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Two schools earn highest level of online learning endorsement

June 24th, 2016

online learning

Expanded OLC Quality Scorecard measures excellence in the administration of online or blended learning programs within higher education institutions

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), a professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of digital learning worldwide, announced that the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Baker College have earned the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, recognizing the outstanding quality of their online learning programs.

“The concept of quality in online education can be elusive and complex,” said Kathleen Ives, DM, chief executive officer and executive director, OLC. “The OLC Quality Scorecard enables administrators to identify, measure and quantify elements of quality within their online education programs. UWL and Baker College offer tremendous models of excellence in online learning, and we are delighted to be able to recognize their exemplary programs with the Quality Scorecard’s highest level of endorsement.”

The OLC Quality Scorecard uses research-based benchmarks and standards of excellence to help higher education institutions evaluate their online learning programs. Institutions use the scorecard to determine strengths and opportunities for improvement of their programs, and to initiate planning efforts to address areas that require enhancement.

In addition to giving an institution a means to convey confidence in the quality of its programs to prospective students, the scorecard can be used to demonstrate the quality of online programs to higher education accrediting bodies. Plus, it can serve as an internal planning tool for institutions launching new programs or transforming mature programs.

Peer Review and Endorsement

The interactive Quality Scorecard is completed by the institution and submitted for peer review along with evidence to support its submission. After a thorough review process, the institution receives a final score along with prescriptive feedback from the three-member peer review team.

Institutions scoring 180 or higher are granted OLC’s Seal of Endorsement, which is valid for a period of two years. Institutions like the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Baker College that score 202 or higher are granted an additional seal, acknowledging and verifying their “exemplary” programs. Exemplary programs are endorsed for a period of three years. Additional levels of endorsement and feedback provide institutions requiring improvement with a path to endorsement.

Expanding the Scorecard to Assess Specialized Disciplines and Attributes

OLC continues to expand the Quality Scorecard with specialized versions, including a scorecard specifically for blended learning programs, and another that has been translated into Spanish. With support from a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OLC is also adding a digital courseware ancillary scorecard that will focus on attributes which result in a positive impact on student success, especially for students from minority, first-generation, low-income or other disadvantaged backgrounds. The digital courseware scorecard is expected to be available in Fall 2016.

More information about the OLC Quality Scorecard is available at http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/consult/quality-scorecard.

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Material from a press release was used in this report.

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