A Comprehensive Plan to Enhance the Quality of Online Education

Author Information
Julie Piercy
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Central Virginia Community College
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Central Virginia Community College creates the Quality Enhancement Plan which analyzes the effectiveness of the online learning program and formulates specific five-year goals and annual objectives to enhance quality of online education.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

In preparation for reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Central Valley Community College (CVCC) prepared a Quality Enhancement Plan which focused on improving the quality of our online learning program. The Quality Enhancement Plan represents a campus-wide, five-year effort to analyze the effectiveness of our online learning program and formulate specific five-year goals and annual objectives, which are then incorporated into the Strategic Long Range Plan of the College. This practice supports cost-effectiveness of online education by ensuring that every element's quality is high. Cost-effectiveness is an essential element in maintaining the higher education infrastructure: institutions are dependent upon tuition dollars and, this will erode if there is inconsistency in the provision of quality offerings.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

CVCC's Quality Enhancement Plan mandates the incorporation of cost- effectiveness analysis as well as the pursuit of grant funding and legislative support for online learning into the Strategic Plan of the College. The Strategic Plan objectives include: centralizing the assessment process for online learning, analysis of attrition/retention rates of asynchronous as compared to seated classes, analysis of learning of specific conceptual objectives and student performance for asynchronous as compared to seated classes, and development and implementation of best practices in orientation for asynchronous learning courses. The Quality Enhancement Plan also mandates analysis of requisite student support services for online learning environments as well as reasons for withdrawal for asynchronous as compared to seated courses. Because quality learning experiences in asynchronous learning networks are dependent upon the preparation, skill and dedication of teaching faculty, the Quality Enhancement Plan also includes review and improvement of faculty pedagogical and technological skills, as well as incentives and awards for excellence in online education. Since a cost-effective online education program dependents on an efficient technological infrastructure, the Quality Enhancement Plan also includes continual analysis and implementation of the most effective hardware and software systems that are available and affordable.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

*Grant writers to obtain grant funding: $10,000 per year for at least five years *Evaluation and purchases of appropriate hardware and software systems: $25,000 per year for at least five years *Replacement of web servers on a three-year life cycle and provision of redundant web services: $15,000 every three years *Professional Development for online teaching faculty: $30,000 per year for at least five years *Provision of online student support services for asynchronous learners: $5,000 per year for at least five years