It’s Quality Matters Day! Each week, we highlight a Quality Matters standard and review its importance in an online course and how we evaluate this standard.
Today, we are reviewing Quality Matters Standards 1.5
General Standard 1 addresses the course overview and introduction.
Standard 1.5 addresses the inclusion of technological requirements and instructions for technologies utilized in your course.
- In order to meet QM Standard 1.5, you’ll want to make sure that your learners are provided with “detailed, clearly worded information regarding the technologies they will need throughout the course. Per QM, the use of the word ‘technologies’ encompasses a broad spectrum, including “hardware, software, subscriptions, and plug-ins.” While it may seem unnecessary for an online course, students should be informed as early as possible about all the technologies being used, instructions for how to use them and the latest plug-ins they’ll need in order to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Examples here will include obvious technologies such as webcams, software, and 3rd party publisher materials, but also less obvious things like links to updated browser downloads, lists of minimal computer specifications and Learning Management System instructions.
- Remember, Standard 1.5 deals primarily with technological requirements (the technologies themselves), as opposed to standard 1.7, which deals with technological skills (the minimal skillset needed to navigate modern technologies). That said, here’s three things to keep in mind as you enable your students to maximize their use of course technologies:
Create a Checklist: Think through all the technologies you’ll be using before the semester starts. Are you adopting an online textbook? Will students need webcams in order to deliver a presentation for their peers? Will they be uploading videos to class YouTube channel? Keep track of all the above, and begin seeking out information you can share with students.
Inform and Instruct: Get as much relevant information you can about the technology in question. If you’re concerned about information overload, note that you don’t have to include all of it in your course, but consider placing web links in a single, central location, such as ‘Start Here’ page or the syllabus, that students will encounter early in the course. Also be sure to prioritize this information and include instructions for technologies they’ll be using right away first, like publisher materials that require access codes.
Know Thy Technology– As a rule of thumb, don’t ask students to use technology that you’re not familiar with yourself. No matter how well-intentioned, creating an assignments that depend on utilizing complex software, hardware, or social media tools that you’ve never used can easily back-fire if you’re not in the know. If you’re interested in implementing unfamiliar tech tools in your course, make sure you’ve taken the time to tinker with them prior to the start of the semester. If you’re not sure where to start, ask the IT team, or an instructional designer at your institution.
AP Guidance: Don’t forget to include the minimum technological requirements and instructions so learners can maximize all the tech resources you’ve included in your course!
Click here to access Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace. The Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace is a free, searchable database built to serve the broad QM community with an easy-to-use eLearning product/service directory organized within the 8 general standards of the rubric as well as by user and product categories.
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