of resources and the ability to master resources in an online environment.
  4. (34) Students are provided access to library professionals and resources that help them to deal with the overwhelming amount of online resources.
  5. (35) Instructors use specific strategies to create a presence in the course.

SOCIAL AND STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

  1. (36) Students should be provided a way to interact with other students in an online community.

FACULTY SUPPORT

  1. (37)Technical assistance specifically for online course development and online teaching is provided for faculty.
  2. (38) Instructors are prepared to teach online education courses and the institution ensures faculty receive training, assistance, and support at all times during the development and delivery of courses.
  3. (39) Faculty receive training and materials related to Fair Use, plagiarism, and other relevant legal and ethical concepts.
  4. (40) Faculty are provided on-going professional development related to online teaching and learning.
  5. (41) Clear standards are established for faculty engagement and expectations around online teaching.
  6. (42) Faculty workshops are provided to make them aware of emerging technologies and the selection and use of these tools.

STUDENT SUPPORT

  1. (43) Before starting an online program, students are advised about the program to determine if they possess the self-motivation and commitment to learn online.
  2. (44) Before starting an online program, students are advised about the program to determine if they have access to the minimal technology required by the course design.
  3. (45) Students receive (or have access to) information about programs, including admission requirements, tuition and fees, books and supplies, technical and proctoring requirements, and student support services prior to admission and course registration.
  4. (46) Students are provided with access to training and information they will need to secure required materials through electronic databases, inter-library loans, government archives, new services and other sources.
  5. (47) Throughout the duration of the course/program, students have access to appropriate technical assistance and technical support staff.
  6. (48) Student support personnel are available to address student questions, problems, bug reporting, and complaints.
  7. (49) Students have access to effective academic, personal, and career counseling.
  8. (50) Minimum technology requirements for skills and equipment are established and made available to students.
  9. (51) Student support services are provided for outside the classroom such as academic advising, financial assistance, peer support, etc.
  10. (52) Policy and process is in place to support ADA requirements.
  11. (53) Students are provided easy access to required course materials in print and/or digital format, such as ISBN numbers for textbooks, book suppliers, and delivery modes.
  12. (54) Program demonstrates a student-centered focus rather than trying to fit service to the online education student in on-campus student services.
  13. (55) Efforts are made to engage students with the program and institution.
  14. (56) Students are instructed in the appropriate ways of communicating with faculty and students.
  15. (57) The institution provides guidance to both students and faculty in the use of all forms of technologies used for course delivery.
  16. (58)Tutoring is available as a learning resource.
  17. (59) Students are instructed in the appropriate ways of enlisting help from the program.

EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT

  1. (60) The program is assessed through an evaluation process that applies specific established standards.
  2. (61) A variety of data (academic and administrative information) are used to regularly and frequently evaluate program effectiveness and to guide changes toward continual improvement.
  3. (62) Intended learning outcomes at the course and program level are reviewed regularly to ensure clarity, utility, and appropriateness.
  4. (63) A process is in place for the assessment of support services for faculty and students.
  5. (64) Course and program retention is assessed. Results of course evaluations are used as part of faculty/instructor performance evaluations.
  6. (65) Recruitment and retention are examined and reviewed.
  7. (66) Program demonstrates compliance and review of accesibility standards (Section 508, etc.)
  8. (67) Course evaluations are examined in relation to faculty performance evaluations.
  9. (68) Faculty performance is regularly assessed.
  10. (69) Alignment of learning outcomes from course to course exists.
  11. (70) Course evaluations collect student feedback on quality of content and effectiveness of instruction.

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Our school's graduate programs received a score in the exemplary range according to the OLC Quality Scorecard.