Quality assurance for online and blended studies
Translated summary document
The following measures are taken at VMU in order to assure the quality of online and blended studies:
- Online studies and virtualization are included in the Strategy of the university under items 3.2, 3.4 and 5.4. These Strategy items are implemented consistently under the supervision of Innovative Studies Institute. Management procedures include quality assurance documents and online study organization regulations to be discussed with academic community, via intranet, online, in study departments, and then, after agreement reached in the Rectorate, confirmed by the Rector‘s order. Management support for online study development is provided for all other quality assurance items (No 2-6). Following this principle and implementation of the University Strategy, first Regulations for Implementation of Online Studies were established by 2008 – 07 – 01 Rector‘s order No. 690, and then the regulation was updated by 2012-03-26 Rector‘s order No. 155 and by 2020-04-30 Rector’s order No. 237. The recent regulation is available for academic community via intranet and online at Nuotolinių studijų organizavimo tvarka (document in LT)
- Information technology infrastructure is developed for online studies and blended mode studies. Virtual learning environment (VLE) is in place and running at http://moodle.vdu.lt version 3.11x. MsTeams as video conferencing tool is used for most study programs, implemented in a completely online and blended mode. Other tools are available at support portal. Infrastructure for online studies is also developed by the department of Infrastructure at VMU.
- Curriculum designing. Curriculum designing at VLE is being implemented following the Rector‘s order passed on 2013-01-09, Order No. 22a, establishing three levels of adaptation of curriculum for online and blended studies. For the support on online curriculum designing and methodology, as well as trainings are responsible specialists at Innovative Studies Institute.
- Continuous professional skill development for integration of technology enhanced learning. Training is implemented individually, at study departments, online, via video conferencing, and in the framework of project activities. For Continuous Professional skill development for the use of ICT, the reference framework established with international associations‘ experts (European Digital Education Hub, EDEN-Digital Learning Europe) is used.
- Support system for teachers and students learning online is established and used in the Lithuanian and English languages at https://studyonline.lt/ Online support is active 24 hours 7 days per week. Responses are provided for requests and online help during the working hours.
- Quality assurance for online curriculum designing and online teaching is implemented using different procedures and forms.
- For technology enhanced learning curriculum QA – peer reviewing procedure is used. A group of internal peer reviewers (called experts) from different study departments is established and updated annually by the Rector‘s order. The work of this group is organized by Innovative Studies Institute. The quality criteria grids and questionnaires are used (Assessment form for online studies and Nuotolinių studijų kokybės vertinimo metodika – the procedure is described in Lithuanian at Documents and regulations). At least twice per year, the group of experts gathers to review and assess the quality of study subject adaptability to online studies. All subject curricula designed in Moodle for the third level and the second level with attestation are peer –reviewed by two reviewers. Then subject is presented in the general expert meeting and the comments and remarks of the experts are transferred to the teachers and discussed in the group. The teacher evaluates feedback and improves the content of the subject or its organisation methods as well as technological solutions during the set period of time. This way the courses in Moodle that reach adaptation for online studies for more than 50 % undergo attestation before being taught with regard to their adaptability to online studies in compliance with the order ISAK No. 155 of 26 March 2012 “On VMU distance study organisation” and quality assessment methodology. The study subject is recognised as adapted for online study program if it is evaluated as having 90% adaptability according to the quality assessment methodology (all the documents regulating distance studies at VMU are posted publicly on the internet at Nuotolinių studijų organizavimo tvarka).
- The VMU Teaching Quality Assessment methodology (teaching quality assessment policy, defined in VMU Charter) defines the procedures, methods and responsibilities for teaching quality monitoring and assurance. One of the elements of this policy is student surveying. Students are surveyed by online questionnaires found via intranet and also at Moodle virtual learning environment in the courses that are adapted to online study program. Students are invited to fill-in electronic surveys for each study subject every semester via FirstClass system. Survey results are summarised in the Quality and Innovation Centre and provided to corresponding units, responsible for the quality of these study subjects. Teachers also have online access to the survey results with the feedback for their study subjects. Therefore, they can plan individual actions to improve the study quality of the corresponding study subjects (e.g. update of study subject content, inclusion of additional practical examples, preparation of methodical material, etc.)