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.

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 Designer 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 or EdSurge DLN.  In addition, an interactive version of the CWIC framework instruments is available for free at Learn Trials.  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@tytonpartners.com.

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 Strategy Council, which guides strategic direction and priorities.  The strategy council is made up of representatives from Tyton Partners, OLC, SRI International, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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 was piloted in the Spring of 2016 by four of the institutions represented on the advisory committee.  These included Ivy Tech Community College, The University of Georgia, The University of Central Florida and Kaplan University.

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 Babson Survey Research Group, online courses are courses in which most or all of the content is delivered online. They typically have no face-to-face meetings. Blended courses are courses that blend online and face-to-face delivery. In this case, a substantial proportion of the content is delivered online and typically has a reduced number of face-to-face meetings. Courseware can be used in online and blended course formats.