Have you heard about the WA Course Design Checklist?

What is it?

The idea to create a checklist to help assure the quality of online course design at Washington State Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) was conceived at the 2017 Quality Matters Coordinator retreat sponsored by the Office of eLearning at the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC).  During the retreat our group of dedicated eLearning professionals from CTCs across the state set a goal of defining the essential indicators of a well-designed online course.  In order to allow our colleges the greatest amount of flexibility for adopting it, the group agreed that the checklist should contain the minimum foundational elements of a quality online course design plus best practices and exemplars that would allow room for growth and support a process of continuous course improvement.  In addition to being open source and helping to reduce quality assurance costs, the checklist was also to contain items of specific importance to Washington CTCs, such as affordability of course materials; best practices for copyright, accessibility, and inclusion; and mechanisms for substantive and regular interaction.  The Washington Course Design Checklist is an optional quality assurance tool and is not meant to replace the Quality Matters rubric currently in use at many of our colleges, but rather to work with it as an additional and less expensive course review option.   The purpose of this checklist is not to prescribe how one should teach, it’s simply about maximizing the essential course design elements that contribute to the success of online students in our state.

For more information about our process and the structure of the document please read the introductory page of the checklist.

How can I help?

  • For now, please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the checklist and maybe even give it a try on your own course and see how well it works. As you look it over, please think about any standards or language that may be unclear and about any important elements that might be missing.
  • Please also start thinking about a good name for our checklist. Please send your amazing checklist name ideas directly to me at asells@sbctc.edu.

Next steps?

  • In the next few months, everyone from our family of 34 CTCs will be invited to complete a survey to collect additional feedback on the usefulness, effectiveness, and completeness of the checklist.
  • Over the next 6 months, students and faculty from across the state will be invited to give feedback on the WA course design checklist through a series of in person focus group style interviews. If you or your students are interested in participating in these interviews, please contact me at asells@sbctc.edu.
  • Watch for additional information if you are interested in participating and please send me any questions you may have.


: ) Alissa

Alissa Sells
Program Administrator, eLearning & Open Education
Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
asells@sbctc.edu | 425.239.0456 | @WAeLearning
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