Determining what constitutes "quality" is ultimately a question of values. As we developed the Guide, our conversations always turned to underlying ideas about what we thought good teaching was, particularly at the college level. We came to see that these fundamental educational values are the foundations of good practice in undergraduate education, and good practice in instructional design. We were further influenced by our understanding of the mission of the university, and its commitment to global education.

We list these values below in order to make those underlying values explicit, and to make clear how carrying them forward into the course creation process guides the development of quality courses, whether they are entirely online, blended or face-to-face courses. This statement on values is not intended to be doctrinaire. Depending on your discipline, the specific course you are teaching, and your understanding of the educational process, your values may differ, to a greater or lesser extent. We hope that this document serves to stimulate further and deeper discussion about educational values, as we strongly believe that this critical self-exploration is essential to our success as teachers and scholars.

The course quality elements listed below have been designed to support the following educational and design values.

  • Transparency – The instructor’s expectations for all aspects of the course are made clear and are easily accessible to the students.
  • Alignment – Course materials and objectives are internally consistent. Readings and assessments are closely aligned to the learning objectives.
  • Universal Design – The course is designed to support all learners. High-quality design is universal and inclusive, and avoids creating barriers for any individuals.
  • Responsibility – The course is designed to encourage students to take control of their own learning, and to foster the value of lifelong learning
  • Co-presence – The course is designed so that students do not feel alone in the online environment. The course has been designed to encourage regular student-student and student-faculty interaction.
  • Global Learning – The course is designed to foster the University mission to provide a global education to our students.
  • Technology – Technology use is appropriate to the learning objectives of the class, and does not act as a barrier to any students.
  • Adaptability – The course is designed so that it will be easy to update, adjust for curricular changes, and to respond to changes within the discipline.