Evaluating Quality in Fully Online U.S. University Courses: A Comparison of University of Maryland University College and Troy University
ResumoA key component of quality assurance in online higher education is the periodic evaluation of fully online courses, by both internal and external reviewers, against standards developed by the offering institution. These standards can address a variety of quality areas including but not limited to: the organization and structure of the online course; the extent to which technology is used to foster learning and student engagement; and the use of available communication features to stimulate student discussion and interaction. In this paper the online evaluation processes and criteria of the two largest U.S. state universities involved in online education – University of Maryland University College and Troy University – are compared. It will be shown that the two institutions arrived independently at very similar quality standards for online courses, and that these standards are congruent with those developed and promulgated by nationwide higher education accreditation agencies in the U.S.
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