Virtual School Meanderings

July 20, 2013

CLRN Online Course Training Videos

Notice of this entry came through my RSS reader a few days ago…

CLRN Online Course Training Videos

What separates a high quality online course from a flat and linear textbook are iNACOL’s Standards for Quality Online Courses. iNACOL’s standards, created by CLRN and variety of California and national stakeholders and published in 2011, outline specific expectations for content, instructional design, student assessment, technology, and course evaluation and support. California and Texas exclusively utilize iNACOL’s standards for course reviews and a variety of other states have adapted the standards for their reviews.

We understand that our reviews have an impact, both in the classroom and in the industry, which is why we strive to be transparent both within our published reviews and in our review process. Providing our stakeholders with both the standards and reviewer considerations, which define both the expectations and the evidence we must find, is an important step. To facilitate CLRN reviewer retraining, we’ve also created four instructional videos that provide more information about each standard and our thoughts about the validation process. Each of the four videos, which include Sections A-D from the online course standards, may be access here:
Section A: Content

Section B: Instructional Design

Section C: Student Assessment

Section D: Technology

Now in the past I have questioned the wisdom of using a set of standards that have yet to be found to be reliable and valid (at least based on the published research literature) as a way of measuring quality in any formal way.  So take these resources with a grain of salt in terms of what they actually help prepare you to measure.


January 9, 2013

CLRN Publishes 100th Online Course Review

inacolThis was posted in the iNACOL forums in the past few days…

CLRN is proud to announce our 100th online course review. Beginning with a complete review of the course’s Common Core or CA content standards, our reviews also include iNACOL’s standards for quality online courses. Read more about our review project here, and view our online course reviews here.

Read more about our review project here

view our online course reviews here

Personally, I’d be interested in seeing some of the empirical data on the inter-rater reliability of the instrument, not to mention an expert review and research literature validation.  But that’s just me, I’m a stickler for using reliable and valid instruments to begin with…

June 30, 2011

EDTECH597 – Discussion Entry: Do Practitioners Care About Research?

On Monday, in my EDTECH597 – Week 4 entry, I indicated that today I would post a discussion entry to model for my Boise State students. I described a discussion entry as an entry that is ” exactly as it sounds, entries designed to generate discussion. Typically they are self-contained and have a short introduction to give the reader some context and then attempt to pose an open-ended question. Some bloggers will base their discussion question on something they have read or a current event. The main thing to remember about a discussion question entry is that it is designed to generate conversation among the readers of your blog.”

The topic I wanted to ask about today is whether K-12 online learning practitioners care about research or if they are simply looking for things that they can implement?  I ask this question with all sincerity.

A while back I remember seeing someone post a link to a rubric for a high quality online course in one of the iNACOL forums or their LinkedIn Group or Twitter or somewhere.  The tool was met with positive reaction, even though I can find no research to support its construction or research supporting its validation.  Similarly, I have criticized the iNACOL national standards on many occasions for the exact same research – a total lack of research to support the “standards” and no research to validate the “standards.”

At almost every Virtual School Symposium I have attended, I have witnesses the iNACOL leadership misuse the research (often indicating that the research says one thing, when it in fact says the exact opposite) – usually to cheers from the crowd in attendance.

As the vast majority of the readers of this blog are practitioners, I ask in all sincerity…

Does research into K-12 online learning matter in your practice or are you just interested in tools and strategies regardless of its validity?

March 3, 2011

Attn: K-12 Educators: The QM Program Needs YOU

This showed up in my inbox overnight.

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
QM G-12 Rubric
Quality Matters Program
A National Benchmark for Online Course Design
March Highlights
We Need You
G6-12 Rubric Hallmarks
Quick Links
Learn More
Grades 6-12 Workbook

K-12 Educators: The QM Program Needs You!
Quality Matters Program Needs Trainers and Peer Reviewers. QM is looking to certify QM G6-12 Trainers and Peer Reviewers to support the full roll out of the G6-12 QM Program.

Here’s who can participate: K-12 Online teachers, instructional designers, and teacher education faculty who wish to play a central role in the dissemination of research supported best practices in online course design by becoming QM certified trainers and certified reviewers for the Grades 6-12 Quality Matters Rubric. Both trainers and reviewers receive stipends for their work.

Eligibility Requirements:

QM Trainers:
To be eligible for certification as a G6-12 trainer, K-12 personnel must have taught or developed an online or blended course during the previous 18 months or participate in teacher education programs.  QM certified trainers will have successfully completed the G6-12 APPQMR and the Grades 6-12 Reviewer Certification Workshop as well as the QM New Trainer’s Program.  We are looking for new trainers beginning August of 2011.  For more information about becoming a QM certified G6-12 trainer, contact Deb Adair.

QM Course Reviewers:
To be eligible for certification as a G6-12 course reviewer, K-12 personnel must have taught or developed an online or blended course during the previous 18 months.  Certified higher education peer reviewers may also qualify to be dually certified, if they have prior K-12 teaching experience, have taught dual enrollment courses, or participate in teacher education programs. Participants must successfully complete the G6-12 APPQMR and the Grades 6-12 Reviewer Certification Workshop. Upon successful completion, participants will be certified as G6-12 course reviewers and posted by QM.

Creating a National Database
QM is looking to build our national database of certified G6-12 peer reviewers immediately.  Below is scheduling and registration information. Participants may be awarded one (1) Continuing Education Unit on successful completion of the assignments and quizzes in some of the trainings. Be sure and check the descriptions. Questions? email QM

At A Glance Schedule.
Read the online Schedule and Course Descriptions

Workshop Title: (G6-12 IYOC) Improving Your Online Course
Dates: March 10, April 14, May 19

Workshop Title: (G6-12 APPQMR) Applying the G6-12 Rubric
Dates: March 31

Workshop Title: (G6-12 DYOC) Designing Your Online Course
Dates: April 7, June 21

Workshop Title: (G6-12 RCW) Grades 6-12 Reviewer Certification Workshop
Dates: April 28

Registration Information
Register Online. View the online calendar.
The link:

Introductory Fees and Subscription Information
Fees are $225 per participant. For QM program subscribers, fee is $150. G6-12 RCW is $50 per participant. $90 for non-subscribers. View course descriptions and fees.

Access to the web-based Rubric and savings on QM trainings is available with a QM subscription.Questions? email subscriptions.

Hallmarks of the Grades 6-12 (G6-12) QM Rubric: Integrating National Standards and Best Practices in K-12 Online Education

The G6-12 Rubric has been created to address the need for a set of standards that is specific to guide the development, enhancement, and evaluation of online and blended courses for middle and high school students.  The G6-12 Rubric integrates existing national standards for K-12 online education promulgated by:

At the core of the Quality Matters Grades 6-12 Program is the fully annotated Quality Matters Rubric, the centerpiece of a continuous improvement model for assuring the quality of online courses through a faculty peer review process.

The Grades 6-12 Edition of the Quality Matters Rubric is a set of nine general standards used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses.

General Standard 1: Course Overview and Introduction
The overall design of the course is made clear to the student at the beginning of the course.

General Standard 2: Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are clearly stated and explained. They assist students in focusing their effort in the course.

General Standard 3: Assessment and Measurement
Assessment strategies use established ways to measure effective learning, evaluate student progress by reference to stated learning objectives, and are designed to be integral to the learning process.

General Standard 4: Resources and Materials
Instructional materials are authoritative, up-to-date and appropriately chosen for the level of the course.

General Standard 5: Learning Activities
Meaningful interaction between the teacher and students, among students, and between students and course materials is employed to motivate students and foster intellectual commitment and personal development.

General Standard 6: Course Technology
Course navigation features and the technology employed in the course foster student engagement and ensure access to instructional materials and resources.

General Standard 7: Learner Support
The course facilitates student access to institutional services essential to student success.

General Standard 8: Accessibility
The face-to-face and online course components are accessible to all students.

General Standard 9 – Compliance Standards
This section of the rubric is optional and may be tailored to particular requirements or mandates at the state or local level. These requirements may deal with subject matter standards, inclusion of specific information in the course outline or syllabus, mandated communications, etc.

The G6-12 Applying the QM Rubric APPQMR workshop is appropriate for teachers, teacher education programs, instructional designers, administrators and regulators who wish to understand more about research supported best practices and mandates required by state and local governments.

The Rubric and training opportunities can be used for professional development, curriculum development, quality assurance for current courses and evaluation of instructional design practices.

Integrating National Standards and Best Practices
The award-winning Quality Matters (QM) Program is a teacher-administrator centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. The Quality Matters Grades 6-12 Rubric integrates existing national standards for K-12 online education promulgated by The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), The North American Council for Online Learning (iNACOL), The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
Quality Assurance. Continuous Improvement. Faculty Development. March 2, 2011

Questions? E-mail Quality Matters

Quality Matters | 1997 Annapolis Exchange Pkwy | Suite 300 | Annapolis | MD | 21401

June 23, 2009

Ten Week Online Course For High School Students

itfThis message was sent out over IT Forum about two weeks ago (and I apologize for just getting around to this now – too much travel I believe).

I am working with a university to convert what is currently a 3-week residential course for highschoolers (15 – 18 yr) into a 10-week online course (to be conducted during the school year).  With the current amount of content we are looking at 8 hrs of required student time/week with 1.5 – 2 hours of synchronous events per week (held on Saturdays only).  I have no experience with designing a course for highschool students….if you do, what has been your experience with them?  Is 8 hr/wk too much to expect (note: the audience typically consists of academically elite students) during the school year?  Is 1.5 – 2 hours of synchronous event time on 10 successive Saturdays too much to expect?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Without responding to the specific questions, I wanted to provide some general advice first.  In terms of course design there are a variety of resources that I could point to…


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