How Do You Judge the Quality of Online Courses?

How Do You Judge the Quality of Online Courses?
Beth Dumbauld

How do students judge the quality of distance education courses? This critical evaluation process is what the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s (DEAC) new quality review service helps students solve.

“Last Friday, DEAC announced its new Approved Quality Curriculum (AQC). This new service uses a standard rubric to peer-review non-institutional “providers” of distance education. StraighterLine and Sophia are the first “providers” to be recognized as achieving AQC status for their online courses.”

That’s the insight from Russell Poulin, Director of Policy & Analysis for WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, in his recent article for the WCET Frontiers Blog, which highlights AQC as “a major step in erasing one of the major delineators between traditional credit-bearing institutions and their non-credit counterparts.”

Poulin spoke with StraighterLine’s CEO Burck Smith to get his input on AQC:

“DEAC is to be congratulated for taking a leadership role in reviewing curricula and courses from providers outside of traditional higher education,” said Smith. “StraighterLine is honored to have had its courses validated and vetted by acknowledged leaders in quality online education provision.”

In the article, Burck also added his thoughts about the increasing focus on reviewing the offerings of non-institutional online course providers:

”We’re thrilled to be working with DEAC, it’s reflective of the semi-feverish activity going on to ‘own’ alternative credit review. CHEA announced a process… ACE has its Gates funded Alt-Credit project. Lamar Alexander issued a paper about it. David Bergeron and the New York billionaire are talking about it. The Department of Education is certainly interested."


"So, there’s a lot of activity which reflects the increasing inability to ignore the price differential of accredited v. unaccredited providers offering substantially similar offerings online.”

Check out Russell’s post to learn more about StraighterLine as a “provider” of higher education, how we save students money, and why “we are facing an evolving landscape that will no longer look like the traditional higher education structure that we experienced."

Read Original Article at WCET Frontiers Blog

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