• June 12, 2024

STC receives recognition for digital learning

STC receives recognition for digital learning

South Texas College (STC) recently became only one of two higher education institutions in Texas to receive a program certification from the esteemed Quality Matters Company, a nonprofit organization that provides exemplary online teaching support.

The certification for online teaching was awarded to programs that mandate training for hybrid and dual credit faculty in online course through best practices for online course design, delivery, instructional support, professional development with an emphasis on instructor availability.

Dean of Digital Learning Rachel Sale, Ph.D., describes this digital learning certification as a collaborative effort that was five years in the making.

“Every five years, classes are put up for review to ensure continuous improvement with Quality Matters serving as an assessment tool to identify areas for enhancement,” Sale said. “This recognition demonstrates the collective effort among our support units like our faculty, staff, Education Technologies, Center for Learning Excellence and the Library. Together, we were able to make this certification possible.”

With this Quality Matters distinction, Sale says STC is set apart from other institutions as it marks courses with an online seal of approval to ensure students are receiving an accessible and high-quality education.

“Faculty members are encouraged to become certified through Quality Matters to ensure they are equipped with the best practices for facilitating online courses and to maintain instructional continuity. For these reasons, programs at STC that utilize Blackboard have undergone a thorough vetting process, which has ultimately fostered a culture of continual improvement across all disciplines and teachers have shown increased interest in these data-driven results.”

Computer Science Instructor Nicholas Hinojosa spoke on the direct benefits that implementing the guidance from the Quality Matters has on instructors and students at STC, saying this certification validates the quality of course content, delivery and overall student outcomes.

“After courses are reviewed through Quality Matter, we receive constructive feedback on where we can improve in our course design, accessibility or even learning objectives,” he shared. “With this holistic view, we’re able to improve our courses as instructors, however, this helps keep things standardized for students who will consistently work through courses on Blackboard. This helps us maintain that instructional continuity that minimizes the guesswork for our students so that they can seamlessly navigate through each semester. We are constantly encouraged to grow as professionals and this is one way we’re able to accomplish that, ultimately becoming stronger teachers to continue fostering student success.”

Sale says it was the global pandemic in 2020 that prompted this closer look at how STC could prepare for transitioning classes online in a digital world that is constantly changing.

“The pandemic played a part in accelerating the importance of digital learning,” she shared. “Collectively, we had to work with all of our faculty and staff to try our best in transitioning from traditional face-to-face classes to going fully online, which presented its challenges for all of us. With this awareness, we’ve made it our mission to remain prepared and proactive, and this recognition establishes STC as a leader in this domain.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *