A new program will help higher-ed institutions evaluate how effective their online learning programs are–a measure growing especially important as the global coronavirus outbreak has forced campuses to shut down physical operations.

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), a national accreditor of distance education institutions, and Higher Digital, a digital strategic advisor to higher education institutions, have launched the (SEA)RESULTS Distance Education Effectiveness Assessment.

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The tool couples DEAC’s accreditation standards with Higher Digital’s software service, (SEA)RESULTS, to provide colleges and universities with a quick and cost-effective evaluation of their online programs, as well as a customized plan for improvement.

In light of COVID-19, distance education has never been more prominent. This assessment is targeted to institutions planning to seek accreditation, as well as those simply looking for a way to evaluate the effectiveness of their distance education capabilities.

Using the new assessment, college and university leaders will be able to:

  • Assess their distance education effectiveness across academic, organizational, operational, and technical dimensions, to better understand their strengths and weaknesses
  • Plan their distance education accreditation strategy using their customized (SEA)RESULTS report and an easy-to-follow road map for implementation and achieving digital transformation
  • Measure performance over time to hold staff and vendors accountable

Having a quick and cost-effective tool to help institutions assess their readiness for accreditation is essential–especially now, when institutions are moving to all-online instruction.

“Accreditation is a primary means of quality assurance for students, and it is therefore a critical investment colleges and universities must undergo,” said Leah Matthews, executive director of DEAC. “But accreditation can be costly if institutions enter the process when their educational offerings are not fully developed.”

New tool gauges online learning programs' effectiveness

In assessing an institution’s distance education capabilities, the (SEA)RESULTS® Distance Education Effectiveness Assessment focuses on four key categories as identified by DEAC: student/consumer protection, academic quality, technology enterprise, and long-term viability. This includes evaluating components such as the levels of transparency schools have with students and how they invest in their technology infrastructure to provide the highest quality education possible.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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