Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

MTC Quality Enhancement Plan

What is MTC's QEP? Why is it important?

The QEP is titled MORE, which stands for Maximizing Online Readiness and Excellence.

MORE was created to increase the success of students in online courses. It will ensure that online students have every opportunity to be just as successful as students taking face-to-face classes. 

As the college prepares for the upcoming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaccreditation in Fall 2019, MTC has developed MORE to be the primary focus of our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). 

Introducing MORE 

The goal of MORE is to “increase student success in targeted online gateway courses” by:

  • Implementing a mandatory student readiness course (virtual backpack) to prepare students for online learning.
  • Implementing an Online Faculty Learning Community (OFLC) to prepare faculty for online teaching.
  • Facilitating coordination of student services for students in targeted online gateway courses.

If you have any questions or comments about the upcoming QEP, please contact Devin Henson, QEP Director, at QEP@midlandstech.edu or 803.822.6711

Why Was MORE Created?

According to SACSCOC, our institution should have a QEP that “(a) has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes; (b) has broad-based support of institutional constituencies; (c) focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success; (d) commits resources to initiate, implement, and complete the QEP; and (e) includes a plan to assess achievement” (QEP Standard 7.2).

In recent years, the percentage of students enrolled in at least one online course at MTC has steadily increased. Currently, over a third of MTC’s academic students take at least one fully online class each semester. While online enrollment has increased, success rates for online students lag behind those for on-ground students.

MTC students, faculty, and staff have also indicated in college-wide surveys, focus groups, and listening sessions, that MTC should address student readiness, faculty development, and improving student services for online students.

The QEP provides the college an opportunity to review programs and services, identify an area that can be enhanced, and dedicate time and resources to developing a plan for improvement. For reference, SACS provides summaries of past QEP initiatives.

For more information about MTC's Quality Enhancement Plan, "Maximizing Online Readiness and Excellence," download the report.

Download the QEP Report  

The Virtual Backpack

How does this meet the needs of students?
  • The Virtual Backpack is a free, non-credit earning course that MTC created based on responses from student surveys about online education at the college.
  • It is designed to both help you prepare to take an online course by giving you better expectations about what that experience is like and also to help you decide if an online class is a good option for you by providing clear expectations about what will be required from you as a student.
  • ​It’s also quick to complete with an average completion time of between 1.5 to 3 hours.
What content is included?
  • Four main modules: Survival Skills, Communication, Exploring Online Course, and Assessment and Feedback.
  • Survival skills covers things like attendance policies, time management, and college resources.
  • Communication focuses on how to handle interactions in an online environment.
  • Exploring Online Course gives you a practical introduction to using D2L by showing you how to access various features and resources in your classes.
  • Assessment and Feedback walks you through what assignments in an online class might look like as well as providing some helpful resources to improve your grades.
  • You will have to pass a short quiz to complete the course, but you can take it as many times as you like and are encouraged to look back through the modules to find the correct answer.
Who has to take it?

You only need to take it if:

  1. You want to take an online course in Spring 2020 or later AND
  2. You have not already completed an online course with a C or above
Anyone who has already completed an online course with a C or above will be exempted from the Virtual Backpack course. You only have to take the Virtual Backpack course if you want to enroll in an online class, so if you only plan on taking on campus, virtual, or hybrid courses you do not need to complete the course.
The Virtual Backpack will be required prior to Spring 2020 registration, so it is not required for online courses in the Summer 2019 or Fall 2019 semesters

Important Things To Know About MORE 

Six Targeted Online Gateway Courses

We’ve already introduced you to one of the major interventions in the M.O.R.E. plan, but the other two interventions only apply to six targeted online gateway courses. The QEP is intended to be a narrowly focused project designed to serve as a template for college-wide changes. Focusing on six courses enables us to pilot these enhancements to see what is successful and whether it should be expanded more broadly. The six courses where students will encounter these changes are:

·       AHS 102 – Medical Terminology

·       ART 101 – Art History and Appreciation

·       BUS 101 – Introduction to Business

·       ENG 101 – English Composition I

·       MAT 101 – Beginning Algebra

·       PSY 201 – General Psychology

These six courses were selected for the QEP because many students take them online, students tend to take them early in their college career, and there was a demonstrated need to increase student success in their online sections.

Online Faculty Learning Community and Enhanced Student Services

Within the six courses we mentioned in the last update, the college is investing in two major interventions which we hope will benefit students. The first is that faculty teaching online sections of those six courses will be going through a training program called an Online Faculty Learning Community. Faculty within this program will be able to study best practices in online education and benefit from each other’s experiences in teaching online. Faculty will go through this training in the fall semesters so that they can implement what they learn in their classes starting in Spring 2020.

The second major intervention the college is piloting is enhancing the student support services available to online students. As part of this effort, the college is planning on expanding its online tutoring and offering free, 24/7 tutoring to students in those targeted courses. Additionally, online students will be part of a piloted effort to offer “virtual” advising and also improved communication between faculty and advisers to help students stay on a path to success. Finally, library staff will also be working with faculty members to develop electronic library guides tailored to online learning in general and also guides specific to online students in those six classes.

QEP Committees

Executive Council

Purpose: MTC’s Executive Council consists of all senior leaders who report directly to the President. In addition to providing college-wide leadership, MTC’s Executive Council plays a high level, oversight role in the QEP. Executive Council oversees the QEP topic selection and ensures that it fits with the college’s mission, vision and strategic plan. They also select the Director and Assistant Director and ensure they have the support they need to implement a successful plan. Executive Council holds the QEP Director and Assistant Director accountable to the QEP goals through periodic progress reports and feedback.

  • Ronald L. Rhames | President
  • Starnell Bates | Vice President, Institutional Support
  • Joseph P. Bias | General Counsel 
  • Stefanie L. Goebeler | Assistant Vice President, Marketing Communications
  • Mary Holloway | Vice President, Student Development Services 
  • Barrie Kirk | Provost
  • Nancy McKinney | Associate Vice President, Philanthropy/CEO MTC Foundation 
  • Andrew Newton | Director, Academic and Career Advising
  • Shickre Sabbagha | Director, Student Retention 
  • Debbie Walker | Vice President, Business Affairs 
  • Chuck Whipple | Executive Director, Economic Development/Enterprise Campus 

QEP Leadership Team

Purpose: The QEP Leadership Team is a group consisting of leaders from a variety of QEP Committees, as well as other key leaders at MTC. The QEP Leadership Team provides guidance, suggestions for improvement, and overall leadership for the direction of the QEP. Team members strive to eliminate barriers to the successful implementation of MORE within their respective areas.

  • Kevin Bray | Assistant Director, Assessment, Research and Planning
  • Diane Carr | Vice Provost Academic Affairs
  • Melissa Ellington | English Department
  • Rob Gilmer | Instructor, Humanities Department (Assistant QEP Director)
  • Emily Wilson | Marketing Manager, Marketing Communications
  • Rhonda Grego | Instructor, English Department
  • Mary Helen Hendrix | Director, Office of Distance Learning 
  • Devin Henson | Associate Vice Provost, Arts and Sciences (QEP Director)
  • Melodie Hunnicutt | Adjunct Instructor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Sylvia Littlejohn | Assistant Vice President, Enrollment Management Services
  • Cindy Rogers | Director, Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Donna Zeek | Director of Curriculum

QEP Topic Selection Committee

Purpose: The QEP Topic Selection Committee was charged with soliciting input from college stakeholders and using that input to write a proposal for the QEP Topic. The committee presented the proposal to constituents throughout the college to gather feedback. The committee submitted the proposed topic to the Executive Council, and the topic, MORE, was subsequently approved.

  • Kimberly Adams-Cochran | Department Assistant, Nursing
  • Mary Helen Hendrix | Director, Office of Distance Learning 
  • Devin Henson | Associate Vice Provost, Arts and Sciences (QEP Director)
  • Melodie Hunnicutt | Adjunct Instructor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Cindy Rogers | Director, Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Donna Zeek | Director of Curriculum

QEP Topic Development Committee

Purpose: The QEP Topic Development Committee was charged with developing the QEP Topic into a full Quality Enhancement Plan. The committee designed the details of the QEP and wrote the QEP document. The committee also began preliminary tasks necessary to lay the groundwork for a successful QEP implementation, such as developing the curriculum for the Virtual Backpack course and Online Faculty Learning Community (OFLC).

  • Melissa Ellington | Instructor, English Department
  • Rhonda Grego | Instructor, English Department
  • Mary Helen Hendrix | Director, Office of Distance Learning
  • Devin Henson | Associate Vice Provost, Arts and Sciences (QEP Director)
  • Suzie Lee | Batesburg-Leesville Associate Director, Student and Campus Information