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Established Quality Review Process for Online Courses

Academic Technologies and the Center for Teaching Excellence have partnered with the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions (SCE) to develop a quality review process for online courses offered by SCE during the Cornell Summer and Winter sessions. Associate Professor and Acting Dean of the University Faculty Michael Fontaine was one of the first to complete a review and adjust his course to meet accessibility requirements. “It went very smoothly, and I appreciated that no one made me feel like the content or approach of my course was being questioned,” said Fontaine.

“Academic Technologies has spearheaded the updating of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions’ online course offerings to make certain we are complying with ADA requirements,” said Associate Dean Charles W. Jermy of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions. “SCE has been offering credit and non-credit online learning options for more than 20 years as part of its mission to offer students the chance to study any subject from any place at any time. These online courses are an increasingly popular option for students and SCE truly appreciates this most collegial of partnerships with Academic Technologies.” 

For this effort the nationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM) Rubric (https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/rubric-standards) was used to assess how well existing SCE online courses met specific metrics such as usability, accessibility, and level of student-student and student-instructor interaction. An instructional designer worked in partnership with the instructor to review their online course and provide feedback and suggestions for how it can be enhanced. 

Cornell Disability Services was also consulted to ensure that accessibility standards are being met. AT has also assisted faculty in captioning course videos, and consulted with them to convert documents to an accessible version, and update other items based on feedback provided. To date, 40 courses have gone through the review process. 

“I found it useful,” said Associate Professor of Psychology Vivian Zayas. “It’s important to get feedback from a more objective perspective. I also felt that the review process was a two-way street, and allowed for discussion.” 

The review included areas of focus such as accessibility and usability; course activities and learner interaction; as well as overall course organization.

Visit the Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions website for more information:  http://www.sce.cornell.edu/ol 

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