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Virtual Necessities: Assessing Online Course Design

, Healthcare Multimedia Design, United States

International Journal on E-Learning Volume 3, Number 1, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


According to several surveys over the past six years, faculty support and training in information technology remains one of the most pressing issues in higher education (Greene, 2001; Gandel, et al., 2000; Lembke, et al., 2001; Kobulnicky, et al., 2002). In an effort to address this issue, various organizations have published guidelines or benchmarks of quality for distance learning (American Council on Education, 2001; Higher Education Program and Policy Council of the American Federation of Teachers; 2000; Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2000). These publications provide valuable guidance from a broad organizational perspective. In a critique of these reports, however, Twigg notes that a focus on the course level is lacking (2001). Since1999, study groups at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) have focused on the development and evaluation of benchmarks of quality for online instruction that are aimed at the course level. The collaborative efforts of these multidisciplinary study groups have resulted in the development of the Principles of Online Design (Zhu & McKnight, 2001) and the Online Design Checklist (McKnight, 2001). In this paper, the processes used to develop, field test, and refine measurable indicators for online courses are described.


McKnight, R. (2004). Virtual Necessities: Assessing Online Course Design. International Journal on E-Learning, 3(1), 5-10. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved September 28, 2021 from .


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