Designing and delivering outcome-based courses that emphasize learner-centric educational discourse and active learning is challenging, especially in online learning environments. Ensuring quality in the design and delivery of such courses in the virtual space requires a well-defined framework with key constituents that interact based on ordered sequences of events. Despite the pressing need for a quality assurance system for today’s virtual, real-time courses, such a system has not been systematically designed. A coherent quality assurance system requires a clear framework that defines the interacting constituents. This work proposes a conceptual and generic “Quality Assurance” (QA) framework, based on experiences primarily in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, for the effective design and delivery of outcome-based virtual, real-time courses that incorporate active learning practices. This Quality Assurance framework may be adjusted to serve as a blueprint that, once adjusted by institutions to accommodate their missions, guides institutions in developing or amending their policies and procedures for the design and delivery of virtual, real-time courses; in addition, such a framework is important for institutions to develop Quality Assurance systems that integrate mechanisms for continuous improvement. The proposed quality assurance framework includes three constituents: a “Teaching and Learning Support” (TLS) that trains educators on pedagogical approaches and the capabilities of the institution’s Learning Management System (LMS); an “Information and Communication Technology Support” (ICTS) that assists educators with the technologies and tools available in the learning management system; and a “Course Management System” (CMS) that encapsulates course design, delivery, and assessment; this study focuses primarily on this “Course Management System” constituent.
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