Key Topics Facing Higher Education Take Center Stage at Quality Matters Spring Conference

Industry: Education

Quality in Action provides sought after platform for critical discussions on digital learning, equity and course design

Annapolis, MD (PRUnderground) May 12th, 2022

Hundreds of members of the higher education community gathered virtually at the Quality Matters Quality in Action Conference on Friday, April 29. The one-day event provided a platform for educators to delve into the topics that are impacting their work today, as well as actionable takeaways to help them address those topics.

Dr. Tanya Joosten, Senior Scientist and Director of Digital Learning Research and Development at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and DETA, kicked things off with a look at equitable course design through a research lens. She provided participants with five considerations to help them ensure equity in their courses. One of her biggest takeaways: Be open to all modalities because research shows that online and blended learning provides equitable learning experiences — a message that deeply resonated with participants, including Geoffrey Friedley from Idaho State University:

“I frequently hear from colleagues that ‘online teaching goes against everything I stand for,’” shared Friedley. “This presentation provided excellent fodder for conversations with colleagues and administrators. I was so glad to be present for this.”

Equity was woven throughout the day, as both presenters and attendees worked together to address ways to make courses universally accessible. Sessions, including “Diverse is Yet To Come: Cajoling Colleagues into Culturally Responsive Course Design” and “Engaged but Not Invested: Practical Approaches Toward Educational Equity for All Students” tackled the topic head on. Others addressed the important role course design plays.

“Research indicates poor preparation and inadequate course design strategies can deprive students of equitable use and access to effective digital-based learning experiences,” explained Deb Adair, QM Executive Director. “The pandemic reinforced this and served as an important reminder to the education community that intentional design strategies — ones that promote equity and access — create more inclusive learning experiences for our students.”

The conclusion: Creating equitable learning experiences — regardless of modality — requires a humanized, intentional approach to teaching and design that incorporates best practices and tools that provide all students with the same opportunity to learn and succeed.

To further support efforts around creating equitable learning environments, Quality Matters provides the following resources:

QM will continue to provide opportunities and outlets for the education community to come together and engage in conversations that help all of us further our understanding of quality and equity in digital learning. Upcoming events include the K-12 Q-Up for Digital Quality and QM Connect conferences.

About Quality Matters

Grounded in research. Driven by best practices. A community that puts learners first. Quality Matters (QM) is the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. It provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and blended learning used within and across organizations. When you see QM Certification Marks on courses or programs, it means they have met QM Course Design Standards or QM Program Review Criteria in a rigorous review process.

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