Kennesaw State nationally recognized for online and hybrid course quality

KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 25, 2024

Ivan Pulinkala and Anissa Vega
Ivan Pulinkala and Anissa Vega
Kennesaw State University has earned a national award for campus-wide commitment by its faculty to provide high-quality online and hybrid learning.

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) honored Kennesaw State with its 2024 Strategic Innovation in Online Education Award. The award recognizes KSU’s course quality management model, a comprehensive system to ensure that online and hybrid courses meet federal requirements for digital course design, accessibility, and instructor interaction.

Kennesaw State initiated its course quality management process in 2021 in the wake of the COVID pandemic, which required a shift to online coursework. During that time, each of KSU’s academic colleges developed online and hybrid course quality policies, and, with participation from faculty across both campuses, more than 2,300 course designs to date have been successfully reviewed and earned the high-quality designation.

“Faculty from all of our academic colleges have shown tremendous effort and dedication to the course review system, so this national recognition truly is an award for our entire university,” said Ivan Pulinkala, KSU’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This achievement underscores Kennesaw State’s commitment to ensuring student success through excellence in all modes of instruction.”

Supported by KSU’s Digital Learning Advisory Council and Digital Learning Innovations, instructors submit their courses for review using a workflow automation tool. Once a course is determined to meet the high-quality criteria – such as being accessible to students with disabilities, having the complete instructional content available within the online course, and faculty actively engaging with students – that course is entered into a database where KSU faculty and leaders can see up-to-date course quality information.

The national award enhances Kennesaw State’s established reputation as a leader in online education. KSU has more Georgians enrolled in online higher education than any other institution, according to data from the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), which establishes national standards for postsecondary distance education.

“We are the top destination for Georgians seeking online programs,” said Anissa Vega, associate vice provost and professor of instructional technology. “Offering online and hybrid courses with the same level of academic rigor as traditional classroom settings is crucial in today's digital landscape, and I am proud to be part of a university community where that is such a high priority.”

Along with earning the national award and being the No. 1 provider of online programs for Georgians, Kennesaw State has launched the brand identity KSU Online to heighten the recognition of its online programs. Additionally, the course quality management model potentially could extend beyond KSU and be used by other schools as a sustainable course quality review process since “our model is unique in its comprehensive scope,” Vega said.

Award recipients are being honored this week at the 2024 UPCEA Annual Conference in Boston.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit