Course Quality Standards

The standard of teaching can vary widely across the various Massey Distance courses. Here are some of the criteria M@D uses to assess the quality of a distance course. M@D is continually working with the University to encourage and support optimal quality across the University’s entire catalogue of distance courses.

If you are aware of any courses that significantly fall short of these standards, please fill in a quick online form and let us know, so we can seek remedy with the University.

Note – this list is continually evolving. If you can think of anything we haven’t covered, that you think should be included, please drop us a line and tell us.

Assignments:

  • No group assignments unless mandated by a professional body (eg NZ Institute of Accountants)
    • If group assignments must occur, staff should support formation of teams based on compatibility of students’ available study times (including timezones), students’ preferred style of engagement (video chat, text chat, email, cloud documents etc)
  • Assignment rubrics (the criteria by which marks are awarded) are published at start of semester, with the study guides
  • Assignment tasks are defined clearly
  • Assignment feedback is objective, clear, and gives students clear insights on how to improve
  • Assignments are marked fairly, in strict compliance with the published rubrics
  • Staff allow flexibility on assignment deadlines in cases of clear and verifiable student adversities (eg severe illnesses, job losses, bereavements)

Staff Communication:

  • Staff are willing to respond to communication in both public channels (Stream fora) and private channels (Stream private message, or direct email)
  • Staff respond clearly to all communications within no more than 2 business days
  • Staff responses are positive, encouraging, clear and actionable

Advocacy:

  • Staff welcome the support of Massey@Distance, and post M@D web links in Stream
  • Staff publish a policy for handling of cases where students feel their marks or other treatment are unfair or inaccurate

Teaching Materials:

  • Materials on Stream accommodate multiple learning styles/preferences
  • All Stream documents are digitally searchable (all PDF files either originally digital or OCR’d scans), and not mere analog scans
  • Materials support “top-down” learning approaches, rather than forced lengthy sequential reading
  • Materials include high-level summaries
  • Prescribed textbooks are readily available without undue expense or trouble (or, preferably, available as free eBooks)

Technology:

  • All digital course materials should be accessible from all common computer platforms, including:
    • Microsoft Windows
    • Apple Mac OSX
    • Android smartphones/tablets
    • Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad etc)
    • Linux (Ubuntu, Kali, Debian etc)
  • In cases where a course requires a certain platform, eg requiring Microsoft Windows in order to run a particular piece of software needed for the course, this requirement should be set out clearly and published in both:
    • The Stream site at start of semester, AND
    • The official information page for the course on the Massey University website
  • The course should not make undue demands on computer technical skills, unless these higher skills are notified in advance, and staff provide information, support and direction for students to up-skill as needed