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Online courses quality standards

10/17/2013 category: others 

Backgrounds and scope: As far as e-learning is concerned, two directions ofstandardization can be indicated. The first one refers to technological backgrounds oflearning processes and the role of ICT as a means of knowledge delivery and the other oneis linked to organizational and methodological issues of those processes. In the first contextfollowing factors must be considered: functionality of e-learning platform, a bandwidth ofcommunication and transmission canals and interoperability of virtual learning environment.In this category such standardization bodies like: ADL initiative, LTSC IEEE or IMS GlobalLearning Consortium can be mentioned. Those previously competing organizations havefinally joined their efforts, what resulted in recent years in common technical regulationsbased on SCORM specification.

Much more complex issue, however, is standardization of e-learning activities with regard to their organizational and pedagogical aspects. Educational processes are strongly context dependent and therefore must be assessed exactly in that context, with respect to local regulations as well as cultural and country specific learning conditions. Therefore, it is quite difficult to establish a common and universal set of e-learning standards that might be applied in every country. In an international context it is possible only to some extent – namely, some general specifications can be formulated and some sets of best practices can be recommended. European Quality Observatory introduced by EFQUEL foundation can serve as an example of such initiative.

COE research and results: Representatives of COE SGH team play active role in the work on quality assessment criteria for online courses. This work was started by the Association of Academic E-learning in a year 2006. The main goal of a project is to elaborate a tool aimed at measuring the quality of e-learning initiatives at Polish universities and other tertiary education institutions. At the first stage the criteria for quality of individual online courses have been prepared. It is foreseen that the work will be continued and extended to complex e-learning initiatives. Such criteria are also intended to play informative and educational role for those, who want to learn how to properly design and introduce e-learning courses at their universities. Therefore, representatives of COE research team consistently participate in popularization of elaborated criteria preparing the conference presentations and workshops aimed at e-learning practitioners.

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