North Carolina Central University (NCCU) alumna and e-learning coordinator Racheal Brooks, Ph.D., has been showcasing the institution’s best practices for digital education internationally.
Brooks is the co-chair of the University of North Carolina (UNC) System’s Quality Matters (QM) Council and Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council, a non-profit global organization whose mission is to deliver quality and innovative digital education.
The group presented at a conference hosted virtually by Bahrain Polytechnic University, in Isa Town, Bahrain, on March 23. “Our professors are experts in their field but we can always stand to learn the best practices for our students as they are learning from us,” Brooks said.
The QM Council uses an eight-point rubric to evaluate the standards of course delivery, course objectives, student support and accessibility.
“It’s a way for us to look at our courses with fine-tooth comb to make sure we are including all those elements that support student success,” Brooks explained.
In addition to being co-chair of the System’s QM Council, Brooks is a member of the QM National Advisory Council, which creates new initiatives and practices for digital education specifically for historically black colleges and universities.
“I get to make sure our concerns and issues are brought to the table, and I take that very seriously,” she said. “I have an opportunity to have conversations surrounding equity and how the Quality Matters Council is implementing these concerns.”
Since most courses were shifted to online due to the pandemic, the QM Council has continued to working to make digital learning more accessible and effective for students and faculty in the UNC System.
Brooks’ expertise at NCCU was key to ensuring our Eagles were ready to achieve greater heights despite the challenge.
“We’ve had a much more seamless transition here at NCCU because, prior to COVID, we had already established a baseline of standards for online courses and we had several hundred faculty already trained in using QM, so they were already prepared,” Brooks said.
The UNC System’s QM Council serves 17 universities and over 250,000 students and faculty across North Carolina by providing professional development resources and research for digital education.
The QM Council has equipped both the UNC System and NCCU with the tools and resources needed to support student success and this has created an interest into how this can be replicated internationally with other higher education systems. NCCU has been a part of the council since 2009.
“Quality Matters is really interested in what’s happening in North Carolina, specifically with the UNC System, because ours is the only system with grassroots support from each campus,” Brooks said. “We also have the support and investment from our statewide system office.”
The virtual conference was titled “Ensuring Quality in Digital Education.”
Brooks was just one of only three higher education administrators from the U.S. invited to speak on the panel regarding the “Digital Education Perspectives and Best Practices from the United States.”
“I was honored and humbled to be one of three throughout the entire QM English speaking community; it is an overwhelming privilege,” she said. “My presentation has quite a few sections dedicated specifically to NCCU, so I’m glad to share with the global community what NCCU and the entire UNC System is doing.”
Brooks received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from NCCU in 2006. She also obtained a master’s from Georgia State University in Spanish literature in 2010 and a doctorate in educational evaluation and policy analysis from N.C. State University in 2015.