Online Learning

Ball State U Earns Learner Support Program Certification

Quality Matters (QM) today announced that Ball State University is the first higher education institution in the country to earn the standards organization's Learner Support Program Certification for an online program. One of four QM certifications for online programs, the Learning Support Program category "recognizes programs that provide all the critical student and academic services needed for learner success and use learner feedback to continuously improve those services."

Ball State piloted the new certification in spring 2015. "Pilots are an important tool for QM to field test processes that are carefully crafted in an iterative process by user communities and external partners with expertise in the field," explained Deb Adair, executive director of QM, in a press release. "Ball State was one of a number of institutions to volunteer for one of the four QM Program Certification reviews. The quality of Ball State's Learner Support program was evident to the review team and it demonstrates Ball State's commitment to its students and to the quality of their learning experience."

According to the QM Web site, criteria for the certification include:

  1. Direct and indirect support for online learners should include remote access to the following services: orientation to online study; technical support; academic advising; tutoring; grade appeals; remote library access; accessibility services; records and registration; financial aid services; billing; and institutional and student policies.
  2. The program should have a robust process to collect, distribute and use learner feedback to inform and improve learner support efforts.

QM is now "preparing the tools and support for large-scale implementation of Program Reviews for online programs in the areas of Program Design, Teaching Support, Learner Support and Learner Success," including procedures for training participants and conducting reviews.

For more information, visit the Quality Matters site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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