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Quality Criteria for Online Course

Areas of assessment

The AAE Quality Criteria for Online Course cover the following four areas: course organization, course development, course realization and course evaluation.

Criteria in course organization area
Criteria in course organization area concern preparations for effective course realization and creation of conditions necessary to meet this goal. Because IT infrastructure and especially virtual learning environment are very important it is assessed whether they are chosen and configured properly. Then the ways in which students are enrolled to the course and informed about its rules are considered. A number of criteria cover tutor's preparation to the course instruction. There is also a group of them which aims at eliminating the limitations students might face in participating in the course. This area includes also the criteria which enable to assess if there are means and procedures designed and planned to protect against unexpected events that may happen on both course organizer and student side.

Criteria in course development area
Criteria in course development area concern instructional design, content and technologies applied in the course. It is assessed whether the course scenario leads to realize educational goals, whether the course has properly and clearly designed structure and whether its content is correctly organized from instructional and technological perspectives. There are also criteria which concern methods of instruction chosen for the course and instruction techniques applied in the course. The criteria check if they support students' perception, concentration and memorizing, consolidation and verification of new knowledge and connection between theory and its practical application. This area includes criteria which check the rationality and consistency of students assessment system designed for the course as well as assessment methods used in it. The important group of criteria verifies relevance, reliability and usefulness of technical solutions applied in the course. The technological and social accessibility of the course is also assessed in course development area.

Criteria in course realization area
In course realization area the criteria enable to assess whether the online course is properly realized in a given organizational context and for given group of students. The criteria concentrate on tutor activity as it significantly influences the course. His/her preparation for the course and the conformity of his/her activity with course instructional design are assessed. The criteria focus also on communication and interaction between the tutor and students as well as on feedback information students receive about their activity and progress. Existence of students learning society plays an important role in virtual environment. Therefore the criteria include questions considering the role of tutor in motivating students and integrating them. Few criteria assess, whether students obey course rules. Others check if the operations of course ICT infrastructure are monitored in such a way that barriers to access to the course are eliminated.

Criteria in course evaluation area
The criteria in evaluation area concern the course post-realization assessment as it is assumed that every realization of the course should be finished with an evaluation. The criteria in this area should check if it is properly designed and conducted and if it includes all important elements, processes and events of the course organization, development and realization.
The aim of the course evaluation is to decide whether the course should be continued or if any improvements should be made. The assessment of evaluation process conducted when the course is developed enables to check the correctness of designed evaluation procedures. The same assessment made at the end of the course enables to assess the correctness of the evaluation process.
The criteria in this area list groups of problems in evaluation which should be assessed and also give the examples of course evaluation means. The criteria in this area are not grouped as it is assumed that evaluator may consider them in different aspects (what is recommended) by changing the way information about the course are collected and processed and by confronting opinions and assessments provided by different actors involved in the course.
Quality criteria for Online course
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