Center for Teaching, Learning & Engagement

@ Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona, USA

How Does GCC Ensure Quality in Online Classes?

Are you wondering how we ensure quality in online courses? We can’t see into the class like we can when we walk by a classroom with windows and see students appearing to be engaged and notes from a projector flashed onto the screen. This is certainly a valid question to ask when suddenly whole departments go online for the first time or the whole institution increases its online offerings to nearly 50%. And for GCC, the answer is that there are a lot of factors that go into ensuring the quality of our online classes. I’m going to address one: the Peer Quality Review.

There are a few facts to know about the Peer Quality Review:

  1. The review process is wholly conducted by colleagues.
  2. Instructors can ask that their courses be reviewed.
  3. Reviewers are experienced online instructors.
  4. The peer review has had many iterations at GCC, and courses have been reviewed here for years.
  5. The review is a process unique to this modality.
  6. GCC applies standards from Quality Maters. Here are the categories we review:

–Course Overview and Introduction
–Learning Objectives (Competencies)
–Assessment and Measurement
–Instructional Materials
–Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
–Course Technology
–Learner Support
–Accessibility and Usability

When a course goes through the review, two faculty use the review form and independently review the course. Then they meet, go over their reviews and the review from the course creator, and synthesize their feedback. The final step is for the whole team to meet and discuss the course–what it does well to help students and what could be improved to help students, according to the standards above. The course may need a little bit of work before it “passes” Peer Quality Review.

The Peer Quality Review is about process, the conversation with colleagues, and about continuously improving our online courses.

Have you built an online course? Are you interested in having your online course reviewed? If so, we recommend that your first step is to have taught your course a couple of semesters. Your second step is to conduct a QM course self-review. After that, reach out to your eCourse Coordinator or another eCourse Committee member. We look forward to meeting you and reviewing your course.

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