What should MOOC quality standards look like?

12 Feb

Research delves into issues when trying to gauge instructional and design quality in MOOCs for credit

By Meris Stansbury

MOOC-quality-standardsAs more institutions consider offering MOOCs for credit, often the MOOCs provided by third-party platforms, researchers say it’s imperative to gauge instructional and design effectiveness…but how, and with what quality standards?

These are the main questions posited by Patrick Lowenthal, assistant professor at the Educational Technology College of Education at Boise State University; and Dr. Charles Hodges, associate professor  of Leadership, Technology & Human Development at Georgia Southern University, in their research study on trying to measure the quality of MOOCs.

The researchers explain that as institutions look to third-party (Coursera, edX, Udacity, etc.) provided MOOCs for credit, it’s important to investigate whether these MOOCs meet certain standards of quality. The problem is, very little research has been done to investigate the instructional quality of MOOCs.

“Due to this problem, we decided to investigate the design of MOOCs as determined by certain, accepted online course quality frameworks,” write the authors in their study. “We began this study with an assumption that MOOCs, just like formal online courses, are not inherently good or bad. Further, there are likely some things that members of the academy can learn (both good and bad) from analyzing MOOCs.”

Where to Start?

Though there are many quality assurance programs for online courses, such as California State University Chico’s, or the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Five Pillars, Lowenthal and Hodges decided to use INACOL’s Quality Matters (QM), since it is the “only quality assurance/standards framework…that focuses on both online teaching and online course design,” they explain. “While other rubrics focus on measuring quality teaching online, the most popular quality assurance frameworks focus on online course design but not online teaching.”

[ Full article available at eCampus News: ]

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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Industry News, MOOCs in the News



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