By Dian Schaffhauser | 10/25/17
The Dallas County Community College District had grown its online learning programs organically for two decades when Terry Di Paolo, executive dean of online instructional services, decided it was time to take a "holistic view" of the programs to assess quality and create an improvement plan that aligned with its accreditation work.
Attendance in 2015 at a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) workshop introduced him to the Online Learning Consortium's Quality Scorecard. Other institutions at that event assured him that he could use the scorecard system across all seven colleges and various service centers that made up the district.
OLC's Quality Scorecards are worksheets that gives schools criteria and benchmarking tools to assess the effectiveness of their online instructional efforts. Broad assessment areas cover administration of online programs; blended learning; quality course teaching and instructional practices; digital courseware instructional practice; and course design, the last a rubric developed and shared by the State University of New York. Each document covers multiple details; for example, the "administration of online programs" rubric has 75 criteria, which are scored on four levels: deficient (zero points), developing (one point), accomplished (two points) and exemplary (three points).