In our Teaching with Technology Committee meeting (subdivision committee) we discuss information related to what is happening institution-wide as well as in our division and subdivision. Groups of faculty, administrators and staff serve on committees throughout the College, but sometimes the right hand isn’t necessarily aware of what the left hand is doing. Since we are a large community college serving over 30,000 students and have multiple committees (we even have a Committee on Committees), we can experience redundancy or a lag time in communication between committees that share common goals. It is an area we are continuously striving to improve.
During a recent Instructional Technology Committee meeting (institution-wide committee), Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (via the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions C-RAC 2001) were shared. This is an important document which identifies nine hallmarks of quality online courses:
- Online learning is appropriate to the institution’s mission and purposes.
- The institution’s plans for developing, sustaining, and, if appropriate, expanding online learning offerings are integrated into its regular planning and evaluation processes.
- Online learning is incorporated into the institution’s systems of governance and academic oversight.
- Curricula for the institution’s online learning offerings are coherent, cohesive, and comparable in academic rigor to programs offered in traditional instructional formats.
- The institution evaluates the effectiveness of its online offerings, including the extent to which the online learning goals are achieved, and uses the results of its evaluations to enhance the attainment of the goals.
- Faculty responsible for delivering online learning curricula and evaluating the students’ success in achieving the online learning goals are appropriately qualified and effectively supported.
- The institution provides effective student and academic services to support students enrolled in online learning offerings.
- The institution provides sufficient resources to support and, if appropriate, expand its online learning offerings.
- The institution assures the integrity of its online learning offerings.
According to the Instructional Technology Council, accreditation standards require that distance education courses are equivalent, or better than, those taught in a traditional face-to-face classroom environment. The learning outcomes must be the same, regardless of instructional delivery method.
In order to promote efficiency in our working relationships, it is imperative to keep the lines of communication open — committees collaborating with committees. For example, we archive our committee meeting minutes in a Blackboard shell in an ongoing effort to exchange information. We invite a variety of College committee members to our committee meetings to share resources. Working together within a transparent structure is an effective way to be consistent in delivering quality online education.