10/18/2018
Virtual University of Medical Sciences
In the name of God
The Ministry of Health and Medical Education
Deputy of Education



Accreditation standards set of Virtual Schools and Virtual Education Centers of the universities of medical sciences of the country
In this document, accreditation standards set of Virtual Education Centers of the universities of medical sciences of the country is provided. According to the assessment structure and accreditation regulations of virtual education centers, the draft of these standards is first prepared in the Standard Committee and then it is edited and approved in the Accreditation Commission of Virtual Education. And finally, it receives the final approval in the Specialized Council of Virtual Education. Each standard has two levels of basis and quality improvement, complying all basis standards for obtaining the definite license is mandatory.

Definitions:
The following terminologies must be complied correctly in all the documents concerning standards:

• Open learning: refers to any type of teaching method within which all the barriers (time, place and special conditions) are removed that Distance learning is one form of it.
• Distance learning: refers to all types of teaching methods within which learner does not need to be physically present in the educational place that e-Learning is one form of it.
• E-Learning: refers to all the activities that are done via internet and it empowers teaching-learning process (in this document e-learning is equal with virtual education) and includes two main categories:
  - Synchronous teaching: is a type of electronic learning that within which the teacher and the learner participate in teaching-learning process simultaneously, such as web conference, video conference and virtual classroom.
  - Asynchronous teaching: is a type of electronic learning that within which teacher and learner participate in teaching-learning process in different time such as assigning homework in Learning Management System.
• Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): is a system that manages all the events concerning learning electronically. Some of the main features of these systems are enrolling learners, providing lessons and educational course, recording the activities of teachers and learners, providing reports from the activities, delivering assignments, giving feedback by teachers, transferring messages, educational calendar, announcing the main events, holding the exams online and… . These systems are categorized into three general types:
  - Commercial: the sources of programming these systems are not available for the public and they are usually sold by big companies.
  - Open source: these systems are usually programmed with open source languages of programming and they are available for the public and their package is usually available free of charge.
  - Customized: these systems are developed by different centers and they are designed for special purposes. They could be programmed either with open source or close source languages.

♣ Learning Content Management System (LCMS): these systems are the environments that the developers of electronic learning programs use them for producing, storing, reusing, managing and finding the contents from the source. These systems usually have powerful searching abilities and they provide this opportunity for the developers of the electronic content to develop electronic contents with learning pathway. The outputs of these systems are usually imported to electronic learning management system.
• The Virtual Education Centers: refers to the virtual education centers that they have definite commission of approval in their assessment structure and accreditation of the virtual education centers and they supply the standards of the virtual schools and they have definite license Council of Expanding Medical Sciences Universities of the country.
• The standards of the Virtual Education Centers: it includes all the requirements that the provider centers of the virtual education plans must meet for the qualifications and improving the quality and provide appropriate education environment and also supervise the scrupulousness of implementing virtual education plans.
• Virtual plans standards: all the requirements that all virtual plans must meet for receiving license and improving the quality.
• E-student: are all the learners who are trained via virtualization. This education consists of official majors leading to certificate, educational assistance, in-service and empowerment, constant or professional education or training society.
• E-teacher: are all the teachers that perform their teaching via using synchronous or asynchronous virtual online facilities. This education consists of official majors leading to certificate, educational assistance, in-service and empowerment, constant or professional education or training society.
• E-content: refers to all educational contents consisting multimedia, electronic files, graphic, text, slide, animation, sources of lessons, the contents resulting after the students’ cooperation or students and teachers’ cooperation that are able to be performed via electronic education management system in internet.


Domination Area

Standard 1. Determining the goals and missions
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have written strategic plan in electronic learning area and the goals, types of activities, short and long-term plans must be determined within. This strategic plan must be approved in educational council or the board of directors of the universities.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have clear policy in assuring and supervising. Moreover, it should have constant monitoring, assessing, and reporting system for updating and improving the strategic plan.

Standard 2. Manager
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have independent* manager who is one of the faculty members and has adequate physical presence** in the workplace.
B) Improving quality: the manager of the virtual education center is better to have relevant work experience and accredited scientific certificates in electronic learning, medical education or educational technology in medical sciences.
* This means that the manager should not have another starred position.
** At least 3 working days in a week

Standard 3. Faculty members
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have enough numbers of faculty members (at least 3 members for virtual education centers universities type 1, and 1 member for other centers) who have specialized experience in electronic learning area or the certificates for virtual education courses for developing virtual education plans.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have independent faculty member with expertise in electronic learning, medical education or educational technology in medical sciences along with practical virtual education.

Standard 4. Human resource and structure
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have structure and enough expert human resource in electronic learning area in a way that they have the ability of administering technical duties.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have approved operational chart and its positions must be filled with special personnel being employed in virtual education.

Standard 5. Turnover
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have fixed turnover record and the total fees and revenues must be independently reported.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have will power for its special paying of the earnings in improving the quality of plans area.

Infrastructure Area

Standard 6. Learning Management Systems
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have at least of one active Learning Management System (LMS). By the word active, it is meant a system that is providing services concerning teaching-learning and students and the faculty members must be the members of the system and they are being active in. It is necessary that this system be independent of virtual constant educational plans providing system.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have make use of different systems and up to date and suitable software for different virtual education model especially the clinical ones.

Standard 7. Website
A) The basis: the virtual education system must have active and dynamic private website and must perform the information regarding the covering units and subsidiaries separately. Also, it should have active and up to date NEWS section and provides new educational resources to its users.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to use new technologies such as cell phone applications and NEWS readers, and share the education content regarding specialized electronic learning and the reliable supporting resources from students.

Standard 8. Hardware
A) The basis: the virtual education center must be equipped at least with necessary hardware equipment needed for developing, performing and supporting virtual education services including general hardware (computer, printer, scanner and …) and special hardware (server and accessories, storing accessories and …).
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have private standard forum server in university.

Standard 9. Network
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have internet connection with the least necessary bandwidth (the special bandwidth must be at least 2 mb for each user of the centers) with the necessary reliability for performing virtual education services including the internal network of the center as well as the external connection.
B) Improving the quality: the virtual education center is better to make use of internet connection from two sources with switching ability.

Standard 10. The physical environment
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have enough physical environment suitable with its activities including Dean’s Office, room for the experts of virtual education, rooms for technical experts, small conference hall (20 to 30 members capacity), special room for teachers, special place for developing electronic content and a place for hardware maintenance.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to have independent physical atmosphere for performing virtual classes and suitable place for holding in person virtual program part.

Standard 11. Developing content and studio for audio and video recording
A) The basis: the virtual education center must be equipped with necessary facilities for developing electronic content such as acoustic room for audio recording (with the sound drop of 35 db and circulation voice of at least 0/6 seconds), powerful computers for developing storing content and related software and skilled experts who are trained for developing content.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center is better to produce various types of electronic content adaptable with up to date technology.

Education process area

Standard 12. Instructional design
A) The basis: the virtual educational center must have the essential and documented process (such as forms, instructions, standards, check lists, flow chart) for designing virtual educational plans suitable with the principles and scientific findings.
B) Improving quality: the virtual education center must have up to date designing educational quality standards and systematic mechanism for assessing the plans in accordance with conventional standards.

Standard 13. Electronic contents standards
A) The basis: in developing and providing electronic content, educational and technical standards (such as reading and introducing instructions, compatibility with the users, accessibility, compatibility with goals, being cooperative, being up to date, kinesthetics principles, and existence of resources), (SCORM, Tin can API, IEEE and …) must be met and there must be documented process for this issue.
B) Improving quality: the appropriate electronic contents must make use of various types of standards compatible with improving technology.

Standard 14. Updating electronic contents
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have proper mechanism for updating and reviewing the developed electronic content and performing them again.
B) Improving quality: for updating the content, it is better to make use of the best existing evidences.

Standard 15. Evaluation
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have proper mechanism and documents for assessing the virtual education plan (consisting educational assistance, the courses leading to certificate), the learners of plans, teacher of plans, software for performing plans and electronic contents, it must also show that the results of assessing the previous plans in implementing the virtual education plans again or new one is considered
B) Improving quality: virtual education centers is better to have developed plan and research projects for assessing higher levels of learning (higher cognitive levels, and changes in participants’ performance and its effect on society).

Standard 16. Supporting systems
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have enough supporting and efficient systems for all users including students, virtual education teachers (such as instructions and guidelines, answering questions systems, educational packages and informing processes).
B) Improving qualities: the virtual education center is better to make use of new and up to date technologies like VoIP system and arrange a comprehensive system for supporting students and teachers.

Supporting and Consulting Area

Standard 17. Empowering the faculty members
A) The basis: the virtual education center must have empowering mechanism for the faculty members of the university in electronic content area and implement this empowering mechanism and its related activities at the university level.
B) Improving quality: it is better that virtual education center performs various ranges of educational programs including empowering workshops, courses leading to licenses and certificates.

Standard 18. Virtual education consultation
A) The basis: the virtual education center should have required and documented mechanism for performing necessary consultation for virtualization of educational plans by the electronic learning experts, medical education or educational technology in medical sciences to the faculty members of the university
B) Improving quality: it is better that virtual educational center arrange the process of following the consultations’ results and its effects on the environment.

Standard 19. Following copyright ethics
A) The basis: the ethical and legal principles including cultural principles, following copyright ethics (citing and asking for permission), keeping the privacy and professionalism must be met in developing and providing electronic contents.
B) Improving quality: it is better that the virtual education center has ethical codes in approved cyberspace.
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