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Using the eQOOL Instrument

The Ensuring Quality Open and Online Learning (eQOOL) instrument was developed to enable the design and delivery of effective online-blended-hybrid courses. eQOOL includes aspects that go beyond most similar instruments in that it includes significant elements related to inclusion, affordability, and accessibility.

eQOOL Instrument Uses

Instructors can use eQOOL individually to inform and guide effective design of their online or blended courses. It is suggested as a first step that instructors (or designers) focus on the 24 eQOOL Core elements, noted by an asterisk in the sections below, as well as the printable instrument.

Instructional Designers can use the eQOOL Instrument for consultations with faculty or other ways they are leading a course design process.

Faculty Developers can use eQOOL as the basis for consultations or workshops, or can even implement semester or year-long faculty learning communities related to effective online course design and delivery.

Peer Reviewers can be trained to use eQOOL for course review and certification purposes that are more formalized and lead to instructor recognition.

See eQOOL Objectives Within Each Principle Below:

1.1 *Instructor uses course environment to provide clear and detailed instructions for students to begin accessing all course components, such as syllabus, course calendar, assignments, and support files
1.2 *Detailed instructor information is available to students and includes multiple formats for being contacted by students, availability information, brief biographical information, and a picture of the instructor.
1.3 *Course description includes the purpose and format of the course, as well as prerequisite knowledge and competencies, if applicable.
1.4 Course etiquette expectations for various forms of course communication and dialog (e.g., chat, “hangout,” email, online discussion) are presented and clear to the student.
1.5 *Academic integrity or “code of ethics” is defined. Related institutional policies for students to adhere are clearly stated and/or links to those policies (e.g., online catalog; institution web page) is provided.
1.6 A list of technical competencies necessary for course completion is provided, identifying and delineating the role/extent the online environment plays in the total course.
1.7 Instructor provides samples of prior student work and an opportunity for students to ask related questions.
1.8 Instructor asks students to share their own learning goals for the course.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Student Evaluation and Assessment refers to the process used to gather evidence of the achievement of the Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes (SLOs). If needed, we strongly recommend that instructors contact their Office of Academic Assessment or Center for Teaching and Learning for assistance with establishing an effective course assessment plan.

2.1 *All student learning outcomes are specific, well-defined, and measurable.
2.2 *Grading policy is provided in a manner that clearly defines expectations for the course and respective assignments
2.3 *The learning activities (including graded assignments as well as ungraded activities) promote the achievement of the student learning outcomes.
2.4 *The assessment instruments (e.g., rubrics) are detailed and appropriate to the student work and respective outcomes being assessed. This includes assessing modes of online participation and contributions.
2.5 *Throughout the semester, instructor provides multiple opportunities to give feedback on student learning, as well as helping students “self-check” their learning.
2.6 Throughout the semester, instructor provides multiple opportunities to solicit feedback from their students about their learning and on the course for the improvement of the course.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Addresses the variety of materials and material formats the instructor has chosen to present course content and enable students to meet relevant learning outcomes and, when possible, the affordability of chosen course materials.

3.1 *Instructor provides students with adequate notice and time to acquire course materials.
3.2 Syllabus lists whether textbooks and materials are required or recommended.
3.3 Syllabus and/or resource list in Learning Management System provides links to open educational resource libraries (e.g. www.merlot.org, www.skillsCommons.org, or any other free and open online library) so students have easy access to free and open educational resources.
3.4 Instructor articulates the purpose of all materials as to how they are related to the course and module learning objectives.
3.5 When possible, instructor promotes or provides options in terms of how students acquire course materials, including Open Educational Resources.
3.6 The instructor includes at least one free and open educational resource within the required course materials.
3.7 Modeling academic integrity, instructor appropriately cites all resources and materials used throughout the course.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

4.1 Instructor includes a syllabus statement related to affordability and access of course materials.
4.2 Syllabus lists whether course textbooks and materials are required or recommended.
4.3 Instructor articulates the purpose of all materials as to how they support course and module learning objectives.
4.4 *There is a diversity of instructional material types and perspectives, while not overly relying on one content type such as text.
4.5 When possible, instructor utilizes Open Educational Resources and/or more affordable commercial content to minimize costs while meeting outcomes.
4.6 Instructor places a copy of required and recommended textbooks on reserve with the library.

Addresses how well the instructor facilitates the course, communicates with students, engages students to be active learners, and reinforces the development of a sense of community among course participants.

5.1 The instructor was helpful in identifying areas of agreement and disagreement on course topics.
5.2 Instructor helps students understand importance of course topics and content in support of course activities and any related practical experiences.
5.3 The instructor presents the course material and concepts in an effective and engaging manner.
5.4 Instructor encourages students to explore new concepts through the course experience.
5.5 The instructor helped to focus discussion on relevant issues.
5.6 *Instructor provides feedback in a timely manner.
5.7 Instructor provides communications about important goals and course topics as opportunities arise.
5.8 *Instructor provides reminders of due dates and duration of respective modules, as well as other instructions to keep students on task.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Addresses (1) the opportunities students have to interact with the content, their peers, and their instructor, and (2) how well the course design encourages students to become active learners and contribute to the online course community.

6.1 *At the beginning of the course, instructor provides an opportunity for students to introduce themselves to develop the sense of community.
6.2 Instructor provides information about being a successful learner/student.
6.3 *Navigation throughout the online components of the course is logical, consistent, and efficient.
6.4 *Learning activities facilitate and support active learning that encourages frequent and ongoing peer-to-peer engagement.
6.5 The modes and outcomes for student interaction are clearly communicated.
6.6 Instructor clearly explains his or her role regarding participation in the course. Instructor participates in, facilitates, and manages student participation, yet lets students take reasonable ownership.
6.7 *Course learning activities help students understand the fundamental concepts and build skills useful outside of course.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Addresses how well the instructor utilizes technology to effectively deliver course content, engage students in learning activities (individual, student-to-student, and instructor-to-student), and allow students to express themselves or demonstrate learning.

7.1 The tools and media support the course learning objectives/outcomes.
7.2 *Instructor takes advantage of the current tools provided by the Learning Management System (or similar) to enhance learning.
7.3 Technological tools and resources used in the course enable student engagement and active learning.
7.4 *Instructor provides clear information regarding access to the technology and related resources required in the course.
7.5 Acceptable technological formats for assignment completion and submissions have been articulated.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Addresses the program, academic, and/or technical resources available to learners. Though instructors may not play the direct support role, they should be aware of potential issues and promote what is available to support students.

8.1 Instructor states her or his role in the support process.
8.2 *The course syllabus (or related) lists and/or links to a clear explanation of the technical support provided by the campus and suggestions as to when and how students should access it.
8.3 *Course syllabus (or related) provides an introduction to campus academic (non-technical) support services and resources available to support students in achieving their educational goals. E.g., Disability Support Services, Writing Center, Tutoring Center.
8.4 Course syllabus (or related) provides information regarding how the institution’s student support (non-academic, non-technical) services and resources (E.g., advising, mentoring) can help students succeed and how they can these services.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Addresses the course's adherence to accessibility and universal design principles that are critical to some learners but that benefit all learners. Note: We strongly recommend that instructors contact their campus disability service center for assistance and information related to this section.

9.1 *Syllabus (or similar) links to the campus accessible policy, whether it is required or recommended by the institution.
9.2 Instructor supports a range of learning styles and abilities for all students, rather than making reactive accommodations for those with registered disabilities.
9.3 *A clear explanation of the disability support services (DSS) is provided and clear links to DSS resources are provided.
9.4 Students can clearly ascertain the role of the instructor in providing support for those officially registered with the campus disability services office.
9.5 *Course documents and text materials created by the instructor or from external sources are in formats that are accessible to students with disabilities.
9.6 The instructor and course use officially supported campus technologies, which are already fully accessible and assistive technology ready. Any third-party tools used are accessible and assistive technology ready when feasible.

* = "Core 24" or essential QLT objectives. This subset was originally identified by CSU San Marcos.

Addresses the opportunities students are given to summarize the semester, establish the connection between this course and other courses, and prepare to start the next phase of their program/progress.

10.1 Instructor provides students opportunities to ask questions as a form of closure and to foster insight into accomplishments.
10.2 Instructor provides students with feedback about their overall learning and progress and their experiences of the term.
10.3 Instructor provides opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and connect their individual learning goals with the expectations (stated learning objectives and outcomes) of the instructor.

Optional section for applicable courses — addresses the accessibility of course content on mobile devices (phones & tablets). Note: Not all course components must be tailored toward mobile devices (e.g., online exams).

11.1 Course content was easy to read on multiple platforms such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
11.2 Audio and video content displayed easily on multiple platforms such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
11.3 The number of steps users had to take in order to reach primary content was minimized.
11.4 The visibility of content not directly applicable to student learning outcomes was minimized.


Obtaining Copies of the eQOOL Instrument

If you would like an offline copy of the eQOOL Instrument to use for local review or training purposes, please complete this brief request form. You will receive a printable version of the instrument, as well as a 2-pager instrument-at-a-glance, showing all 57 objectives and the subset of Critical objectives. These resources carry the Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license that allows others to modify or build upon eQOOL instrument non-commercially, as long as they credit the California State University, Quality Assurance program and license their creations under the identical terms.

eQOOL was developed as a modification of the California State University, Quality Learning and Teaching instrument and is also Creative Commons licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.