Jay Mathews of The Washington Post discusses the unfortunate case of a Michigan middle school that replaced teachers with online instruction to disastrous results and puts this episode in the context of a persistent trend to economize education.
iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses (Version 2)
"The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. National Standards for Quality Online Courses is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online course content, instructional design, technology, student assessment, and course management.
The original initiative in version one of the standards began with a thorough literature review of existing online course quality standards, followed by a survey offered to representatives of the iNACOL network to ensure the efficacy of the standards adopted. As a result of the research review, iNACOL had chosen to fully endorse the work of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Quality Online Course Standards as a comprehensive set of criteria.* The standards as identified by SREB, already in use by sixteen SREB states, proved to be the most comprehensive and included guidelines set forth in the other criteria from the literature review. A full cross-reference of standards is available, including the iNACOL-endorsed NEA Guide to Teaching Online Courses, which included the key fundamental criteria. We were and are still grateful for SREB's work and for their permission to distribute these standards on a national scale.
Since the original standards were released, other organizations have released quality standards for online courses. iNACOL organized a team of experts in the area of course development, instructional design, professional development, research, education, and administration to review these new standards and new literature around the topic and determined there was a need to refresh version one of the iNACOL standards. The same process was used in developing version two of the standards in addition to having version one as a starting point in the development of the new version.
Over the past three years, iNACOL has received feedback that several organizations are using these standards in the development and review of online courses. In this new version of the standards, reviewer considerations have been added for each indicator. Additionally, a rubric has been included to assist in the review of online courses based on this new version. iNACOL would like to thank the Texas Education Agency's Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) for developing and sharing this rubric.
These guidelines should be implemented and monitored by each district or organization, as they reserve the right to apply the guidelines according to the best interest of the population for which they serve."
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