The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

QC and QA in eLearning Courses in Higher Education

If we define quality assurance (QA) as the a standard procedure to ensure that an eLearning course conforms and abides to established requirements – pedagogical, technical and otherwise. And further define quality control (QC) as the operations geared towards checking for the fulfillment of the requirements, who would be in-charge of QA and QC in eLearning courses? Is it the eLearning support team. or the Subject matter experts (SMEs) or the faculty? What aspects of the Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/C) would fall on the hands of the eLearning support and why? Who determines the standards to be adhered to in eLearning courses?

I ask this because of a number of reasons. One, as a member of the eLeanring support team, I do not think its within my domain to offer the QA/C of eLearning courses – at least not the content. What I can only offer, is the adherence to the technical standards, that vary from one context to another. The level of educational quality of the content I cannot assure, neither can I control. Two, I wonder how QA/C is done for the traditional brick and mortar teaching and learning approach.Who does the QA/C of courses being offered f2f? How is the QA/C done and how often? Thirdly, with the emergency of 101 “eLearning Universities” what quality standards will we use to gauge the strength and quality of any certification attained from these universities?

One of the ways I think can be employed to improve on the quality of eLearning courses is making them open, or at least accessible through less restrictive licenses. This way, we will have a good review from peers, and also a good exposure of our ideas to criticism – that might point out to us all the misconceptions and inaccuracies that we might be holding and propagating in the courses we teach. Of course not everyone will be open to criticism especially if it is in a field where he believes to hold an unquestionable authority, but if through practices one can learn to accept criticism.

Another way of improving on the quality of online courses is through cooperation and collaboration. There are courses offered by different universities (or departments) that are similar. If all the universities collaborated in offering a course – say “Introduction to research methods”, we will have, in my opinion, a superior course gathering expertise and resources from a number of professionals. This approach not only improves on the quality, but also it saves on resources due to the minimised duplication of efforts. For example, I took the faculty information booklets of a university and I found out that almost every department offers a course in research methods, each offered differently. This is a waste of the scarce resources.

For now, lets make our courses open, and lets also cooperate and collaborate with like minded people to ensure improved quality in eLearning course.

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