Assuring the quality of online learning in Australian higher education
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AbstractThis paper discusses the major issues confronting the successful adoption and sustained use of online learning in higher education within the Australian context. The paper argues that four main issues which universities must deal with to achieve maximum potential from online learning technologies are: the establishment of cost-effective practices; the achievement and maintenance of quality in online learning delivery; ensuring access and equity in the delivery of programs; and establishing practices which can enable online learning to be sustained and to grow as a mainstream activity in university teaching and learning. While these issues are suggested as discrete entities, it is recognised that there is considerable overlap in the influencing factors and in the strategies and processes by which they can be overcome. The paper describes and proves exemplars of a number of strategies for dealing with the issues in ways which provide the means to support and sustain quality online learning programs within universities and in the broader educational context. These include: the development of proactive programs to improve teacher expertise in the design, development and delivery of online teaching; the use of programs to support and maintain student readiness; the need to provide adequate technology infrastructure to support the programs; and the use of strategies supporting the design and development of online programs based on the customisation and reuse of learning objects.