How Does My Online Course & Online Teaching Show Quality?


  • Darlene Smucny George Mason University



Stearns Center-Digital Learning is committed to supporting excellence in online education, to meet/exceed research-based quality standards for online teaching and learning. To help Mason faculty and departments identify online quality, we have piloted a self-assessment tool for faculty, âHow Does My Online Course Show Quality?â  The quality indicators in the self-assessment represent standards that are research-based and recognized by leading organizations for online quality, e.g., Online Learning Consortium and Quality Matters. The self-assessment presents quality indicators for 9 categories for Online Course Design (1. Course Overview and Navigation; 2. Learning Outcomes; 3. Accessibility; 4. Course Materials & Resources) and Online Teaching & Learner Support (5. Instructor Presence & Communication; 6. Learning Activities; 7. Grading and Feedback; 8. Learner Support; 9. Technology Support).  For each category, we provide a list of possible examples showing evidence for quality.  In the self-assessment, faculty first reviews the indicators and examples; then prepares a brief narrative for each of the 9 quality categories, describing the specific evidence for quality in their online course; identifying a stand-out practice from their course for each category; and listing anything that they would like to improve, enhance, or explore before teaching the online course again.  The Online Teaching & Learner Support categories of the self-assessment may be used separately, for faculty teaching an already-developed online course. The self-assessment framework also may be revised for use as a peer-review tool, for departments to review quality of online courses and online teaching.  

Author Biography

Darlene Smucny, George Mason University

Stearns Center for Teaching & Learning

Assistant Director