Evaluating online courses can be a challenge, but you can certainly develop template to evaluate the structure and quality of some online courses.
We offer a service to clients for evaluating their courses against a number of metrics, and it’s never an easy process, although it is without doubt a valuable one!
I quite like the OCAT (Online Course Assessment Tool) from Western Carolina University, which is now in it’s second version.
For me, personally, and a business person, the three ratings of Evident, Not Evident, and Not Applicable are far too politically correct. It’s a bit like telling Students they are Competent, Nearly Competent, or Not Yet Competent. Perhaps with University staff anything more critical than “Not Evident” would be politically incorrect. As a business person however, I have little respect for people who want to live in Ivory Towers, and our evaluation rating are a lot more critical (in the truest meaning) than this. As a manager, as a business, anyone commissioning an evaluation of online courses needs to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s about student (customer) service, and providing value for money.
I also like Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of Online Courses by Clayton Wright from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (and I once spent a great couple of weeks there exploring Edmonton, Alberta, and the Dinosaur Provincial Park and the amazing Royal Tyrrell Museum.
I think this is more of a document one could give to staff before carrying out a review or evaluation of courses. It’s more accessible and friendly, and appears to refer to some Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as well as pedagogic focus.