Quality Assurance in Technology Mediated Course Offerings

AS-2871-08/AA (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate California State University (CSU) recognize the value of academic technology for enhancing access (especially geographic access) to the university and for adding to the array of teaching tools that can be used by faculty and students; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU also recognize that the quality of courses can be enhanced through the use of technology, such as flexibility in time and space, course organization, content presentation, student-student and student-faculty interaction; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU note that challenges exist when technology is used, for example: additional equipment, infrastructure and software costs; increased faculty workload, guarantee of academic integrity, and assurance of course quality; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU reassert that the quality of the curriculum, including on-line courses and technology-mediated courses, is the purview and responsibility of the faculty, individually and collectively, and the systems for evaluation of courses and programs need to be structured in ways that are compatible with this responsibility; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU recognize that the support services for the learning process, such as library resources; advising and career services, physical and mental health assistance and other extracurricular opportunities need to be incorporated into the learning process in these innovative settings; and be it further

RESOLVED: That professional development opportunities must be provided for faculty and staff in order for these tools to be used effectively and efficiently; and be it further

RESOLVED: That this resolution be distributed to the campus senates and the senates of the California Community College and the University of California Systems.

RATIONALE: During the past two decades the CSU has witnessed and participated in a variety of on-line, distance learning, and technology mediated course offerings. Some of these activities were motivated by the desire to extend the geographic reach of our course offerings while others have included visions of significant cost-savings through these efforts. Technology has brought a vast array of teaching tools into the academy, but many constituencies inside and outside of the academy have had unrealistic expectations of fiscal and workload savings as well as economies-of-scale resulting from use of these tools. Experience with technology in general and particularly in the university setting has demonstrated few examples of cost-savings, but has shown a wide array of new tools for reaching more students, geographically and academically. Mixed-mode or “hybrid” courses in particular have demonstrated many improvements relative to fully on-line or fully “breathing the same air” models. But the “distance: that technology affords in the academic setting also seems to disconnect faculty from their courses in terms of the full responsibility for quality assurance. And the challenge of utilizing technology puts additional pressures on faculty and staff to master the learning technology as well as the discipline content of their course and program offerings
The “distance” also creates additional challenges to the goal of offering students a full university experience, which consists of much more than 120 credit units of coursework. Each of these challenges needs to be met if technology is to live up to its promise of enhancing a university education.

Approved Unanimously – January 22-23, 2009

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