Online Course Quality

The Office of Digital Learning at the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning is committed to supporting faculty in creating online courses that are engaging and effective, by leveraging the latest research and industry best practices. Quality education doesn’t just happen; careful planning and thoughtful implementation are required.  

Our Checklist is more than just a list of tasks – it’s a roadmap for successful online teaching, highlighting key elements of course design and teaching practices that stimulate active learning and student engagement, reflecting Mason’s value of putting our students first. We understand that teaching online can seem daunting if you’re new to it. That’s why we’ve intentionally distilled key standards from leading online learning organizations like the Online Learning Consortium and Quality Matters into a practical checklist.

Review your Canvas course 

Use our Course Readiness Checklist for Canvas as a resource to help focus on key elements before publishing your migrated Canvas content. Additional resources can be explored on the Getting Canvas Ready ITS page.

Getting Started

Use our Checklist as your guide, not only while building your course, but also as a tool to reflect on your online teaching practices.   

If you need to quickly check your online course for quality essentials, check for the “essential” tag (#ESSENTIAL) in our Quality Checklist. By making sure you include (at least) these essential elements, you can begin on solid footing! 

Download the Online Quality Checklist (2024 revision) here

Using Our Online Quality Checklist

Our Checklist is intuitively structured, with columns for tracking evidence and jotting down comments, plans, or ideas. It is designed to support you at every stage of the online teaching journey: Pre-Launch, In-Progress, and Post-Course. 

Remember our Checklist isn’t just for individual faculty use. Departments and programs can also use it to review and improve previously taught online courses. Commitment to a reflective practice of continuous improvement works to ensure courses are relevant for our diverse learners. 

In our Checklist, quality indicators are presented for six areas for designing and teaching an online course. Each area has standards for online course design and teaching.  

  • Designing or Redesigning a Course: 1. Design & Accessibility; 2. Outcomes & Assessments; and 3. Tools & Technologies.  
  • Teaching or Facilitating a Course: 4. Instructor’s Role; 5. Community & Engagement; and 6. Continuous Improvement.  

Online Course Quality: Essential Elements

See highlights of Essential Quality Elements in this engaging infographic!  Use Online Course Quality: Essential Elements to get the most out of your course with these must-have quality elements.

Essential-Elements-Infographic

Contact QA TEAM

For any questions regarding Online Course Audit and/or Quality Assurance, please contact: qateam@gmu.edu