Quality Matters – what is it?

QM is not for sale!

A Target Sign I Couldn't Resist

First, it’s very cool!

Quality Matters (QM) is a way of reviewing and evaluating the design of a fully online or hybrid course. It’s a nationally recognized rubric. It’s a collaborative process between a review team and the faculty member teaching the course. The outcome is course improvement.

QM is broken down into eight categories.  Each of these is then broken down into “specific review standards”. Each standard is given a numeric value from 3 (most important) to 1 (less important). 

Here on our campus we use QM is a more informal way. We’ve modified the QM rubric a bit and use it for course development of fully online or hybrid courses.  We’ve also made a version just for eCorrespondence courses. Currently at Centralia College, the QM review is done between our Instructional Designer (Kathy Brooks) and the faculty member.

But here’s what I think is the best thing about QM – I truly believe it can help ANY course – regardless of teaching mode.  Much of the QM rubric just makes sense.  Here are a few standards from the formal QM rubric:

  • Standard 1.1 (3 points) Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components.
  • Standard 2.1 (3 points) The course learning objectives describe outcomes that are measurable.
  • Standard 3.5 (2 points) “Self-check” or practice assignments are provided, with timely feedback to students.
  • Standard 4.4 (1 point) All resources and materials used in the course are appropriately cited.
  • Standard 8.1 (3 points) The course incorporates ADA standards and reflects conformance with institutional policy regarding accessibility in online and hybrid courses.

And here are some things QM is NOT (not not not!):

  • not about teacher performance
  • not about course delivery
  • not about the course management system (currently we use Angel)
  • not about student engagement and readiness
  • not a win/lose process
  • not judgemental

I should add that the new 2011-2013 QM rubric is about to be published.

Want to talk Quality Matters? Just give us in eLearning a holler!


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