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Quality Online Learning and Teaching

The Quality Online Learning and Teaching (QOLT) framework is a set of nine principles used to design and evaluate online teaching and learning. QOLT is based on extensive research and careful consideration of existing models for assessing effective online teaching and learning. Each of the nine sections contains multiple objectives that give instructors a close-up view of a quality online/hybrid course. You can also visit QOLT website for more details about the history and status of QOLT.

Select one of the principles below to see the objectives under each one, or view/download a PDF with this information.

Section 1: Course Overview and Introduction

This section addresses how well the instructor describes the course and introduces students to the course protocol and expectations.

1.1 Gives students instructions how to get started and shows them how to access to schedule, calendar, and syllabus
1.2 Provides a course description that includes purpose and format of course and prerequisites
1.3 Provides instructor contact info, a brief biography, availability information, and a picture for students
1.4 States etiquette expectations for online discussions, email, and other communication
1.5 Defines academic integrity and provides links to institutional policies
1.6 Tells students what technical competencies are required for the course
1.7 Provides samples of student work and opportunities for students to ask questions
1.8 Asks students to share their own learning goals

Section 2: Assessment of Student Learning

This section addresses the process used to gather evidence of the achievement of the student learning objectives and outcomes.

2.1 Provides course SLOs (Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives) that are specific, well-defined, and measurable
2.2 States grading policy clearly
2.3 Makes sure learning activities (including graded and ungraded activities) promote the achievement of SLOs
2.4 Provides assessments that are sequenced, varied, and appropriate to the student work being assessed
2.5 Provides multiple opportunities for students to receive feedback to check their progress
2.6 Provides multiple opportunities for students to provide feedback on their learning and on the course

Section 3: Instructional Materials and Resources

This section addresses the variety of materials and material formats the instructor has chosen to present course content and enable students to meet relevant learning outcomes.

3.1 Shows how students acquire course materials in advance
3.2 Tells whether materials are required or recommended
3.3 Demonstrates how materials relate to course and module learning objectives
3.4 Gives students options on how to acquire course materials
3.5 Uses different types of instructional materials (doesn’t over-rely on text)
3.6 Cites all materials used in course

Section 4: Student Interaction and Community

This section addresses how well (1) the instructor provides opportunities for students to interact with the content, peers, instructors and the Learning Management System, and (2) the course design enables students to become active learners and contribute to the online course community.

4.1 Gives students opportunity to introduce themselves to develop the sense of community
4.2 Provides students with the information and resources they need to be a successful online learner
4.3 Makes it easy for students to navigate and interact with the course
4.4 Provides learning activities to encourage ongoing and frequent human interactions (e.g. Instructor-to-Students)
4.5 Provides learning activities to encourage ongoing and frequent students-content interactions
4.6 Articulates modes and requirements for student interaction
4.7 Explains instructor’s role regarding instructor’s participation in the class
4.8 Provides learning activities to help students understand fundamental concepts and build skills

Section 5: Facilitation and Instruction

This section addresses how well the instructor facilitates the course, communicates with students, engages students to be active learners, and reinforces the development of a sense of community among course participants.

5.1 Helps identify areas of agreement and disagreement on course topics
5.2 Helps guide the class towards understanding course topics
5.3 Keeps class engaged and participating in productive dialogue
5.4 Encourages students to explore new concepts
5.5 Helps the class focus discussions on relevant issues
5.6 Provides feedback in a timely manner
5.7 Sends communications about important goals and course topics
5.8 Keeps students on task with reminders about due dates, duration of modules, and other instructions

Section 6: Technology for Teaching and Learning

This section addresses how well the instructor utilizes technology to effectively deliver course content, engage students in learning activities (individual, student-to-student, and instructor-to-student), and allow students to express themselves or demonstrate learning.

6.1 Uses tools and media that support the SLOs
6.2 Uses tools and media to support student engagement and encourage students to interact with CONTENT
6.3 Uses tools and media to support student engagement and encourage students to interact with PEOPLE
6.4 Tells students how and where to access the technologies used
6.5 Articulates acceptable formats for assignment completion and submission
6.6 Uses current tools provided within campus Learning Management System

Section 7: Learner Support and Resources

This section addresses the program, academic, and/or technical resources available to learners.

7.1 Shows where students can go to help for technical support and explains how to access them
7.2 Provides information on academic support services (e.g. library) and explains how to access them
7.3 Provides information on student support services (e.g. registration) and explains how to access them

Section 8: Accessibility and Universal Design

This section addresses the course's adherence to accessibility and universal design principles that are critical to some learners but that benefit all learners.

8.1 Provides an accessibility policy (ADA compliant statement) of the course/institution and the LMS
8.2 Explains how the instructor will help students who have a registered disability
8.3 Provides course materials and file formats that are accessible
8.4 Provides accessible online tools or equally effective alternative access

Section 9: Course Summary and Wrap-up

This section addresses the opportunities students are given to summarize the semester, establish the connection between this course and other courses, and prepare to start the next phase of their program/progress.

9.1 Provides opportunities to help students form closure and foster insight into their accomplishments
9.2 Provides feedback about student overall learning and progress
9.3 Provides opportunities for students to reflect on learning and make connections with their expectation