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Making the Virtual Classroom a Reality

Quality Assurance and Accountability in Online/Distance Learning

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Examination of Quality assurance strategies and issues. Review of processes, philosophies, and strategies for building appropriate accountability processes into online learning programs toward the successful accreditation of online degrees and integration of online programs into the mainstream institutional catalog.


Distance learning administrators, faculty members, professional support staff associated with distance learning programs, courses, or faculty.


Topics to be Covered

  • Orientation that allows participants to introduce themselves to each other.
  • Accreditation as it relates to distance education.
  • Program Development as it relates to quality assurance.
  • Course Development as it relates to quality assurance.
  • Instruction as it relates to quality assurance.
  • Academic Services as it relates to quality assurance.
  • Evaluation & Assessment as it relates to quality assurance.


The course has the following modules:

  1. Introductions, Orientation, and getting started
  2. Accreditation
  3. Program Development
  4. Course Development
  5. Instruction
  6. Academic Services
  7. Evaluation and Assessment
  8. Final Project


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the accreditation process and how it relates to quality assurance within distance education initiatives.
  • Examine institutional, departmental, and course policies and procedures for developing a quality online program.
  • Discuss academic and technical support services for students and faculty and their relationship to quality online programming.
  • Identify the components of a quality course from a design perspective.
  • Outline desired competencies quality online instructor and processes for hiring, training, and developing such faculty.


During the course of the class, students will:

  • Develop a list of components that contribute to quality programming, course design, and online instruction.
  • Review Accreditation Standards as they relate to distance education.
  • Analyze two quality course design rubrics and discuss the benefits and challenges of implementing these tools in the design process.
  • Develop a comprehensive policy manual with procedures on how to evaluate the quality of each policy.
  • Participate in class and small group discussions as a way of articulate understanding of course content and gaining insight from one another.
  • Complete module activities directly relating to the final project: a proposal for implementing a new support or development module.
  • Attend synchronous meetings as a means for interacting with one another, the instructor, and guests (2 Required Meetings).


This course runs eight (8) weeks, including an online orientation and six content modules.


The course is conducted at a level appropriate for graduate study.

Additional readings will be provided as links inside the course.


The following activities and requirements apply to this course:

  • Read the lesson introductions and other assigned reading materials.
  • Answer weekly discussion questions related to the assigned readings.
  • Engage in positive and meaningful dialogue with classmates concerning the course subject matter.
  • Complete weekly assignments.
  • Write a summary of the key items covered each week and how they apply to your work environment.
  • Meet synchronously with the instructor twice. The first synchronous meeting must be before the end of week 2, and the second meeting must be between weeks four and six. There are a few ways of fulfilling this requirement. You can either attend one of the previously scheduled virtual office hours or you can make an individual appointment at a time that is mutually agreed upon.


Completely Online. Several forms of communication will be used during this course.
Moodle Forums --Moodle discussion forums are the heart of this online course. It is where you will submit most/all of your assignments, and where you will discuss your work with your classmates.
Elluminate Live --Elluminate is an example of a multi-modal synchronous delivery system.
Email --You have the ability to subscribe to Moodle discussions so that you can read course activity within your email client. This is also one means of communicating privately with classmates or instructors.

In addition, the following methods may be used during the course:
Skype Skype is a free VoiP service that can be an effective way for the instructor to interact with students or for students to interact with each other. It includes a chat and file transfer capability that can also be useful in this course. Telephone --The telephone is still sometimes the most effective mode for troubleshooting technology problems or other issues related to the course. Your instructor's phone numbers and other contact information can be found above.


You will probably spend a minimum of 8 - 12 hours a week working on the course itself; however, the time commitment will vary depending on your input, needs, and personal study habits. Participants are required to log on to the course a minimum of 4 times a week, but as discussions develop, you will probably log on more often (5-6 days a week).

Credit Options

This course is available for Continuing Education Units only at this time. Efforts are under way to provide Academic credit.


A fee is incurred for anyone enrolled in an Advanced Online Seminar, although there is a discount for ION members. (Only Diamond level ION partners are exempt.) The fee is determined by the number of contact hours and online discussion requirements for the course. To view the fee schedule for a specific section of this course, visit the Schedule and click on the link for that section (e.g. TM1051).

Taking a course for Graduate Credit through the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS):
Most MVCR courses [not the Advanced Online Seminars] may be taken for graduate credit through UIS. You do not pay twice if you choose this route. You pay only the tuition and fees associated with UIS enrollment. If you choose to enroll through UIS, you need to follow the instructions. You do not register through this site.

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Taking Courses for Academic Credit

Most 8-week MVCR courses can also be taken for academic credit through the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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Suggested Tracks

Instruction Centric

  • Online Learning
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Encouraging Comm.
  • Elective
  • Practicum

Technology Centric

  • Online Learning
  • Technology Tools
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Elective (Multimedia or Sims, Labs, Games, and VR)
  • Practicum

Support Professional

  • Online Learning
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Universal Design
  • Elective (Supporting Students, Copyright, Global eLearning, Blended/Hybrid, Librarians Collaborating, Multimedia Principles)
  • Practicum

COLA - track

  • Administration Seminar
  • Quality Assurance
  • Issues and Strategies in Faculty Training
  • Supporting Students Online

Choose one of the following three for your elective:

  • Administration of Online Programs
  • Copyright
  • Blended - Hybrid Learning Design and Instruction
  • Practicum for Administrators
What They're Saying
"This has been one of the best professional development activities I've ever taken part in."     

MVCR Participant

Award winning courses

The MVCR program won the Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Develop-ment (in conjunction with other ION programs) from the Sloan-consortium in 2002. One of our instructors won the WebCT Exemplary Online Course Award for an MVCR course as well.

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