ION | Illinois Online Network

Quality Online Course Initiative

ION and the Illinois Virtual Campus have taken the lead to develop a quality online course rubric and evaluation system in the state of Illinois. The goal of this project is to help colleges and universities to improve accountability of their online courses.

The main objectives of this project were to:

  • create a useful evaluation tool (rubric) that can help faculty develop quality online courses
  • identify "best practices" in online courses
  • recognize faculty, programs, and institutions that are creating quality online courses

QOCI Rubric Categories

The first step of our process was to brainstorm criteria for what makes a quality online course. As we came up with our ideas, we noticed several patterns and overlapping information. Therefore, we decided to chunk the information in to six categories. Those categories and how each is defined within the rubic is listed below.

Each Category was then broken down into topics and finally individual critierion.

I. Instructional Design

Instructional Design refers to the analysis of learning needs and the systemic approach of developing an online course in a manner that facilitates the transfer of knowledge and skills to the learner through the use of a variety of instructional methods, which relate to multiple learning styles, strategies, and preferences.

II. Communication, Interaction, and Collaboration

Communication, Interaction, and Collaboration addresses how the course design, assignments, and technology effectively encourage exchanges amongst the instructor, students, and content.

III. Student Evaluation & Assessment

Student Evaluation and Assessment refers to the process your institution uses to determine student achievement and quality of work, including the assigning of grades.

IV. Learner Support and Resources

Learner Support and Resources refers to program, academic, and/or technical resources available to learners.

V. Web Design

Web Design refers to the use of Web pages, graphics, multimedia, and accessibility standards in the web pages of a course which are under the course developer's control.

VI. Course Evaluation

Course Evaluation refers to the processes and mechanisms used to elicit feedback from learners for the purpose of course improvement.

QOCI Rubric Evaluation Scale

We wanted to collect quantitative data to make comparing results within departments and/or institutions easier. We started with a six point Likert Scale; but we felt this did not allow for flexibility or weighting of criteria. Therefore, we decided to use narrative response types so that institutions could assign point values to each criterion as they see fit. This makes the tool more universal.

We recommend that institutions do not use this for evaluation purposes until standards have been introduced to faculty and design staff and benchmark data has been collected.

The scale is below.

The criterion is not present, but should be, based on course design and content; or present, but not appropriate for this course.

Developing: Some evidence of this criterion, but it needs to be presented more clearly or better developed.

Evidence of this criterion is clear and is appropriate for this course. More could possibly be added.

Evidence of this criterion is clear, appropriate for this course, and demonstrates practice that is exemplary in its use.

Not applicable based on course design and content.

QOCI Rubric & Checklist

Two versions of the rubric have been created. The first one is a complete rubric with checkboxes for evaluation and room for comments. The second version leaves out the evaluation marks or comments and serves only as a checklist for those wishing to design or redesign a course with these criteria in mind. The second version is much shorter in length and ranges from 7 to 8 pages; whereas, the complete rubric is approximately 25 pages long.

Complete Rubric
Rubric with Evaluation Checkboxes and Comment Areas: Download Now

Rubric without Evaluation Checkboxes and Comment Areas: Download Now

Web Rubric Example
Web-based Rubric without the ability to rate or comment: Click Here

Web Rubric
Web-based Rubric with the ability to rate and comment: Click Here

Creative Commons License
Quality Online Course Initiative Rubric by Illinois Online Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
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List of Related Links

  1. Online Education Surveys