Quality Enhancement Plan

Athens Technical College’s Quality Enhancement Plan’s (QEP) goal is to improve student success in online and blended courses by implementing nationally recognized, research- based best practices for course design and organization.



Implementation of the project will be broken down into six phases with measurements taking place several times each year for the project’s duration. The QEP will focus on improving students’ experience using Blackboard as a Learning Management System (LMS) and increasing student success in distance education courses.

How will this help? 

The course navigation and organization for all courses in Blackboard will be standardized to help reduce student frustration. An orientation focused on using Blackboard from a student’s perspective and how to navigate courses within the LMS will be designed and published to improve student’s familiarity of the course layout and function. Completion of the orientation will be recorded and made available to faculty and administration. 

As these online learning orientation initiatives are being implemented, faculty will participate in three phases of training aimed at increasing their knowledge in using Blackboard as an LMS, designing distance education courses using instructional design best practices, and finally implementing the improvements in their courses. Faculty will benefit from this training by receiving certifications in Blackboard and participating in a peer-review process for continued improvement of their courses. 

QEP Details

The QEP pilot will begin in 2023 and includes redesigning the online learning orientation, developing a standard Blackboard table of contents, and faculty training. The first year of implementation, 2024, faculty will continue training in Blackboard and course design and begin implementing best-practices in their courses. Continuous improvement of faculty knowledge and courses will proceed through the fifth year of the QEP, 2028. Baseline measurements will be taken in 2023 and continue each semester through 2028. 

How will it be measured? 

Project success will be measured in the following areas: 

  • An increase in the number of students completing the Online Learning Orientation 
  • Decrease in the attrition rate for distance education courses 
  • Percentage of faculty becoming Blackboard Basic Certified 
  • Percentage of faculty becoming Blackboard Advanced Certified 
  • Percentage of faculty completing course design training 
  • Improved scores for distance education master courses using the Quality Assurance Rubric 

All ATC courses have an associated Blackboard course shell, regardless of course type. All courses are required to adhere to the minimum use guidelines listed in this policy. The course design guidelines are specific to each course type as listed in Banner.

All courses, regardless of course type, are expected to follow these minimum use requirements:

1. Course Design

a. All course design elements listed in the Blackboard Minimum Use Checklist must be included for all courses. A score of 100% for the checklist is required.

b. Courses must be developed in their entirety before the first day of the semester in which the course will be taught. Academic deans may set an earlier course development deadline each semester.

c. Program chairs and learning community leaders will develop Master Course Shells to be used by all faculty teaching the course. Using Master Course Shells is encouraged to facilitate the course-copy process.

d. The Blackboard course will use the standard course menu and organization structure listed in the Blackboard Minimum Use Checklist.

2. Announcements

a. Instructors are required to announce all class cancellations using the Blackboard Announcements feature.

b. Class cancellation announcements must include an assignment as required in the College’s Continuation of Instruction Plan.

3. Documents

a. Use of the provided Syllabus Template is required to communicate course-specific information to students. A master template containing college-specific information is available to program chairs and learning community leaders to develop a course-specific syllabus.

b. The course-specific syllabus developed by program chairs and learning community leaders can be customized by each faculty member to communicate instructor-specific policies and procedures.

c. A course outline giving all course activities, date ranges, and due dates must be included in the syllabus or as an additional attachment.

d. The syllabus and course outline must be included in the Start Here folder of the Blackboard course.

4. Blackboard Grade Center

a. All graded assignments will be included in the Blackboard Grade Center.

b. Assignments and final grades will be tabulated using a percentage-based gradebook.

c. Grades will be tabulated using the specified program/division weighted categories and weights.

d. The Blackboard gradebook should be updated frequently so students are aware of their progress. Ideally, feedback and grades for assignments should be added to the Blackboard gradebook within ten days of the assignment due date.

e. Instructors will use the ILP Grade Push Process to communicate final grades to the Office of Registration and Records.

5. Section 8 Accessibility

a. All course materials will meet or exceed accessibility expectations listed in the Minimum Use Checklist.

Course design guidelines for all courses are provided in these documents available in the intranet:

· Athens Technical College Syllabus Template

· Athens Technical College Blackboard Minimum Use Checklist

Phase one: July – December 2023:

  • Complete Phase 1 training
  • Redesign all master shells that the instructor teaches based on the Minimum Use Checklist
  • Score 100% on all redesigned courses using the Minimum Use Checklist
  • Give feedback to the QEP Training Team about the training, redesign process, and resources, including Learning Objectives for the training

Phase two: January – June 2024:

  • Use the courses redesigned in Phase 1 training in the courses being taught during the 2024 Spring Semester (202414).
  • Complete Phase 2 training
  • Redesign all master shells that the instructor teaches based on the Quality Matters Rubric
  • Score a minimum of 85% on all Quality Matters Rubrics for redesigned courses
  • Use the courses redesigned in Phase 2 training in the courses being taught during the 2024 Fall Semester (202512)
  • Give feedback to the QEP Training Team about the training, redesign, and implementation process.

News & Updates

CODE Escape Room

Students, faculty and staff participated in the CODE Escape Room during Welcome Week for fall 2023. Winners with the quickest times received prizes and all participants received CODE t-shirts.

QEP EscapeRoom

CODE & Coffee

Instructional design manager Nathan Loyd presented about the CODE at the Elbert county Campus.

CODE Marketing Students

Video Overview

Online learning can be like building with Legos, it’s easy as long as everything is organized!

Contact and More Information

QEP Library Resources

This guide highlights some library resources in support of distance learning for faculty and students.