2.4 Tools to assess and assure quality of online learning environments

So far, we have highlighted the key academic quality and governance components including legislative and policy environment, as well as the importance of learning outcomes and constructive alignment.  Now we will outline two frameworks or tools that are useful for assessing and assuring the quality of online learning environments.

Subject Review Tool (SRT)

We have developed the Subject Review Tool (SRT) that you can use to review various elements of your subject that are associated with teaching and learning.  You can use this tool for all learning environments, including online.  The SRT has been adapted for the Australian and JCU context from the Quality Matters Rubric.

The Subject Review Tool (SRT) has been designed to be a simple tool you can use to review your subject’s alignment with eight core focus areas that relate to learners’ experience.

  1. Subject overview and introduction
  2. Learning outcomes
  3. Assessment
  4. Learning materials
  5. Learning activities and learner interaction
  6. Use of technologies
  7. Learner support
  8. Accessibility and usability

Technology Enhanced Learning Accreditation Standards (TELAS) Framework

In 2021, the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) developed the TELAS Framework in response to the increasing demand for online learning.  The TELAS Framework is a set of internationally benchmarked standards, criteria and performance measures associated with the assessment, certification and recognition of online learning.

You can view and download the Accreditation Framework as PDF (1.4 Mb) and Word Doc (67 Kb).

The TELAS Framework focuses on the following key practice domains:

  1. Online learning environment;
  2. Learner support;
  3. Learning and assessment tasks;
  4. Learning Resources.

These domains are further divided into standards, specific performance criteria, and associated success indicators.

You will notice that there are similarities between the JCU-developed Subject Review Tool (SRT) and the components of the TELAS Framework.  The TELAS Framework does focus in more detail on aspects of the online learning environment, however, it does not take into account foundational quality aspects such as constructive alignment.

The TELAS Framework review process is multifaceted.  There is an opportunity for a formal peer review and accreditation process; however, academics can also use the TELAS Self-Assessment Tool (follow this link for more information).

As part of the ongoing cycle of quality improvement, we recommend that you consider using both tools to review your subjects to identify areas of strength and those areas that require enhancement.

Note:  Key members of the JCU LTSE team have undertaken the ‘Applying the Quality Matters Rubric’ and the ‘TELAS Certified Reviewer’ training.


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