Virtual School Meanderings

August 23, 2018

Google Alert – Experts Weigh in on iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses

This scrolled through my inbox yesterday.

Google
iNACOL

As-it-happens update ⋅ August 22, 2018
WEB
Experts Weigh in on iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses

This article reports on the second phase of a three-stage study designed to examine the validity and reliability of the iNACOL National Standards for …
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Note that it is an article that I co-authored with David Adelstein, who was a doctoral student of mine at the time and this was the second phase of his dissertation research.

June 23, 2018

Online Surveys for new Online Learning Framework (US focused)

Note this notice to try and update these neo-liberal standards.

Dear Colleagues,
The Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA) and Quality Matters (QM) are leading a broad-based effort to revise the National Standards for Quality Online Learning, building on the work started by iNACOL. We want to keep your interests in mind, so we invite you to tell us how you use the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching and Online Programs so we can continue to make them work for you.
We greatly appreciate your taking the time to complete one or both of the surveys on the Standards. Your responses will provide critical data to inform the work of the revision teams. These are extensive surveys that asks you to provide information and comments on each of the standards and the supporting indicators. You can complete the survey in multiple sessions. There is not a save feature. Simply close your browser window and when you return to the survey, it will take you to the appropriate survey question where you stopped in your previous session.
You may feel you or most qualified to respond to a particular survey. Please feel free to forward this invitation to participate in the survey to other online educators using the National Standards for Quality Online Learning, or that have used them in the past.
Follow this link to the Online Teaching Survey: 
Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
Follow this link to the Online Programs Survey: 
Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
For more information, please contact please contact Butch Gemin at butch.gemin@opencircleprojects.com
Thank you for your time and for sharing your experience with the National Standards for Quality Online Learning.

I saw this posted in a forum for Canadian K-12 distance, online, and blended learning teachers and administrators and felt the need to respond with:

It is worth noting that the only empirical research that has been conducted on these standards focused on the course design standards and found that they were not supported by an empirical research process normally used to create standards.  I would refer you to:

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/d/171515

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.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2800

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.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/976

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

In fact, beyond the simple adoption of these standards by a popular corporate-driven “advocacy” group in the US, they have little going for them.  I applaud the fact that these groups are trying to generate something better.  However, starting with flawed standards as your basis is kind of like tearing down a house that rotting and then using the same wood to build a brand new house.  At the end of the day the damn thing is still rotten!

Just saying…

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.

November 28, 2016

Article Notice – Redesigning Design: Field Testing a Revised Design Rubric Based of iNACOL Quality Course Standards

Notice of this article came through my inbox today…

David Adelstein, Michael K Barbour

International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education (formerly the Journal of Distance Education) – Vol 31, No 2 (2016)

Abstract

Designers have a limited selection of K-12 online course creation standards to choose from that are not blocked behind proprietary or pay walls. For numerous institutions and states, the use of the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses is becoming a widely used resource. This article presents the final phase in a three-part study to test the validity and reliability of the iNACOL standards specifically to online course design. Phase three was a field test of the revised rubric based on the iNACOL standards against current K-12 online courses. While the results show a strong exact match percentage, there is more work to be done with the revised rubric.

RésuméLes concepteurs ont une sélection limitée des normes K-12 de création de cours en ligne à choisir qui ne sont pas bloqués derrière des propriétés exclusives ou des péages informatiques. Pour de nombreuses institutions et états, l’utilisation des Normes nationales pour les cours en ligne de qualité iNACOL devient une ressource largement utilisée. Cet article présente la phase finale d’une étude en trois parties pour tester la validité et la fiabilité des normes iNACOL spécifiquement liées à la conception de cours en ligne. La phase trois était une mise à l’essai sur le terrain de la rubrique révisée établie en fonction des normes iNACOL par rapport aux cours en ligne K-12 actuels. Bien que les résultats montrent un fort pourcentage de correspondance exacte, il y a plus de travail à faire avec la rubrique révisée.

Keywords

K-12 online learning, K-12 distance education, virtual school, cyber school, online course design

Full Text:

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Full disclosure: I was a co-author on this article.

December 17, 2013

Validated Standards In K-12 Online Learning

I’ve spoken in the past about the need for validated standards to measure quality in various aspects of K-12 online and blended learning, and how the “national standards” presented by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning have not gone through the normal validation process.    Interestingly, the folks over at Getting Smart (of all places, a bunch of neo-liberals finally highlighting a research-based practice) have described such a process related to the Quality Matters framework.

Quality Matters in K12 Online and Blended Learning

By: Jim Snyder 

Quality Matters is a widely adopted program for quality assurance in online learning serving K–12, postsecondary, and other organizations involved in e-learning in the United States and internationally. The primary offerings and components are a set of design standards (or rubric) for the continuous improvement of online and blended courses, a peer review process for applying these standards, and related professional development.  The Quality Matters Rubric, with versions for continuing and professional (corporate) education, educational publishing, secondary education, and post-secondary education, is based on recognized best practices, built on the expertise of instructional designers and experienced online teachers, and supported by distance education literature and research.  The Rubric and web-based tools are complete with annotations that explain the application of the standards and the relationship between them.  The goal of the program is to increase student engagement, learning, and satisfaction in online or blended courses by implementing better course design.

Professional Development supports the QM program components and is an important part of a quality assurance effort.  After taking QM’s K-12 Applying the Quality Matters Secondary Rubric workshop – the most comprehensive approach to the K-12 Secondary Rubric that QM offers — Elliott Lemberg from New-Albany-Plain Local School District in Ohio stated that he learned how to use the Rubric to evaluate the quality of online and blended courses and, ”this course has been an edifying experience for me. Not only did it reinforce what I had already deduced about online learning environments through other workshops I have taken, but it also opened my eyes to the rigor of designing a blended or an online course. It showed me how the [K-12 Secondary] Rubric can be invaluable resource and tool for ensuring continuous improvement in those courses by guaranteeing they are aligned to the learning objectives. In my years as an educator, I have encountered many educational rubrics that purport to promote constant enhancement of design and pedagogy, but this rubric is the first one that truly achieves that goal. It is accessible and lucid and provides great insight and spurs tremendous professional reflection for all educators.”

The Education Service Center of Central Ohio turned to the Quality Matters Program (QM) to promote rigorous, uniformly applied standards for online courses for students and online professional development for educators.[1] Through the Quality Matters Professional Development Grants, eTech Ohio sought to identify agencies with the capacity and desire to deliver professional development to schools and educators throughout Ohio. “This grant provides key infrastructure to support Ohio’s K-12 teachers in their efforts to provide high-quality online instruction,” said Greg Davidson, interim executive director of eTech Ohio. “It is an important component of the state’s overarching support of digital learning initiatives.”[2]

To continue reading…

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