Quality Enhancement Plan
GOAL 9: The college will ensure that each online course be designed according to essential elements contained within a common course template.
All online courses offered throughout the Virginia Community College System are housed in Blackboard servers operated and maintained by the System Utility in Richmond. Thus, all online courses automatically share the same course-delivery platform. Once a student has learned how to navigate one Blackboard course, that student should have little trouble negotiating additional online courses.
However, this Goal refers to more than the course delivery platform. The purpose of this Goal is to ensure that each online course offered by CVCC contains certain common elements found to be most pedagogically sound and educationally beneficial in the online environment. The Course Development subcommittee assembled a wealth of resources and was able to identify certain key course elements and the appropriate function and design of each.
Objective 1: Year One: Research examples of essential elements of online courses from exemplary colleges.
This was one of the tasks undertaken by the Course Development subcommittee and the data gathered by the members is summarized in the charts in Appendix E. Table 1 summarizes which colleges were examined and why each was chosen as exemplary or rejected. Table 2 summarizes which elements of a given institution's web course represent a best practice or a model worthy of emulation.
As Table 1 illustrates, the Course Development subcommittee members selected fifteen colleges as possible exemplary institutions based on different criteria which are also included in the Table. In summary, the most prominent initial selection criteria included a school being featured in a journal article, a committee member's personal experience with the institution, or a recommendation from another QEP subcommittee. Table 1 also explains why eight of these fifteen were ultimately considered exemplary and why the other seven were rejected.
Table 2 is organized according to the characteristics of the exemplary web course discussed above. The characteristics are described and the schools whose examined course(s) exhibit each characteristic are identified.
Objective 2: Year Two: Define the essential elements of online courses and develop a common course template. Elements may include but are not limited to course syllabus and course, instructor, and college information.
One list of these essential course elements is represented in Table 2, but the final determination of these elements will need to be decided. The faculty involved in online instruction, the deans who administer the curricula, and the vice president for academic affairs and student services will all need to be parties in the discussions which will result in the final determination of which elements need to be included in each CVCC online course and/or course syllabus.
Objective 3: Year Two: Incorporate the template into all online courses.
Naturally, it will take some time for all affected instructors to incorporate any missing elements into their particular course or course syllabus. This objective, however, will insure that all online courses do contain those elements deemed essential.