Quality Blended Course Review

How does a blended course earn a Quality designation?

One of the great challenges in designing blended learning courses is ensuring that the face-to-face and online portions of the course are well integrated into one, cohesive experience for students. Engaging in a Quality review of a blended course sparks a fruitful conversation between faculty member and instructional designer about this unique modality.

To begin the review process, the faculty member completes the Course Review Request Form. Then, the instructional designer reviews the design of the blended course with an instrument created at CDL, which is based on nationally recognized rubrics and closely related to the instrument used for fully online courses. The items are focused on the basic tenets of effective blended course design rather than teaching. After this initial review, you and the ID discuss any recommendations to improve the overall quality of the course design and develop an action plan together to make the enhancements.

Quality Blended Course Review Process

If the blended course meets the design standards specifications, the course is designated as Quality. The process is designed so that all courses reviewed have the potential to achieve a quality designation upon further revision if the course has not already achieved that status.

Quality Review Items

Important Information!

Starting January 2, 2024, reviews will be conducted with updated review items that better align with UCF’s Digital Accessibility Policy and to remain equivalent with the most recent version of Quality Matters. View the updated Blended Course Review items below.

Download Quality Blended Course Review Items [PDF]

Course Overview and Introduction

Students are provided an overview of the course in regards to the face-to-face and online spaces and access to course policies, and are offered the opportunity to meet the instructor face-to-face and/or online.

  1. The course provides a clear starting point for students to begin accessing vital course components, such as syllabus, course schedule, course content, and assignments.
  2. The syllabus includes the following Provost-required course information:
    1. Course number, section, and name
    2. Semester and year
    3. Credit hours
    4. Course modality (W/M)
    5. Name(s) of instructor(s)
    6. GTA names (if applicable)
    7. Methods of contact (e.g., email address, phone number)
    8. Office, department location, and university phone number (if applicable)
    9. Times and locations for in-person and/or virtual office hours
    10. Prerequisites, corequisites, and any other enrollment requirements (if applicable)
    11. Course description from undergraduate or graduate catalogue
    12. Brief description of scope and purpose of the course
    13. Course objectives
    14. Reference or link with specific program, department, college and/or accreditation standards (if applicable)
    15. Required and optional course materials (e.g., text, courseware) and how students can access them
    16. Required hardware and/or software (e.g., webcam, microphone, Excel, online tools) and how students can access them [#2P More Info]
    17. Grading details (point/percentage breakdown of assignments, grading scale)
    18. Methods for submitting assignments
    19. Due dates for major assignments and exams
    20. Makeup exam policy
    21. Link of reference to course schedule
  1. Required core policy statements are clearly stated in the syllabus.
    • Academic Integrity
    • Course Accessibility
    • Active Duty Military Students
    • Emergency Procedures and Campus Safety
    • Title IX
  2. An introduction to the university’s academic services and resources available to support student success (e.g.,Student Accessibility Services, Writing Center) is provided.
  3. Course objectives describe outcomes that are measurable and clearly stated from the student’s perspective.
  4. Technical support information for tools used in the course is provided for students (e.g., Webcourses@UCF Support, UCF Service Desk, vendor tool help desk).
  5. Students are offered the opportunity to meet the instructor (e.g., video/written bio). Annotation: An introduction should be available online for students who missed the initial face-to-face meeting of the course.
  6. The instructor’s plan for interacting with students (e.g., response time, feedback, communication tool) during the course is clearly stated.
  7. Expectations for course communication and interactions are clearly stated (e.g., tone, civility, spelling/grammar).
  8. The course has an explicit pace (e.g., a schedule) to which students are introduced. Annotation: Face-to-face content/activities and Online content/activities should be specifically designated as such.

Course Content

The course has an explicit structure to acknowledge the face-to-face and online spaces, offers a variety of content, and course materials are provided in alternative ways.

  1. The course has an explicit structure (e.g., organized in modules, units, and/or topics; tools not pertinent to the course are hidden in the menu). Annotation: Course design is structured for both online and face-to-face components.
  2. The course offers a variety of instructional materials (e.g., readings, videos, web resources) that are aligned with learning objectives and/or goals.
  3. The relationship between the use of instructional materials and completion of course activities is clearly conveyed.
  4. Content is displayed in ways that support learning (e.g., chunking, Pages as opposed to Word docs and PDFs, etc.). Annotation: The course should be more than a repository of files.
  5. The course offers opportunities for students to actively engage with the content to enhance learning.

Assessment and Engagement

Objectives and grading criteria are clearly articulated to students, and students can demonstrate learning in multiple ways. The course offers opportunities for students to interact with other students and the instructor both face-to-face and online, to enhance learning.

  1. Module objectives describe outcomes that support achievement of the course objectives.
  2. Module objectives describe outcomes that are measurable and clearly stated.
  3. Module objectives describe outcomes that are aligned with learning activities and assessments.
  4. Multiple methods and opportunities for students to demonstrate learning are offered.
  5. Grading criteria for each learning activity is described (e.g., rubrics).
  6. The course offers opportunities for students to actively engage with other students to enhance learning (e.g., discussions, group work). Annotation: Student engagement should occur in both the online and face-to-face portions of the course. Merely being present in the face-to-face course is not engagement.
  7. The course offers opportunities for students to actively engage with the instructor to enhance learning.

Accessibility and Usability

  1. The course content is readily attainable, including external links, resources, and technologies.
  2. Course materials are properly formatted with headings, lists, and other styles to enhance readability and improve the structure of the document (e.g., heading levels are not skipped, formatting styles are appropriately applied).
  3. Color contrast between the text and background has an appropriate ratio (e.g., 4.5:1) to ensure the content can be easily viewed.
  4. Color alone is not used to convey meaning (e.g, italics or bold text are used in addition to color).
  5. Hyperlink text is descriptive and makes sense when read out of context (e.g., UCF rather than www.ucf.edu or Click here).
  6. A text equivalent (e.g., alt text, a caption, text description) is provided for images.
  7. Tables include row and/or column headers.
  8. Multimedia (audio, graphics, and video) are easy to access and use (e.g., movement through presentations can be controlled; video can be resized; attainable on mobile devices).
  9. Transcripts for audio content are provided.
  10. Videos have accurate synchronous captions.

Act Now

It is encouraged to teach the course at least once before requesting a review, but in special circumstances, a course can be reviewed as long as it is complete. Complete the Course Review Request Form to start the conversation with an instructional designer.

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