By Professor Dominique Parrish (ASCILITE President) and Mr Allan Christie (Executive Member)
For nearly 2 years now ASCILITE has been progressing an initiative that is seeking to assess, accredit, promote and recognise quality in online learning. This initiative, which is currently being referred to by its working title as TELAS (Technology Enhanced Learning Accreditation Scheme), is planned to be piloted in the second half of 2019.
The TELAS has been conceptualised in accordance with ASCILITE’s vision, mission and strategic goals to:
- Raise awareness of exemplary practices in online learning;
- Assess and accredit the quality of online learning;
- Encourage and motivate excellence in online learning;
- Promote and recognise exemplary innovation and practice in online learning; and
- Externally validate online learning and provide a measure of performance that could be benchmarked and compared broadly across the global higher education sector.
The TELAS is being implemented across a number of phases including:
Phase 1, which resulted in the production of a draft accreditation framework, which will be the basis for conducting the assessment of quality in online learning.
Phase 2, which was significantly informed by the TELAS Strategic Advisory Group and a National Summit involving key Australasian senior higher education leaders, resulting in the further refinement of the draft accreditation framework, identification of possible performance measures, and conceptualisation of the accreditation process and resourcing.
Phase 3, which saw the facilitation of extensive stakeholder consultation through workshops with educational technology practitioners and an online survey with higher education practitioners and tertiary students. This stakeholder consultation has been a vehicle for the:
- finalisation of the accreditation framework,
- identification of measures of performance suitable for each of the criteria in the accreditation framework,
- establishment of quality indicators that will inform the assessment of online learning; and
- conceptualisation of administrative and organisational details of the formal accreditation process.
The TELAS will be supported by a dedicated website that will be a resource for those designing and delivering online learning across the tertiary sector, particularly in the Australasian region. The main feature of this website will be an interactive TELAS Accreditation Framework that will provide links from each of the criteria to a comprehensive guide that explains each criterion in detail, lists the success indicators that will be used to conduct the assessment of quality in online learning and links to exemplars of the criteria in practice. A self-assessment tool will be freely available from the website and information about how institutions, teaching teams and practitioners can apply for formal accreditation of online learning will also be provided. A formal peer review process will be used to conduct the accredited assessment of online learning and inform the digital badges that will be awarded. This peer review process will be integral to the success and credibility of the TELAS and as such reviewers will be required to complete training that will be delivered through 2-day workshops facilitated by ASCILITE. Details about these workshops will be available from the TELAS website as will the register of accredited reviewers. Accredited reviewers will be a valuable resource to home institutions and further assist in the dissemination of exemplary practices in online learning.
In the longer term, the aim is to introduce the global benchmarking of accredited online learning. Currently, potential partnerships with like associations to ASCILITE in the USA, UK, Ireland and Europe are being explored. The proposition being investigated is for the partners to facilitate a similar accreditation process in their region with the results saved to a global accreditation database and used to provide benchmarks of where assessed online learning is positioned locally, nationally and internationally.
For further information or to provide feedback on this initiative, please contact the ASCILITE Secretariat.