Virtual School Meanderings

May 18, 2017

Validated Online Course Design Standards

A few weeks ago I saw this news item scroll across my electronic desk – Edmentum Plato Courses Receive iNACOL Standards Approval. When you go to the news item, you get access to this summary:

Edmentum’s Plato Courseware’s iNACOL Standard Review – http://www.edmentum.com/sites/edmentum.com/files/resource/media/iNACOL%20Summary.pdf

A former doctoral student of mine actually completed his dissertation research focused on whether the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses could be validated based on research. Here are the results.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016). Building better courses: Examining the content validity of the iNACOL national standards for quality online courses. Journal of Online Learning Research, 2(1), 41-73. Retrieved from http://www.learntechlib.org/p/171515

  • The first round focused on whether there was literature and, more importantly, the research literature support for the standards.  David was able to find something for just about every standard, but there was actually little in the way of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning research literature to support most standards as they were written.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2017). Improving the K-12 online course design review process: Experts weigh in on iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 18(3). Retrieved from http://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/976

  • The second round had two teams of experts review the standards to determine whether, based on their expert opinions, the standards were appropriate measures of the quality of online course design.  While there was some general support for most standards, many of them were revised or dropped based on this expert feedback.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016). Redesigning design: Field testing a revised design rubric based of iNACOL quality course standards. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 31(2). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2800

  • The third round had several teams of two reviewers that were responsible for applying the rubric associated with the standards to a variety of online courses to determine if inter-rater reliability could be achieved.  The results of this application were that the rubric could not be reliably applied.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016). Redesigning design: Streamlining K-12 online course creation. MACUL Journal, 37(1), 20-21. Retrieved from http://www.macul.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/MACULJournal_Fall2016.pdf

  • This final article was targeted to practitioners.  It was basically an attempt for David to translate what he learned from the three rounds of research that would be of interest and of use to a practitioner audience.

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