Drake State is the first school in the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) to have an ACCS-sponsored online course certified by Quality Matters (QM).
Quality Matters is a nationally accredited program with established course design standards and a certification process that guarantee the quality of online classes.
The College’s Computer Information Systems (CIS) course was submitted by CIS instructor Dr. Deloris Smothers, who says she challenged herself to give students the best online experience possible. But the rigorous quality standards presented a learning curve.
“There was no easy part about building the course,” said Dr. Smothers. “But the effort is worth it to better serve students.”
She spent three months creating content and detailing every assignment with step-by-step instructions to help students navigate their virtual classroom.
“Put yourself in the shoes of your students,” said Dr. Smothers. “If I’m not intrigued by what I’m creating simply as an instructor, how can I expect my students to be engaged? Add hyperlinks. Use pictures. Build discussion boards.”
Students expect quality education whether it’s traditional or virtual. After the pandemic hit Drake State administrators knew the increased need for online education meant there was an opportunity for the College. All faculty were provided e-certification training to help prepare them to build quality online courses that would be candidates for Quality Matters certification.
The ACCS is sponsoring all member colleges’ online courses to go through the Quality Matters certification process. Drake State plans to have all online and hybrid courses certified by Quality Matters through the ACCS initiative.
"It's a huge endeavor," said ACCS Virtual College Programs Director Chris Alexander. "I am thrilled Drake State earned the first certified Quality Matters course through ACCSOnline."
“It’s exciting knowing that the work I put into my online class would be rewarding,” said Dr. Smothers. “My students depended on me to give them a quality online education. It feels good knowing that I delivered on that promise.”