A Quality Framework for Digital Learning


Who developed the CWiC framework?

The CWiC Framework was developed by Tyton Partners, in collaboration with the Online Learning Consortium, and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the “Foundation”) as part of the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to support the development and adoption of high quality digital courseware.  An advisory committee consisting of postsecondary leaders, with input from courseware vendors, guided the refinement of the framework. It was released initially in 2016.

How should the CWiC Framework be used?

The CWiC Framework can be applied to any online or blended course utilizing digital courseware.  For ease of comparability, we would suggest an intro-level course with large enrollments that uses commercially-available courseware. The framework, however, is not a definitive guide to purchasing, implementing or using digital courseware, nor is it a scoring system to rate products or institutions. It is, however, a tool to inform decisions about the selection and implementation of quality courseware for a given course, recognizing that quality means different things across courses, institutions and instructors (hence “Courseware in Context”).

Why was the CWiC Framework developed?

Input from stakeholders on both the institution and supplier sides of the courseware market have indicated need for improved transparency around courseware product functionality and greater efficiency in the selection and procurement processes. The CWiC Framework is a resource to help fill those gaps.

Who should use the CWiC framework?

In most cases, a tech-savvy faculty member or instructional designer may leverage the CWiC Primer or Product Taxonomy when exploring courseware products, or the entire CWiC Framework when reviewing a course. Likewise, an administrator, program-lead, or department-head may use it for whole course review. Other audiences that may be interested include digital courseware vendors, learning science researchers, associations, and accreditors.

Where can the CWiC Framework be AcCessed?

The CWiC framework can be accessed as downloadable, static documents at coursewareincontext.org.  In addition, an interactive version of the CWiC Framework is available on the LearnPlatform, and the Product Taxonomy has been integrated into the EdSurge Product Index.  Over time, the CWiC framework will be accessible via other partnerships. If you’d like to discuss opportunities to integrate or disseminate the framework, contact us at CWiC@onlinelearning-c.org.

Is access to the CWiC Framework free?

Yes, the CWiC Framework is free to access and may be disseminated under a Creative Commons-BY license. It is also a field-owned resource. Please feel free to download the Framework, make it your own, and share with the postsecondary community.

Who “owns” the CWiC Framework?

The CWiC Framework is maintained by the Executive Committee with support from the OLC.

Is the CWiC Framework grounded in research?

Yes, efficacy research was completed by SRI International, which led a literature review to build a complete summary and the related citations. The research summary includes a broad literature review that will be updated annually through curated field-sourced citations.

Has the CWiC Framework been tested by experts?

Yes, the CWiC Framework has been piloted by several of the institutions represented on the CWiC Executive Committee in 2016 and 2017.  Pilots completed in 2017 applied the interactive version of the CWiC Framework on the LearnPlatform to evaluate and compare courseware products already in use at their institutions. Case studies on these pilots are available on the Resources tab.

How does the CWiC Framework differ from other online course quality frameworks and rubrics?

Among the roughly 20 or so online / blended learning quality frameworks available today, the CWiC framework is the only one focused on supporting the evaluation and use of digital courseware products. The CWiC Framework incorporates explicitly peer-reviewed published research by aligning citations to capabilities of courseware products.

What is the difference between online and blended courses?

According to the Online Learning Consortium, online courses are courses in which “all course activity is done online; there are no required face-to-face sessions within the course and no requirements for on-campus activity”. Blended courses are courses in which “most course activity is done online, but there are some required face-to-face instructional activities, such as lectures, discussions, labs, or other in-person learning activities.” Courseware can be used in online and blended course formats.