Quality Assurance for blended and online courses

2018-2019 — CSU, Chico— QA FLC

Proposal Summary: At CSU, Chico, we proposed for each FLC participant to reach the following goals: 

1. Complete the Q1 course (100% succesfull completion)

2. Attend an FLC in Fall 2019 (100% attendance)

3. Complete an accessible syllabus (100% completion)

4. Complete at least three modules of a course redesign (100% completion)

5. Meet a 75% threwshold in Ally (50% completion)

6. Meet the QLT Core 24 Standards (100% completion)

The FLC included a dynamic group of faculty from the following disciplines: Agriculture, Anthropology, Business and Management, Computer Science, Education, English, Kinesiology, and Political Science and Criminal Justice. The QA Lead made sure to create opportunities for the cohort to share best practices, and to allow for faculty to have hands-on activities to complete during the FLC.

Campus QA Goals

Campus Goal for Quality Assurance (2018-2019)

1.    Maintain the amount of commitment and accountability required to faculty participating in the FLC to a full year. This choice allows for a more in-depth exposure to the QLT instrument and the possibility to truly prepare faculty for local and formal CSU reviews. It also allows faculty to take the Q1 course before the FLC starts, and therefore approach the FLC with a clearer understanding of the QLT instrument. For this reason, the Faculty Lead is budgeting for ten $1,200-stipends, disbursed once clear goals are achieved and deliverables are completed. Beyond the ones described in the following section and in the budget, deliverables will include presentation at the local Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) conference.

2.    Encourage faculty to submit examples of course redesign solutions to QUARRY and or the local course redesign sample database

3.    Become part of the CSU Student Quality Assurance Impact Research (SQuAIR) project through monitoring assessment more closely and research about the benefits of Quality Assurance at Chico State. Towards this goal, additional deliverables of the FLC will include a thorough assessment plan and report.

4.    Strongly encourage co-teaching and co-curricular redesign projects, developing from the current Provost’s Initiative on Co-Teaching and Civic Engagement, and in line with a number of initiatives closely related to GI 2025 goals. 


Funding was distributed in relation to the completion of specific goals and deliverables:

Fall 2018

$200 upon successful completion of the Q1 training;

$500 for attending the FLC meetings in Fall 2018 and completing clear and measurable SLOs and an accessible syllabus;


Spring 2019

$500 for meeting individually with the QA Lead and with an assigned instructional designer and present how the course redesign meets the Core 24 standards


Quality Assurance Lead

  • Chiara Ferrari, Professor (Media Arts, Design, and Technology)

Supporting Campus Partners

  • Faculty Development (Josh Trout, Director; Rebecca Wall, Administrative Assistant) 
  • Technology and Learning Program (James Aird, Claudine Franquet, Christine Sharrio, and Marjorie Shepard)
  • Distributed Learning Technologies (David Rowe, Manager)
  • Office of Accessible Technology Services (Jeremy Olguin, Program Coordinator)

Sample feedback received from the 2018-2019 cohort.

Campus Commitment Toward Sustainability of QA Efforts

  • An ad-hoc committee is revising the current Policy for Online Education and adding language that encourages trining based on Quality Teaching. The Academic Senate should approve the revised policy by the end of Fall 2019
  • Faculty Development is increasing its support to the QA efforts by providing approximately 50% of the total funding for the campus QA training, from its original 30% contribution in previous years.
  • The program's benefits are increasingly known and shared among faculty, especially among new hires and lecturers.

In order to promote a sustainable QA program, responsibilities on campus are distributed among the Faculty Lead (Chiara Ferrari), a QA-centered Instructional Technology Consultant (James Aird), and the rest of the ITCs. The Faculty Lead and the QA ITC discuss and plan the FLC meetings. The Faculty Lead supervises the progression of the FLC meetings and interactions, while the QA ITC mediates the work between the FLC and the individual work with TLP. The Faculty Lead holds meetings with the ITCs and the Director of Faculty Development to discuss the progression of the FLC and the advancement of individual faculty, while fine-tuning the overall QA program on campus. The Faculty Lead also works with the ITCs to update the local QLT repository. The QA Lead also collaborates with DLT to collect data for SQuAIR and with OATS to ensure the cohort meets the 75% accessibility threshold. Lastly, the Faculty Lead works with the Faculty Development Office (FDEV) to manage the QA funding. FDEV is committed to continue its support to the QA program and has been a strong advocate for it with campus administrators.


Summary of Previous QA  Accomplishments

The use of QLT as the preferred campus QA instrument began in 2014. Chico State currently has 5 certified course reviewers, while 40 faculty or staff members have completed the Q1 training. At Chico State, TLP also offers the possibility to apply to the local Excellence in Online Instruction review. Since 2014, 45 faculty have completed a formal QLT training though the QA program funded by the Chancellor's Office. 

Accessibility/UDL Efforts

The QA Lead has not only added a recurrent module on accessibility and universal design as part of the FLC's trainings, but precise goals towards accessibility have been added to the deliverables of the QA FLC. 

  • 4/8 faculty have met the 75% threshold established for Ally, while the additional 4 faculty are still working with OATS to finalize their course redesign and eventually meet the 75% threshold.
  • All campuses' presidents have received an accessibility audit to which they must respond by September 6th. The academic Senate and the QA Lead are participating in providing administrators with the necessary efforts to respond to this audit.
  • Lastly, the new policy for Digital Learning is also reinforcing language on universal design and accessibility to facilitate accountability.

Next Steps for QA Efforts (Goals 2019-2020)

On the basis of this year’s FLC format, the Faculty Lead is proposing four major goals for 2019-2020:

1.    Maintain the amount of commitment and accountability required to faculty participating in the FLC to a full year. This choice allows for an in-depth exposure to the QLT instrument and the possibility to truly prepare faculty for local and formal CSU reviews. It also allows faculty to take the Q1 course before the FLC starts, and therefore approach the FLC with a clearer understanding of the QLT instrument. For this reason, the Faculty Lead is budgeting for twelve $1,200-stipends, disbursed once clear goals are achieved and deliverables are completed. 

2.    Maintain a threshold of 75% accessibility compliance through the use of Ally

3.    Continue to be part of the CSU Student Quality Assurance Impact Research (SQuAIR) project through monitoring assessment more closely and research about the benefits of Quality Assurance at Chico State. Towards this goal, the FLC Lead is working closely with Distributed Learning Technologies and the LMS manager. 

4.   With the rising pressures put on Colleges and Departments about the graduation initiative 2025, quality learning and innovative pedagogy have become increasingly valid tools to reach non-traditional students and students living in rural areas, who are a strong priority for Chico State. The Faculty Lead plans to add a specific module to the next year FLC about issues of equity in online teaching. This added content not only addresses the CSU efforts towards GI 2025, but it is also in line with the recent resolution passed by the CSU, Chico’s Academic Senate on Equity Gaps of Underrepresented Minority Student Achievement. Towards this end, a number of faculty from the School of Education will present information about equity and access in education, and the presentation will be followed by a brainstorming section on how to implement such efforts in an online environment.

Quality Assurance Results

Training Completions

8 faculty members participated in the QLT FLC offered in 2018-2019. All of the faculty successfully completed the FLC training, successfully completed the online Q1 training, and met the Core 24 standards. At the end of Spring 2019, all faculty presented their course redesign in front of the entire cohort, the QA Lead, instructional designers from TLP, and the Faculty Development Director.

The FLC is organized around the major broad areas of the QOLT instrument. The FLC discusses SLO writing and tools for assessment and alignment in the first couple of meetings. One of the FLC meetings is fully dedicated to accessibility and universal design. Other meetings include: student engagement and interaction, student feedback and self-assessment, diversification of instructional material, accessibility and universal design, elements of copyright, use of rubrics, and use of video technology in the classroom. A survey was distributed among the FLC cohort at the end of the spring semester to assess the value of the FLC. According to the survey, 100% of the participants met their course redesign goals (4 corresponds to "strongly agree").

Sample course redesign presentation:

Course Peer Review and Course Certifications

Chico State offers local formal reviews of courses through the Exemplary Online Instruction (EOI) program. A committee of instructional designers and faculty utilize the QLT instrument to guarantee quality and recognize faculty members who have completed their course redesign. The QA Lead recommends that everyone completing the QA training (and meeting the Core 24 standards) applied to the EOI review. 75% of the 2018-2019 cohort (corresponding to 6/8 faculty), have already applied or plan to apply to the EOI review.


Student Quality Assurance Impact Research 

The QA Lead is asking for permission to access data referred to student success as part of the MOU that each faculty signs once they are enrolled in the FLC. This process has been delayed because of the formation of a Senate ad-hoc committee that will develop a policy aimed at regulating access to such data for research purposes. The Senate hopes to complete such policy by the end of 2019-2020. Data on self-perception of course redesign has not been completed because the majority if faculty who redesigned their course in 2018-2019 has not been offered the course yet.

Distributed Learning Technologies is facilitating the process of recording participation in QLT by adding the QA training into the campus CSU Learn. 


Development of Campus QA Resources

The QA Lead is creating a database of short videos that can showcase course redesign ideas and examples. Below are incuded two videos as models, from the 2018-2019 cohort. The idea of a local database comes from feedback received by faculty of the present and previous cohorts to be exposed to actual examples and narratives of course redesigns.


 

 


Dissemination of QA Efforts— Conferences 

Chico State has just piloted a Student Success Summit in January 19th with the goal of repeating in future years. Faculty Development is working with the organizing team to plan follow-up workshops and start planning for next year. The QA Lead plans to include a discussion of Quality Assurance in the next Student Success Summit. Additionally, the formal participation in SQuAIR gives us the chance to collect data for research projects and publications. Lastly, the QA Lead co-authored an article about QA a Chico State with former QA Lead Ben Seipel. The article,  "Preparing and Training Higher Education Faculty to Ensure Quality Online Learning and Teaching," will be available in the edited volume Ensuring Quality and Integrity in Online Learning Programs (2019). The QA Lead also plans to present at the 2020 CSU Symposium on Teaching and Learning.