Quality Assurance for blended and online courses

2020-2021 — Sonoma State University

Proposal Summary: At Sonoma State University, we proposed to offer the SSU-developed Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) course in the Summer 20, Fall 20, Spring 21, and Summer 21 semesters to assist as many faculty as possible in migrating their courses to the online modality; create and launch the SSU-developed Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) course for facilitation in Spring 21, and Summer 21 cohorts to assist faculty in deepening their knowledge of online facilitation exemplary practices; Increase state support offerings from SSU to CSU Fully Online program; and, Submit formal QLT external reviews. 

Campus QA Goals

Campus Goal for Quality Assurance

The main focus of our proposal was to support faculty migrating to online instruction at Sonoma State and to improve quality online course offerings. Continued funding to support the Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2)  for faculty facilitation and stipends for participants is needed. Additionally, evidence of ongoing successes will foster buy-in from department leadership.  Continuing to focus on increasing quality online course offerings meets the needs of our students who have been impacted by COVID and/or who are distance learners and working students in our diverse service locations.

  • Continued development & growth of Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) Programming
  • Support quality online course offerings during Fall 20' and Spring 21' semesters at SSU
  • Increase CSU Fully Online Contributions
  • Continuous engagement in QLT review process
  • Support the transition to remote instruction in Fall 20' & Spring 21'

Quality Assurance Lead(s)

  • Justin Lipp, PhD, Director, Center for Teaching and Educational Technology
  • Kristin Denver, Psy.D, Senior Instructional Designer, Center for Teaching and Educational Technology
  • Gina Baleria, PhD, Assistant Professor of Journalism 

Supporting Campus Partners

Center for Teaching and Educational Technology, School of International and Extended Education, Faculty Affairs, Information Technology, Disability Student Services, Office of the Provost. SSU Faculty and Staff subject matter experts. 


Campus Commitment Toward Sustainability of QA Efforts

  • Ongoing support for continued offerings of Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) programming
  • Graduate initiative Support for Increasing Students' Course Accessibility
  • Additional Instructional Design Staffing 

Summary of Previous QA  Accomplishments

  • Canvas Design Institute to provide evidence based practices in designing courses in an entirely online modality. This consists of the Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) course, and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2 ) course facilitated during the Summer/Winter session months as well as during the regular academic year
  • Successful completion of the Online and Proven Course Redesign Program to create online sequences of previously in-person programs (12 fully online courses in three departments, Nursing, Spanish, & Anthropology)

Dissemination of QA Efforts— Conferences 

The Canvas Course Design Foundations (Level 1) and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) courses are now a prerequisite for faculty members seeking QLT certification.

Quality Assurance Results

Training Completions

Course/ProgramParticipants
Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1)158 complete (SU 20 - SP 21)
50 complete (self-paced version)
17 enrolled (SU 21)
Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2)9 complete (SP 21)
71 enrolled (SU 21)
Online & Blended Teaching Excellence Program (OBTEP)38 complete (SP 18 - SP 20)
QLT via CO Office47 complete
ACUE Programming26 complete 

Course Peer Review and Course Certifications

SSU has established a workflow for supporting faculty efforts for those seeking QLT Self-Review and/or External Review. The Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) are designed based on the QLT Rubric exemplary practices and serve as prerequisites for the QLT certification process. In these programs faculty receive the benefit of peer feedback during the course design/redesign phase.

SSU has successfully completed two additional QLT Certified courses this year (ANTH 318 & BUS 452) for a total of three QLT Externally certified courses, and has also increased the total number of Certified Peer Reviewers:

  • Krista Altaker
  • Gina Baleria (pending)
  • Kristin Denver
  • Noelia Franzen
  • Joel Gould
  • Ashley Klein
  • John Lynch

Development of Campus QA Resources

  • Canvas Course Design Foundations (Level 1) - Canvas Commons 
  • Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) - Canvas Commons
  • Online Course Design Template - Canvas Commons
  • Canvas Design Institute (self-paced resource)
  • SSU Academic Technology User Guides (written and video formats)

Accessibility/UDL Efforts

  • Blackboard ALLY Implementation

    Canvas Accessibility Tools

    UDL and Accessibility content in Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1) and Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2) programming

    UDL, Accessibility, and Ally workshops offered by the Center for Teaching and Educational Technology

    The Accessible Content Partnership offered by the Center for Teaching and Educational Technology

    Partnership with DSS

    Additional Instructional Design hire

Next Steps for QA Efforts 

  • Continuation of Canvas Design Foundations (Level 1)

    Continuation of Online Facilitation Fundamentals (Level 2)

    Development of Accessibility Training Course 

  • Contribute to the launch of SSU's first state-supported Master's program in Early Childhood Studies

  • Establish a campus working group to centralize and enhance support for online course certifications

  • Provide expanded support for certified QLT course reviews

  • Contribute to Campus Policy Development that supports quality online teaching

  • Increase contributions to CSU Fully Online