Online Courses Quality Will Have Its Own Assessment System

3 november 2017

The Analytical Center experts discussed models of a quality assessment system for online courses provided in the single window resource. The discussion was held within the framework of the priority project "Contemporary Digital Educational Environment in the Russian Federation", the passport of which had been approved by the minutes No. 9 of the meeting of the presidium of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation for the strategical development and priority projects dated October 25, 2016.

"The priority project aims at creating, by 2018, the environment for systematic quality improvement and continuous education possibilities for all categories of citizens through the development of Russian digital education space, as well as increasing the number of students who have completed online courses up to 11 million by the end of 2025," said the Senior Adviser of the Analytical Center Inna Karakchieva. One of the project's milestones is the development and implementation of the online courses quality assessment system ensured by the relevant regulatory legal acts.

According to Alexandr Karasik, director of the Institute of Open Education Technologies of Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin, the quality would be verified by the data collected from various sources and characterizing various aspects of quality. Real indicators and information on students' academic achievements will also be taken into account, the expert said.

Alexandr Karasik described in detail how the quality assessment system for online courses is being developed and tested. "The model is an open structure of various criteria and quality standards, namely, an independent assessment of the conformity of online courses with the best practices, as well as feedback from users, independent experts, employers and federal educational and methodological associations," the expert said. It is equally important to use the expertise of educational organizations and conduct an objective automated assessment of online courses based on the analysis of large data on users' behavior and their academic achievements, A. Karasik said.

The discussion participants noted that the work on this issue had just begun, so there were still some blank spaces in the document. For example, the financial mechanisms of the whole system have not been specified and the additional education section has not been included. Experts are sure that online courses should consist of new technologies, improved assessment systems, and improved presentation formats quality, and be diverse and personalized.