While there is latitude for courses to look and feel different from one another, some common elements must be contained in all courses at Vanguard. Below are the Vanguard University Course Quality Essentials and supporting resources. Ongoing revision changes are also listed as well.
The Vanguard University Essential Quality Standards were first established in 2020 to articulate our commitment to foundational quality practices that will be present in each of our classes, regardless of discipline or degree level. They have been revised over the years to better reflect what we have learned together is vital in fulfilling our educational mission. Each of the elements of the Essential Quality Standards is broken into the following categories: Canvas fundamentals, communication, assessment, and accessibility.
Each course at Vanguard University will embrace/include:
Canvas is used to facilitate course communication, learner assessment and feedback, and date-specific information and deadlines. These requirements include:
- Complete assignment descriptions and instructions included in Canvas
- Online submission options for assignments are provided within Canvas (with the exclusion for lab work, etc.)
- Due dates and class schedule are in the Canvas calendar (note that when you add an assignment, it automatically gets added to the calendar)
- Online syllabus, program and course learning outcomes, and course policies
- Online quizzes and exams (when called for in the specific course’s assessment methods)
- Online asynchronous learning materials, such as slide decks, lecture videos and other resources (when used)
- Online copies of all course handouts and materials in a format that can be completed digitally (no printer required by students)
- An organized course structure, such as Modules, that students can easily navigate
- Use of Canvas Gradebook; grades/assessment feedback provided in Canvas
Browse the Explore Canvas page of this site for related resources. Additionally, the Instructure Canvas Guides provide continually-updated written and video guides, all easily searchable from the Instructure Community.
A communication plan articulated in the syllabus, which describes:
- Expected time for response to student inquiries and
- Anticipated duration for grades and feedback to be provided after students submit an assignment.
An assessment plan and follow up, which includes:
- Regular assessments throughout the course, which are used to gauge student learning and to provide opportunities to identify when students are struggling.
- Attendance is tracked and assessed using the Qwickly Attendance tool
Explore the Assess Learning and Design a Class sections of this knowledge base for related resources. Additionally, learn more about how to track and assess attendance using Qwickly Attendance from within Canvas.
All learners benefit from having a course that meets essential accessibility standards, including those part of our Essential Quality Standards:
- All videos include captions (either from the video provider, or via ones that are created in Canvas Studio)
- An accessibility checker is used on course materials and repair recommendations are followed. Manual checks are also done using accessibility checklists, such as this one from Oakland University.
Please review the Teach a Class section of the IFD knowledge base for related resources.
- Essential Quality Standards 1.0 established | 2020
- Essential Quality Standards 2.0 released | 2021
- Essential Quality Standards 3.0 released | 2022
- Created Course Quality Essentials resource on IFD knowledge base | 2023-04-15
- Resources added under each main category of the Essential Quality Standards | 2023-04-15
- Slight revisions to verbiage to establish greater consistency | 2023-04-15