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 75 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 San José State University 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:
They write the rationale and provide evidence to support the scores for each of the 75 quality indicators. 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 school’s OLC (formerly called Sloan-C) 2013 Effective Practice Award for use of the Quality Scorecard.
Table of Contents
- [IS#1] The institution has a governance structure to enable clear, effective, and comprehensive decision making related to online education.
- [IS#2] The institution has policy and guidelines that confirm a student who registers in an online course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives academic credit. This is done by verifying the identity of a student by using methods such as (a) a secure login and passcode, (b) proctored examinations, or © other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identity.
- [IS#3] The institution has a policy for intellectual property of course materials; it specifically addresses online course materials and is publicly visible online.
- [IS#4] The institution has defined the strategic value of online learning to its enterprise and stakeholders.
- [IS#5] The organizational structure of the online program supports the institution’s mission, values, and strategic plan.
- [IS#6] The online program’s strategic plan is reviewed for its continuing relevance, and periodically improved and updated.
- [IS#7] The institution has a process for planning and allocating resources for the online program, including financial resources, in accordance with strategic planning.
- [IS#8] The institution demonstrates sufficient resource allocation, including financial resources, in order to effectively support the mission of online education.
- [IS#9] The institution has a governance structure to enable systematic and continuous improvement related to the administration of online education.
- [TS#1] 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, in accordance with established standards and regulatory requirements.
- [TS#2] The technology delivery systems are highly reliable and operable with measurable standards being utilized such as system downtime tracking or task benchmarking.
- [TS#3] A centralized system provides support for building and maintaining the online education infrastructure.
- [TS#4] The course delivery technology is considered a mission-critical enterprise system and supported as such.
- [TS#5] The institution has established a contingency plan for the continuance of data centers and support services in the event of prolonged service disruption. The institution has established a contingency plan in the event of a prolonged service disruption.
- [TS#6] Faculty, staff, and students are supported in the development and use of new technologies and skills.
- [TS#7] Whether the institution maintains local data centers (servers), and/or contracts for outsourced, hosted services or cloud services, those systems are administered in compliance with established data management practices such as the Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) standards which include appropriate power protection, backup solutions, disaster recovery plans, etc.
COURSE DEVELOPMENT AND INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN
- [CD#1] Guidelines regarding minimum requirements for course development, design, and delivery of online instruction (such as course syllabus elements, course materials, assessment strategies, faculty feedback) are followed.
- [CD#2] Course embedded technology actively supports the achievement of learning outcomes and delivering course content and superfluous use of technology is minimized.
- [CD#3] Instructional materials and course syllabi are reviewed periodically to ensure they meet the online course’s and program’s learning outcomes.
- [CD#4] A course development process is followed that ensures courses are designed so that students develop the necessary knowledge and skills to meet measurable learning outcomes at the course and program level.
- [CD#5] A process is followed that ensures that permissions (Creative Commons, Copyright, Fair Use, Public Domain, etc.) are in place for appropriate use of online course materials.
- [CD#6] Course assignments and activities are reviewed periodically to ensure they meet online course and program learning outcomes.
- [CD#7] Student-centered instruction is considered during the course development process.
- [CD#8] There is consistency in course development for student retention and quality.
- [CD#9] Course design promotes both faculty and student engagement.
- [CD#10] A process is followed for evaluating the effectiveness of current and emerging technologies to support the achievement of learning outcomes and delivery of course content.
- [CD#11] Usability tests are conducted and applied and recommendations based upon Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAGs) are incorporated.
- [CD#12] 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). Faculty members are integral in both the development and decision making for all online curricula.
- [CS#1] The online course includes a syllabus outlining course objectives, learning outcomes, evaluation methods, books and supplies, technical and proctoring requirements, and other related course information, making course requirements transparent.
- [CS#2] The course structure ensures that all online students, regardless of location, have access to library/learning resources that adequately support online courses.
- [CS#3] Expectations for student assignment completion, grade policy, and faculty response are clearly provided in the course syllabus.
- [CS#4] 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).
- [CS#5] Instructional materials are easily accessible to the student, easy to use, with an ability to be accessed by multiple operating systems and applications.
- [CS#6] Instructional materials are easily accessed by students with disabilities via alternative instructional strategies and/or referral to special institutional resources.
- [CS#7] Opportunities/tools are provided to encourage student-to-student collaboration (i.e., web conferencing, instant messaging, etc.) if appropriate.
- [CS#8] Rules or standards for appropriate online student behavior are provided within the course.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
- [TL#1] Student-to-student and faculty-to-student interaction are essential characteristics and are encouraged and facilitated.
- [TL#2] Feedback on student assignments and questions is constructive and provided in a timely manner.
- [TL#3] Students learn appropriate methods for effective research, including assessment of the validity of resources and the ability to master resources in an online environment.
- [TL#4] Students are provided access to library professionals and resources to help locate, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use a variety of information resources.
- [TL#5] Instructors use specific strategies to create a presence in the course.
SOCIAL AND STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
- [SSE#1] Students should be provided a way to interact with other students in an online community (outside the course).
- [FS#1] Technical assistance is provided for faculty during online course development and online teaching.
- [FS#2] The institution ensures faculty receive training, assistance, and support to prepare faculty for course development and teaching online.
- [FS#3] Faculty receive training and materials related to Fair Use, plagiarism, and other relevant legal and ethical concepts.
- [FS#4] Faculty are provided ongoing professional development related to online teaching and learning.
- [FS#5] Clear standards are established for faculty engagement and expectations around online teaching (e.g. response time, contact information, etc.).
- [FS#6] Faculty are informed about emerging technologies and the selection and use of new tools.
- [SS#1] Before starting an online program, students are advised about the program to determine if they possess the self-motivation and commitment to learn online.
- [SS#2] Before starting an online program, students are advised about the program to determine if they have access to the minimum technology skills and equipment required by the course design.
- [SS#3] Before starting an online program, students receive (or have access to) information about the program, including admission requirements, tuition and fees, books and supplies, technical and proctoring requirements, and student support services.
- [SS#4] Throughout the duration of the course/program, students have access to training and information they will need to secure required materials through electronic databases, interlibrary loans, government archives, news services, and other sources.
- [SS#5] Throughout the duration of the course/program, students have access to appropriate technical assistance and technical support staff.
- [SS#6] Support personnel are available to address student questions, problems, bug reporting, and complaints.
- [SS#7] Students have access to effective academic, personal, and career counseling.
- [SS#8] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are provided in order to respond to students’ most common questions regarding online education.
- [SS#9] Students are provided non-instructional support services such as admission, financial assistance, registration/enrollment, etc.
- [SS#10] Policy, processes, and resources are in place to support students with disabilities.
- [SS#11] Students have access to required course materials in print and/or digital format, such as ISBN numbers for textbooks, book suppliers, and delivery modes prior to course enrollment.
- [SS#12] Program demonstrates a student-centered focus rather than trying to fit existing on-campus services to the online student.
- [SS#13] Efforts are made to engage students with the program and institution in order to minimize feelings of isolation and alienation.
- [SS#14] The institution provides guidance/tutorials for students in the use of all forms of technologies used for course delivery.
- [SS#15] Tutoring is available as a learning resource.
- [SS#16] Students are provided clear information for enlisting help from the institution.
EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
- [EA#1] The program is assessed through an evaluation process that applies specific established standards.
- [EA#2] A variety of data (academic and administrative information) are used to regularly and frequently evaluate program effectiveness and to guide changes toward continual improvement.
- [EA#3] Intended learning outcomes at the course and program level are reviewed regularly to ensure alignment, clarity, utility, appropriateness, and effectiveness.
- [EA#4] A process is in place and followed for the assessment of support services for faculty and students.
- [EA#5] A process is in place and followed for the assessment of student retention in online courses and programs.
- [EA#6] A process is in place and followed for the assessment of recruitment practices.
- [EA#7] Program demonstrates compliance and review of accessibility standards (Section 508, etc.).
- [EA#8] Course evaluations collect feedback on the effectiveness of instruction in relation to faculty performance evaluations.
- [EA#9] A process is in place and followed for the institutional assessment of faculty online teaching performance.
- [EA#10] A process is in place and followed for the assessment of stakeholder (e.g., learners, faculty, staff) satisfaction with the online program.
- [EA#11] Course evaluations collect student feedback on quality of online course materials.