NACOL Releases Online Education Quality Standards
The North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) has released National Standards of Quality for Online Courses, a publication detailing quality standards for judging the effectiveness of online education.
In terms of K-12 education, online learning usage is growing by 30 percent each year. NACOL said it chalks that up to idea that online learning "levels the playing field" for students and provides a practical way of enhancing the learning experience.
The standards let educators rate online education based on content, instructional design, student assessment, technology, course evaluation and management, and 21st Century skills, as outlined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
"Standards help ensure the quality and consistency of online learning in K-12," said NACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick, in a prepared statement. "The National Standards of Quality for Online Courses offers an important measuring tool to help policy leaders, schools, and parents across the nation evaluate course quality and implement best practices."
NACOL based its standards on results from a review and survey of online course criteria detailed in the Standards for Quality Online Courses produced by the Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB), which is used by the 16 Southern states in the United States. NACOL adopted the standard and incorporated additional criteria to ensure its standards help programs on a national scale.
"For online learning to expand and grow, students, parents and policy- and decision-makers need assurance that the online courses are of quality, said Bill Thomas, SREB's Director of Educational Technology, in a prepared statement. "If providers of online courses meet these standards, there is little doubt that online learning will grow rapidly."
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