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2 blended programs3 online programs3 instructional designers10+ new online courses each term1100+ faculty and students
Quality MattersThe Adler School has been a subscriber since 2012The QM Rubric has 8 general review standards41 specific review standards21 essential specific standards (3-points) and must be metThe remaining 20 standards are either 2-points or 1-point.To have a QM approved course, you must meet all 21 essential (3-point) standards and earn 85% overall which is 81 out of 95 points total.
Our QM Moodle Template Automatically meets 15 specific review standardsAnd is setup to meet 9 specific review standards
It automatically meets6 essential (3-point) standards4 2-point standards5 1-point standards
Is set up to meet6 essential (3-point) standards1 2-point standard2 1-point standards
Before we show you the template, I want to explain how it is used in our course design process.We first contract with a subject matter expert to design a course. The subject matter expert works with an instructional designer, who ultimately builds out the course as a master shell. Then each time a course is offered, the master shell is imported into the individual sections.So the QM Moodle Template is used by the Instructional Designer to create the master shell for a course.
Here is the bird’s eye view of our QM template in Moodle.Let’s start by looking closely at the top section of our template.There are some areas, which we will highlight, which do need to be completed by the individual instructors and other areas that are automatically applied to all courses.
The top section meets a large number of standards. On all screens, bold-italic standards are essential standards. Standards with an asterisk have the structure to meet the standard but will rely on the specific course or instructor to finalize. Our generic note about the getting started message helps meet standard 1.1 by telling students what to do first.The hidden red text is information for instructors to update when they teach the course. Our Getting started guide, covers many of the standards, which we will go into in more detail in a moment, similar with our syllabus.The social and introductions forum meets standard 1.8 by providing a place for students to introduce themselves.Now, let’s look closer at the Getting Started book. This book is standard for all courses and only changes if needed, ideally it can just be re-used.
Getting started begins with ‘Where to Start’. This explain to students how to get started, what to read, etc. Since we use completion tracking and restrict access, this helps explain the order they will need to complete certain activities.This page really focuses on how to navigate the course and what to do first. We included a screen shot so students can see what we are referring to.
The next chapter in the Getting Started book is “course tour” and “introduction to Moodle”. This chapter shows students how to learn more about navigating moodle and the course page in particular.
The course structure chapter shows how we break down each week or module.
Online Course Communication explains to students how and where they should communicate in the course. We are currently producing a video with our Director of Student Affairs, discussing the appropriate approach to communicating with an instructor. He discusses tone, talking to the instructor first, calling if e-mail does not work, and then who they can contact if the communication with the instructor does not work out.
The final chapter, Online Bookstore, directs students to where they can go to purchase textbooks for the course.
The next big part of our template is the course syllabus. We kind of look at this like a template within a template. Many portions of the syllabus will be updated by the instructional designer, based on information from the subject matter expert, and still other areas will be updated by the individual instructor each time they teach the course.
The syllabus starts out with course information. This page needs to be updated each time the course is taught. We do include information on how to write that information. This starts to meet standard 1.7 by sharing instructor contact information with the student.
Next, the Instructor Biography also needs to be updated each time the course is taught. We are really pushing our instructors to create a video biography, however we feel text and a picture will suffice too.
The course description is populated by the instructional designer. This really is the main piece for standard 1.2 in explaining the purpose of this course. We are also working with subject matter experts to create introduction videos to help meet this standard.
The course exit competencies are also loaded by the instructional designer. This is where we make sure that standard 2.1 is met – course learning objectives are clearly stated.
Chapter 5, Required Texts, lists the texts that students must purchase, with full citations. All other readings (links, pdfs, etc) are posted in the individual weeks with full citations.
Grading, this section is extremely important. At our school the grading scale is fixed, but then the instructional designer inputs the grade breakdown and list of activity types to meet standard 3.2 (course grading policy).Under the description of each activity, we include the student expectations for those items (standard 5.4); then we list a rubric for how each activity will be graded (standard 3.3) and when they will get feedback on those assignments (standard 5.3)
In the Student Expectations chapter, we go over any pre-requisites for the course, participation requirements, Technical skills required (standard 6.4). Then further down in this chapter, we list the minimum hardware/software requirements (standard 1.6) and the Netiquette policy (standard 1.3). Since these last two items are defined school wide, we actually created the content on an external website and embedded it within the chapter. This way, if updates are made, every syllabus is updated.
The Instructor Expectations chapter is where the instructor must update their turn-around time. We do give them a starting turn-around, but they can edit this based on their course.
The support chapter just redirects to the support block on the right side of the course, we will look at this closer soon. This block covers standards 7.1 (how technical support is offered), 7.3 (instructions on how to access support services), and 7.4 (what type of support services are available and how they can help students).
The Policies chapter also links to the block on the course page, then we have two sub-chapters.
One on Accessibility for standards 7.2 and 8.1. This policy is also embedded in the syllabus from an outside webpage.
And Academic Honesty, also embedded.
The final chapter of the syllabus has a course schedule. This goes over specific items for each week, it meets standard 5.3 by listing student participation expectations on activities and 4.6 by distinguishing between required and supplemental resources.
On the right side of every course, we have displayed a support block and a policy block. We apply these at the category level, customized by campus. Since our Chicago and Vancouver campuses have different contact information.
The support block includes information on Technical support, Moodle support, writing support, tutoring, and mentoring. APA style, library support, and then other student services such as financial aid, registrar, student accounts, and student affairs. We also include a link here to information for students with disabilities and student organizations.In the policies block, we link to various school wide policies that come from the student handbook.All of the linked content lives on outside sites and is maintained by the respective departments.
The final aspect our template is the weekly/module structure.
Within each week/module we have an approach to how it should be setup. We really strive to meet standard 6.3 (logical navigation) in this area.Then, we visibly list the weekly learning aims right on the page, standard 2.2.Then each week has a weekly overview, a resources section, and an activities section. We also differentiate between required and supplemental resources.Let’s look a little closer at the weekly overview page.
Inside the weekly overview we have a standard structure for the information.First we have the week number and topic, then an introduction.Again, we have the weekly learning aims (standard 2.2). Followed by directions to complete the week.Each resource is listed under required or supplemental (standard 4.6) with a full citation (4.3).Finally, activities are listed. We have a nomenclature for the activities that starts with the type of activity, then the week number dot activity number. Below each activity are directions and the specific assignment/question/topics/etc.
Designing a Moodle Template Based on Quality Matters Standards
Sarah Fornero & Colleen Fleming
Adler School of Professional Psychology