Learning Design & Quality Assurance

Image of quality assurance graphic

The Learning Design & Quality Assurance Process (LDQA) is the university’s official process for transitioning and/or creating a course for to be offered in the online course modality. The aim of this process is to promote evidenced-based best practices and quality for Howard University students engaged in the online learning environment and experience. Moreover, the university is required to have such a process for online courses in compliance with the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions.    

Please Note: There are many aspects to course quality regardless of modality, the LDQA process is specifically focused on design.   

The LDQA process is led by the Director of Learning Design and Quality Assurance in the Office of Digital and Online Learning in collaboration with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) appointed by Howard University’s college and schools. The SMEs may have a faculty appointment within their respective college and school, however during this process their role is concentrated specifically on the transition and/or development of official online courses for their colleges or schools and not an individual faculty’s course. This process is also supported by team members in the Office of Digital and Online Learning and The Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Assessment (CETLA). 

During this process courses are transitioned from their various course modalities to the online course modality. 

Individual courses as well as approved academic programs must successfully complete this process to be designated an official online course. Any courses that have not successfully completed this process are not considered an official Howard University online course. 

The LDQA process is informed by various evidence-based research such as adult learning principles as well as gleans from Quality Matters (QM), the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. The LDQA process leverages this research and the QM rubric which is specifically intended for use with courses that are delivered fully online or have a significant online component to aid in the creation of courses designed to meet the following standards. 

The eight General Standards of this Rubric are: 

  1. Course Overview and Introduction 
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies) 
  3. Assessment and Measurement 
  4. Instructional Materials 
  5. Learning Activities and Learner Interaction 
  6. Course Technology 
  7. Learner Support 
  8. Accessibility and Usability* 

Each General Standard includes several specific review standards. 

Subject Matter Experts serve as course representatives and work in a collaborative manner with members of the LDQA team who have earned credentials and expertise in education [learning design], digital learning, online learning, and have completed specific Quality Matters trainings required to apply the QM Rubric. 

Once courses have successfully completed the LDQA process, which includes a review and revisions, the course will be considered an official online course. It is our goal that ALL courses will ultimately meet standard, however, this is contingent upon the SME completing all required steps and meeting all standards outlined within the LDQA process. 

Only academic programs that have gone through the Program Innovation Review Committee are eligible to undergo this process. Individual courses to undergo this process must be requested by the Dean of a School or College. All requests will be considered; however, priority is for full online programs and depends on other factors such as timing, scope, etc.  

If you have questions regarding the LDQA process, please email dol@howard.edu