ASCILITE, the Australasian Society for Computing in Learning in Tertiary Education, is in the final stages of developing an assessment, accreditation and recognition system for online learning temporarily called TELAS (Technology Enhanced Learning Accreditation System) – it’s likely that a new name will be used by the time of the final release in 2019. A key goal is to have an internationally recognised system for externally validating the quality of online courses. While there are quite a few others in this space, such as the OLC quality scorecard and the Quality Matters Rubric, the former is now considered in need of significant updating, while the latter carries significant costs for full usage. Others, such as our own Online Learning Model, are mostly used within institutions and so don’t carry the external credibility of an internationally recognised system.
What is TELAS?
In the following video, from a recent TELedvisor’s webinar Dom Parrish, who is leading the design of TELAS, walks through what is involved.
- The TELAS framework is only focused on online design – it’s not about online delivery. It considers the online environment, learning tasks, learner support and learning resources.
- Subjects are rated on a likert scale (e.g. always to not at all) for specific criteria in each of these categories.
- Subjects are then awarded ‘levels’ (diamond, platinum etc down to bronze) based on ratings against specific areas of the framework – see point 1 – as well as for the subject overall.
- There’s no need to do this formally – the framework will be offered for people to use as an internal exercise as well applying for formal accreditation by an independent ASCILITE peer reviewer.
- Formally accredited subject assessment results will be give a ‘badge’ that can be used to recognise the quality of the subject’s online design. This is also valuable for individuals wanting recognition for their work e.g. for promotional purposes.
ASCILITE will be releasing the literature review upon which much of the accreditation system is based at their conference in December. Consultation across multiple stakeholders and countries has also been a major contributor to the development of the system. I had an opportunity to attend one of the consultation sessions held recently in Sydney, and think there are many opportunities for our Faculty in working with TELAS, in at least three key ways:
- an internal check to guide future refinement of our courses
- as external recognition of the quality of our courses – every time I attend an external conference or webinar, I’m reminded of just how strong our courses are!
- as a way for academics and educational designers to demonstrate external recognition for their online design work.
How to contribute
As TELAS rolls out, I’ll be sharing more about its possibilities, and asking advice and thoughts about how we might best engage with this to benefit staff, benchmark our work, as well as to increase awareness of the good work that is being done here. In the meantime, you can contribute to its development.
- If you’d like to look at the current version of the framework, and provide feedback to the development team, please contact me.
- The following survey has been created to gain wide feedback on the relative weighting of each selection criteria for the overall rating. You can contribute to that by participating in the online survey.
Do you think it’s a good idea for our Faculty to become involved? Would you be interested in finding out more, and potentially evaluating your subject / course (internally at first) against these benchmarks? Let me know.