The Presidents’ Forum, in partnership with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), will host the Collaborative for Quality in Alternative Learning (CQAL) E-Learning Caucus later today on Capitol Hill. The event is the culmination of a one-year grant from USA Funds to explore the creation and viability of a quality assurance entity (QAE) for alternative education providers.
In addition to today’s panel, the Presidents’ Forum and DEAC will also release a draft of a white paper for public comment – CQAL: Collaborative for Quality in Alternative Learning. The paper was written by Tina Goodyear, COO, Presidents’ Forum.
If they have not done so already, alternative non-institutional based education providers arguably hold the potential of disrupting higher education by offering students a cost- and time-saving pathway to a degree or credential…Missing from the conversation, however, is an agreed upon definition of quality in the sector, as well as baseline standards to guide the work of both the providers and the QAEs. Assuming that traditional accreditation lacks the breadth to serve the interests of innovators in the sector, how, then, can quality be defined and assigned in the alternative sector, and who is qualified or authorized to make such a determination?