Instructional practices at CCCOnline are based on the “Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs” developed by the Western Cooperative of Higher Education (WCET). These standards have been adopted by most higher-education accreditation agencies in the US.
Community of Practice
The WCET Best Practices document states that “Education is best experienced within a community of learning where competent professionals are actively and cooperatively involved with creating, providing, and improving the instructional program” (WCET). Our goal is to support best practices among our instructors. Supporting and honoring excellence in teaching remains the central value of our organization.
A best practices “community of learning” is built through the interactions between students and instructors, students and their peers, and students and the content. Instructors engage students through interaction and course content. For purposes of instructor evaluations, the CCCOnline Quality Assurance Program focuses primarily on student/instructor interaction. See Quality Assurance Discussion page for more information.
Supporting Teaching Excellence
CCCOnline’s formal Quality Assurance Program was developed following interviews with instructors and students and a review of the research on quality practices in online learning. Our goal is to support student learning and honor excellence in teaching.
All CCCOnline instructors are expected to strive for excellence in teaching, including meeting or exceeding Quality Assurance expectations.
In summary, CCCOnline instructors are evaluated as follows:
- The Program Chair reviews each course the Thursday before a term begins to ensure that all courses are ready for the new semester.
- The Quality Assurance team evaluates the course discussions of each new instructor by the third week of a semester.
- During the semester, the Quality Assurance team measures instructor participation in course discussions according to the Quality Assurance rubric.
- Students complete course evaluations near the end of each term. Results are available to instructors via the CCCOnline Portal after the term ends.
- Instructors complete an annual training requirement. Refer to the Professional Development Policy for more information. (See Professional Development Policy section of the Instructor Handbook accessible through the CCCOnline Portal.)
Student evaluations and research into adult learning make it clear that discussion is one of the most valuable online learning tools. We have learned that sense of community can be very important to online retention. Instructors may develop discussion management and engagement skills through the required Managing Discussions workshop.