Open Source and Quality Assurance in the Virtual Online Environment at Prairie View A&M University

Prairie View A&M University has embarked upon an aggressive plan to infuse technology into its educational programs.  This is a central element of the University’s desire to increase student learning and to provide opportunities for faculty and student involvement in the latest technology innovations.  The University has adopted a delivery system that includes the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model for providing its primary Open Source Learning Management System (LMS), Moodle.  The adoption of this Open Source LMS has provided a level of flexibility and innovation that would not have been possible with our earlier proprietary system.  This model also significantly reduces cost because it does not require the purchase and deployment of new infrastructure and the hiring of new personnel.  This model further frees the existing Distance Learning staff to concentrate on user support and new course development.

The development of online learning programs is now an accepted part of the delivery mechanism for learning in higher education.  It is therefore subject to the same, or greater, public scrutiny of its effectiveness in meeting student learning outcomes.  Prairie View A&M University will pursue an appropriate quality measurement/management platform to provide quality assurance in its online programs.

The emerging virtual and cloud-based delivery systems provide significant opportunities for enhancing online instructional delivery.  One of the major issues associated with delivery of some online programs is the ability to provide quality requisite computer resources to a population with various levels of personal computer resources.  The available technological solution is to provide virtual software images so that each student will have access to all of the resources needed to complete the requirements of any online course.  The creation of Virtual Computing Laboratories (VCL) will provide this much needed support for online students.  There are additional major environmental impacts associated with this virtual system.  In the local environment, there is the opportunity to reduce wasted printing resources, to utilize energy efficient desktop and server computer equipment, and to move to a more energy efficient Data Center.

The specific elements addressed in this activity are eCourses (Moodle Learning Management System), a Quality Assessment System, and a Virtual Computing Laboratory environment.

Contact :

John R. Williams, Department of Chemistry

Email : Jrwilliams@pvamu.edu

Phone : 936-261-3115

Fax : (936)-261-9909