Online Course Quality Criteria

Consider using the following criteria to review online courses for quality.

Educational Content

  • Do the course materials represent substantive content equivalent to or surpassing the content a student would be introduced to in an onsite course?
  • Does the content seem appropriate for the subject being taught?
  • Is the content likely to be clear to learners and faculty who access it?
  • Do the materials present significant concepts and skills for the discipline?
  • Do the course materials make it clear what the learner is expected to do to successfully progress through the content.
  • Are the teaching and learning goals easy to identify?
  • Are expected student learning outcomes clearly stated?

Design and Usability

  • Do the lessons provide clear progression steps and intuitive navigation paths?
  • Does the content utilize effective instructional design and learning principles?
  • Do the course materials support learning by providing a variety of activities and experiences that encourage active engagement with the course content?
  • Are there opportunities to measure prerequisite skills, assess that learning is taking place, and apply knowledge or skills presented?
  • Do the course materials utilize authentic and multiple methods of assessment to measure student learning?
  • Does the content require a lot of additional skills, technical support, and/or other instruction for most students to successfully use the material?
  • Is the content presented in ways that would be attractive to students

Interactivity and Community

  • Does the design of the course material encourage frequent student-student, student-faculty, and student-material interaction?
  • Are there ongoing opportunities for collaboration, group problem solving, discussion of assignments, and sharing of ideas?

Use of Multimedia

  • Do the course materials include multiple forms of media and is the multimedia used in ways that advance learning?
  • Are clear instructions provided for accessing multimedia? (i.e. plug-ins, players)
  • Do the course materials include external online resources in relation to activities and lessons to enhance the learning experience?
  • Can pages be downloaded within a reasonable period of time even without a broadband connection?
  • Does the use of (interactive) multimedia improve faculty and students' abilities to teach and learn the material

Developed by Vivie Sinou

Last Updated September 12, 2014
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