Why can’t I enter my assessments in the Evaluation and Earning Credit section in COMMS?
The new Predefined Evaluation Drop-Down Menu in COMMS can still offer you plenty of choice when adding information about your evaluation items. Although the details of the evaluation items (e.g., names, explanations, requirements, due dates) should now appear on your Course Section Information (CSI) document, you should still try to be as descriptive as possible when choosing from the 62-item drop-down menu. When you map the evaluation items to one of your CLRs or EESs, students (or Program Quality Reviewers) should be able to infer the connection.
This new feature assists alignment with Policy AA26 Course Outlines and Course Section Information and presents a more common look and feel to our students. If you have questions about your course outline, feel free to contact the Curriculum Consultant for your School.
What are EESs and should I map them in my Course Outline?
When developing or updating courses, faculty are responsible for ensuring that Essential Employability Skill (EES) learning outcomes are clearly identified on the course outlines. In COMMS, you must indicate if a particular EES is taught, assessed or if the course gives students an opportunity to demonstrate a culminating performance. If you have identified that a particular EES is taught in a course, then it should be easy to see in the course learning requirements or the embedded knowledge and skills. If you have identified that an EES is assessed in the course, make sure to choose an item from the evaluation drop-down menu that supports this. Finally, remember that culminating performances are demonstrations of a skill at the level of a graduate, so they normally come only in courses close to graduation. Our EES Lifesaver recommends that, as a general rule, vocational courses should identify a maximum of three (3) EES outcomes.
How can COMMS maps save me time and how do I access them?
Have you visited the COMMS map page lately? You will now see 23 maps listed. Not all of these maps are currently functional, but we have some new ones that can save you some time and energy. For example, did you know that any employee can access course section information documents through the Program Completion Rates map? Also, the Program Overview map can be a useful tool for new faculty or for those engaged in a curriculum review or revision process. This map lists all courses in a program in chart form. The chart will allow you to compare and contrast a variety of items across courses in a term. For example, at a glance, you’ll be able to review course descriptions, vocational learning outcomes, essential employability skills, course learning requirements, evaluation plans and resources. This map can help to point out gaps or redundancies in a particular term. To access all the COMMS maps, click on the Generate Reports button from the COMMS home page. If you want more information on how to use COMMS maps, contact your School’s Curriculum Consultant.
Can I remove an Essential Employability Skill (EES) outcome from my course outline?
In COMMS, you should not de-select any identified Essential Employability Skill (EES) without consultation with your coordinator and/or chair. The EES outcomes identified in a course outline are part of the entire program curriculum. If a skill is removed from the outline, the program maps may not be complete, and the program may not comply with provincial standards. Professors should design courses to address the EES indicated in their outlines. Program coordinators, EES School representatives or Curriculum Consultants can help you to integrate identified EES skills into your course.
Course Development Funding Requests
How do I request funding from Curriculum Services for course development?
Step one is to complete the Course Development Funding Request Form that can be found on the Curriculum Services website. Once you have completed and submitted this form, you will receive a confirmation email from CS Administrative Support providing you with a submission identification number and the approved or revised funding amount.
How do I request reimbursement upon the completion of my course development?
Please send an email to email@example.com to notify the CS Administrative Support that your course is complete. The CS Administrative Support person will contact you to coordinate reimbursement for your course.
Hybrid and Online Quality Assurance Standards (HOQAS)
What is HOQAS?
Algonquin College has implemented a new course-level quality assurance process known as “Hybrid and Online Quality Assurance Standards” (HOQAS). This has been in the works for some time with volunteer courses having already been reviewed.
The initiative is the result of feedback from both students and faculty with respect to improving quality and consistency of our hybrid and online courses. Interested in learning more? Would you like to receive feedback on your online or hybrid course? Consider participating in this new opportunity to have your course reviewed by the HOQAS reviewers.
What is the HOQAS Blackboard Template and how do I access it?
Curriculum Services has created a new Blackboard template that can be used for face-to-face, hybrid or online course development. The template is a result of feedback from faculty and students regarding the desire for improving quality and consistency of courses on the Blackboard system. The template is created based on the “Hybrid and Online Quality Assurance Standards” (HOQAS), which allows for a common navigation and structure for the courses offered at Algonquin College. The design of the template is based on the best practices identified internationally within postsecondary education. The new Blackboard template package can be downloaded on our HOQAS website. There are also instructions available explaining how to import a package into Blackboard. If you would like more information please feel free to contact your Curriculum Consultant.
What are Program Standards?
The vast majority of Ontario College students are studying in programs which have a program standard. Program standards are created and maintained by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) in Ontario to ensure quality and consistency of programs throughout the province. The Ministry invites input from a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations such as industry professionals, college faculty, recent graduates and other industry stakeholders.
Program standards are divided by areas of study and are available electronically from the MTCU website.
What is the purpose of General Education?
General Education requirements for programs of instruction are stipulated in the Credentials Framework, which is part of the Minister’s Binding Policy Directive from the Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. The purpose of General Education in the Ontario college system is to contribute to the development of citizens who are conscious of the diversity, complexity, and richness of the human experience; who are able to establish meaning through this consciousness; and, who, as a result, are able to contribute thoughtfully, creatively, and positively to the society in which they live and work.
General Education strengthens students’ generic skills, such as critical analysis, problem solving, and communication, in the context of an exploration of topics with broad-based personal and/or societal importance.
Algonquin has a General Education Committee which guides and facilitates the process and helps ensure proposed and existing general education courses align with college and provincial requirements. The General Education Committee also assists in the Program Quality Review process by reviewing existing General Education courses and providing guidance in relation to the requirements.
I am developing a new program, are there existing program standards that I can use as a reference?
Did you know that the province of Ontario has more than 115 college programs that have official “Published College Program Standards?” Each standard consists of Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs), Essential Employability Skills (EES), and General Education requirements. Each VLO contains detailed “Elements of Performance,” the elements of the performance for each outcome defines and clarifies the level and quality of performance in relation to each of the vocational learning outcomes. Elements of Performance align nicely to our College’s Course Learning Requirements (CLRs). These can be a great resource when creating a new or updating an existing program. Even if you are involved with a program that does not have a Program Standard, you may find some programs of similar focus to be helpful when creating or updating curriculum. Click here for more details on the Published College Program Standards in the Province of Ontario.