Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD)

The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD, or the District), one of the largest community colleges in the US, with seven separately accredited colleges and various service centers, serving approximately 75,000 students, lacked a holistic view of its online learning programs, which had developed organically over two decades.

Terry Di Paolo, PhD, the District’s Executive Dean of Online Instructional Services, was tasked with determining a path to a holistic strategy that would ensure consistent quality in online programs across the District.

The District turned to the OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs to assess quality and create an improvement plan mapped closely to accreditation policy and standards.

Over a 14-month period beginning in February 2016, the District adopted the OLC Quality Scorecard internally, customizing it to the unique needs of its large and diverse institution, applying it to the District overall and to its individual colleges.

“We reframed how we talk about studying online,” says Di Paolo. “And we began a conversation about future direction to illuminate how the Scorecard’s findings apply to accreditation.”

Rather than creating a plan from scratch to address areas that require improvement, DCCCD is using the OLC Quality Scorecard as the basis for its going forward plan.

“If we see that we are not delivering quality in certain areas, we want to get there as quickly as possible,” says Di Paolo. “The OLC Quality Scorecard is helping us do just that, because it’s not just an evaluation tool. It is the ‘plan in the can.’ And it can be the plan for you regardless of your institution.”

Baker Online

To make sure it is delivering on its promise to students, Baker College (the largest independent, non-profit college in the state of Michigan, and one of the 10 largest private colleges in the U.S.), led by Jill Langen, PhD, President of Baker Online and Center for Graduate Studies, turned to the OLC Quality Scorecard to benchmark the quality of its online programs and determine a plan of action for making ongoing improvements.

As Baker Online President Jill Langen explains, without feedback or benchmarks, making improvements is difficult.

“OLC is truly the leader helping leaders define quality in online learning. The true benefit of this experience is having people with a great deal of expertise learn about our online operations and provide feedback for improvement.”

Having uncovered considerable evidence to demonstrate the quality of its online programs, Baker updated its OLC Quality Scorecard submission. When everything was re-tallied across the Scorecard’s 75 indicators of quality for online programs, Baker had received one of the highest scores to date for a OLC Quality Scorecard submission, earning OLC’s Exemplary Endorsement.

Download the case study to learn how Baker Online used the OLC Quality Scorecard to measure quality in a constantly changing tech-driven environment.

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), located in Murfreesboro, is the second-largest undergraduate university in the state of Tennessee. This public university is recognized as an Adult Learning Focused Institution of Higher Education and a Military Friendly School, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

“When MTSU launched MTSU Online, 53 students were enrolled in seven classes, and quality was not monitored,” admits Cindy Adams, MBE, MTSU’s Manager of Distance Education Faculty Services. “With the growth experienced since 1997, we knew a quality assessment was necessary to pinpoint areas that needed improvement and to concretely demonstrate any deficiencies in order to gain support for needed changes.”

In 2015, MTSU turned to the OLC Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs to evaluate its online programs and benchmark how well it was fulfilling its promises for online learning.

“One of the biggest surprises of the scorecard process was how willing people were to help. The search for evidence helped break down silos. When I would put the call out for specific information that was needed, I would get responses from two to three people.”

MTSU is now looking at ways to integrate what it has learned from the OLC Quality Scorecard into a new strategic plan. Among its next steps, MTSU plans to hire an individual who will be dedicated to managing overall program quality.

Learn more about MTSU’s experience.


“We have found the OLC Quality Scorecard to be a very effective tool for the administration of online education programs. The Scorecard provides a helpful framework for strategic planning and is used to evaluate programs, identify areas for change, and reassess annually.

Sandra Hirsh, Professor & Director, School of Information, San Jose State University