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Online Course Review & Quality Standards (QM)

In order to ensure the quality in online courses, a nationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM) Rubric (summary version) is used to evaluate the design of online courses. A peer-review process is utilized in which two faculty reviewers and an instructional designer use the QM rubric to evaluate an online course and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. The evaluation rubric includes eight major standards with forty-three specific criteria in the following areas:

  • Course Overview and Introduction
  • Learning Outcomes (or Competencies) and Objectives
  • Assessment and Measurement
  • Instructional Materials
  • Course Activities and Learner Interaction
  • Course Technology
  • Learner Support
  • Accessibility and Usability

Online courses that do not pass the QM review will be revised and improved until a passing evaluation is achieved.

Course Review Process

The QM Peer Review ProcessAll online courses are currently required to be reviewed every three years or when significant changes are made to the course design. Academic departments are to initiate reviews. Faculty reviewers are selected from a list of approved reviewers and are compensated $250 for each review. Review results are shared with the Associate Dean, faculty developers and assigned instructional designers (where applicable), so that improvements can be made where needed.

A set of new OCR Process Recommendations are currently be discussed with Faculty Senate leadership and the AD Council, with plans to become effective Summer 2016.

Quality Matters FAQS

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to improve the quality of online courses and online components. Colleges and universities use the QM tools in developing, maintaining and reviewing their online courses and in training their faculty. The Quality Matters rubric has become the most widely used set of standards for the design of online and blended courses at the college level. More than 850 colleges and universities subscribe to Quality Matters.

SLCC has purchased a Basic Subscription to QM, which allows anyone at the college to use the QM rubric to evaluate the design of their online courses. Subscribing to QM gives us access to a nationally-recognized rubric based on the latest research in online course design.

No. Quality Matters is a rubric to evaluate the design and learning environment of a course. The rubric is not designed to evaluate how that course is delivered or the instructor who delivers it.

No. Our license allows us to share QM materials with SLCC staff and faculty, but not students. We cannot, may not, and must not provide the rubric in any form, or deliver any QM intellectual property, to anyone outside our institution. There are also restrictions on where we can use the QM logo.

The QM rubric (QM Standards Summary) addresses eight key areas of course design, which research has shown will improve the student experience and student learning outcomes. The eight general standards are:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Course Activities and Learner Interaction
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility and Usability

A self-review is a great way to identify any areas of improvement, outside of the regular review process. Instructions for completing a self-review. You are allowed to self-register. SLCC’s QM Coordinator receives an email notification when you initiate the review. When you’ve completed the review, you have the option to email the results to yourself and others.

Begin by reviewing the information on the Quality Matters website. QM also offers a monthly webinar series that is free to subscribers. See QM Success Stories to register. SLCC Online & eLearning Services will also be sponsoring workshops to introduce faculty to Quality Matters.

For questions regarding the course review process and quality standards, please contact:

Robert Lindsay