Quality Matters Launches New Quality Assurance Recognition for Course-Sharing

In collaboration with Acadeum, higher education institutions will gain a new marker of quality assurance for online course-sharing initiatives between colleges and universities.

Quality Matters (QM), a non-profit quality assurance organization dedicated to improving quality in online and digital learning, announced new standards today that will recognize quality in course-sharing, focused on ensuring learners can seamlessly advance their academic progress in courses that are well-designed, have a high level of support and are taught by a qualified instructor. The new framework, which was developed by Quality Matters, with expert insights from Acadeum, creator of the largest course-sharing marketplace used by more than 500 institutions of higher education, and representatives from the course sharing community, includes criteria designed to allow QM  to review institutional processes for online course design and delivery at teaching institutions and recognize them for quality. Additionally, QM released guidelines for home institutions, where the learner is enrolled, to ensure students receive appropriately transcripted credit.

The new recognition comes as colleges and universities further seek to help meet learner demands in accessing courses they need at the time they need them. A recent report from Ad Astra found that 57% of students are currently in blocked completion paths, meaning they are missing multiple course requirements needed to complete their degree. By leveraging the consortial model, course-sharing enables learners to count all of their courses towards their GPA, financial aid, and graduation requirements at their home institutions, ensuring that they don’t waste credits or time on their path to a credential of value.

“Online course-sharing has enormous potential to solve many of higher education’s most pressing issues by unlocking existing academic capacity,” said Dr. Deb Adair, Chief Executive Officer of Quality Matters. “Achieving this potential requires assurance for institutions and their learners that these courses are delivered in a high quality manner. We are grateful to Acadeum for their commitment and foresight to champion this need to recognize excellence and ensure transparency”

The standards come following a year-long pilot program to develop and test this framework to ensure course-sharing is leading to a quality learning experience. The work included an advisory committee of experts at home and teaching institutions who have actively participated in course sharing, including many within the Acadeum marketplace.

“Online learning has proven to dramatically expand access to learners in a way that meets their needs and current life situation; but, too often it can be perceived as low quality or not up to par with face-to-face instruction. Today’s technology provides opportunities to pair best-in-class instruction with unprecedented student support,” said Dave Daniels, CEO of Acadeum. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Quality Matters to ensure the implementation of standards to fulfill the promise of online learning of the highest caliber.”

Institutions seeking to enroll students in a partner institution’s course through Acadeum now have the option of searching for courses that align with QM’s quality standards. The guidelines will be applicable and available for use in any course-sharing context. To learn more about the recognition and how your school can earn this designation, please email info@qualitymatters.org.

About Acadeum

Acadeum helps colleges and universities expand academic resources that support student progress and equitable access to workforce opportunities. Today, more than 500 higher education institutions are members of the Acadeum network to offer in-demand courses and credentials they need to keep learners on track, and bolster existing or offer new programs. Institutions can improve retention and completion, and offer workforce-aligned and stackable certifications, while also unlocking new revenue to increase financial sustainability. To learn more about Acadeum, please visit www.acadeum.com.

About Quality Matters

Grounded in research. Driven by best practices. A community that puts learners first. Quality Matters (QM) is the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. It provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and blended learning used within and across organizations. When you see QM Certification Marks on courses or programs, it means they have met QM Course Design Standards or QM Program Review Criteria in a rigorous review process.

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