VHS Improves National Standards for Quality Online Learning with Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance and Quality Matters

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VHS executives contributed to all three areas of the newly-revised National Quality Standards

Boston – March 5, 2019 – The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is once again setting the standards for quality online education. As members of the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA), and in partnership with the international nonprofit Quality Matters, VHS executives have been contributing to the National Standards for Quality (NSQ) in three areas: Online Courses, Online Teaching, and Online Programs. After a yearlong process, the updated National Standards for Quality Online Teaching and for Online Programs are now available for download as of March 5 at the National Standards for Quality Online Learning website.

Teams of educators and online learning stakeholders worked on each group of standards. The following VHS executives participated in the standards revisions:

·      Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO – NSQ Online Programs  

·      Amy Michalowski, Dean – general NSQ review and feedback

·      Storie Walsh, Vice-President of Technology – Co-chair for NSQ Online Courses

·      John Englander, Associate Dean of Humanities – NSQ Online Courses  

·      Stacy Young, Associate Dean of Faculty – NSQ Online Teaching   

The National Standards for Quality are a set of openly licensed standards designed to help evaluate and improve online courses, online teaching and online programs. Each standard is accompanied by a set of indicators. The revision teams enhanced the indicators, accompanying explanations, and examples to increase the level of guidance provided by the standards. Additionally, they were mindful to balance the need for a set of benchmarks with the need for flexibility to accommodate the wide range of program types and available resources that educators adopt.

“Advances in technology, digital content, and instructional practices have brought about a greater variety of program types, and the application of standards must be applied to different models, from blended learning to competency-based strategies to full-time virtual schools and everything in between,” said Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO of VHS. “These newly-revised National Standards will serve as a useful guideline for educators looking to better understand what constitutes quality virtual teaching, courses, and programs.”

This is not the first time that VHS has set standards for online learning. VHS founding CEO Liz Pape co-chaired the iNACOL Quality Standards for Online Programs Committee, co-authored iNACOL’s 2009 National Standards for Quality Online Programs guidelines, and contributed to the 2011 National Standards for Quality Online Teaching, Version 2 and National Standards for Quality Online Courses, Version 2. In addition, the National Education Association (NEA) acknowledges VHS contributions to quality online instruction for secondary students, along with those of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and others, on the cover of the NEA Guide to Teaching Online Courses.

“These revisions build on the work VHS did with International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) to develop the original quality standards. We’re pleased to contribute to the greater K-12 community to help ensure today’s students have quality virtual learning options,” said Ribeiro.

 The revised National Standards for Quality Online Courses will be released in September.

About Quality Matters

Quality Matters (QM) is an international, U.S.-based, non-profit organization specializing in standards, processes and professional development for quality assurance in online and blended learning. QM tools and resources are regularly revised to reflect current research and best practices. When you see QM Certification Marks on courses or programs, it means they have met QM Course Design Standards or QM Program Review Criteria in a rigorous review process. For more information visit www.qualitymatters.org.

About The Virtual High School and Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance

The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) has set the standard for quality online education since 1996. The nonprofit organization provides high school and middle school courses taught in global online classrooms and online professional development for educators, as well as custom course development and offerings tailored to meet each school’s unique needs.

The Virtual High School is a member of the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA), an association of chief executives from some of the most innovative online learning programs in the U.S. VLLA provides collegial support and collaborative opportunities to member organizations to share resources, services, and expertise. Each year the Leadership Alliance chiefs and staff explore topics critical to providing their district and school partners with quality online and blended learning services by examining current research, documenting best practices, helping to define quality in online courses and teaching, and examining trends in digital learning. Other members include Georgia Virtual School, Idaho Digital Learning, Illinois Virtual School, Indiana Online, Michigan Virtual, Montana Digital Academy, Nevada Learning Academy, North Carolina Virtual Public School, Virtual Arkansas, Virtual Virginia, VirtualSC, Wisconsin eSchool Network and Wisconsin Virtual School.

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