Virtual Course Reviews

​​​​​​​Courses consist of a set curriculum with measurable outcomes, rubrics, and validated student assessment instruments. Courses may include lecture, small group work, case studies, skills lab, clinical, practical exercises, computer-based delivery, and discussion boards.

Step 1: Review Structure

Both CREDIT and Military Programs use virtual reviews to evaluate courses. The purpose of the virtual course review is the same as the onsite course review. During the virtual review the review team analyzes course materials, identifies learning outcomes, and recommends postsecondary educational credit based on its findings.

Virtual reviews are conducted under different formats. Depending on the scope of the work to be accomplished, the virtual review could take a week incorporating synchronous and asynchronous opportunities. Or, it could be a synchronous review, scheduled like an onsite trip but without the travel. This information is communicated to you at the point of initial recruitment.

With the review team working independently and together to evaluate the course materials in a SharePoint platform, ACE requests time from your schedule to engage in team discussions, collaborations, and phone conferences. Faculty previously serving on virtual evaluation teams have recommended scheduling time to review the course materials away from office and work environments, just as if you were on a review, to minimize distractions and potential firewall issues. 

Step 2: Review Schedule

American Council on Education (ACE) staff will be in touch a few days prior to the virtual review start date to provide your unique user ID and password. You should test your access prior to the launch of the review and communicate any issues to your ACE representative. Virtual reviews typically begin with an in-briefing by the course managers and a navigation of the review portal site conducted by the ACE staff.

Here is an example of the general flow of the one-wee​​k virtual (29.5 KB PDF) review. 

Step 3: Technology Requirements

ACE uses SharePoint Online for the virtual review platform. Please consider Microsoft's t​ech recommendations.

You will also need to have Internet access, telephone service (for toll free numbers), and software capability to open Word, Adobe PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, and in some cases, media files and video clips. As such, it is recommended that you use a desktop or laptop computer, rather than a mobile device.

Step 4: Review Process

Once you have access to the review portal, it is important to begin digging into the course materials as soon as possible and posting your observations, recommendations, and questions on the appropriate discussion board for each course. The discussion board is the main vehicle for communication and collaboration with your colleagues in the virtual environment. As with onsite reviews, be willing to collaborate with your colleagues, compromise, and respect opinions that may differ from your own.

It is helpful to set an alert for the board, so that you are notified via email when new comments from the team are posted.

Reference the onsite course review process for in-depth information about the rigor of the review and documentation. 

Step 5: Documentation

The lead faculty evaluator will draft the first version of the Team Consensus Sheet or course data form documentation for the course and post it to the appropriate course folder, notifying the team via the discussion board that it has been posted for editing. Each evaluator assigned to the course will in turn edit the document, upload the updated version, and notify the team.

All course materials should be treated as confidential, sensitive data. They are the property of the organization, and should not be downloaded, printed, or distributed.

Step 6: Exit Briefing

In a virtual review, the exit briefing is conducted via telephone conference call or via email. The unofficial exit briefing tool, a chart summarizing the team’s review, is emailed to participants prior to the call. Faculty members may participate in the call. 

Step 7: Final Report

After the evaluation, ACE staff conducts an internal review of the Team Consensus Sheets or course data forms, enters the review results into a database, and prepares the draft final reports.

The organization will receive a draft final report within 30 working days of the evaluation and will have two to three days to correct any errors or ask questions. In case of any questions, KEEP YOUR COURSE REVIEW NOTES FOR AT LEAST 30 DAYS!

Once the corrections are made, the final reports will appear in the Military Guide for military courses or the ACE National Guide for CREDIT courses.