Quality Matters (QM)™ is an internationally recognized, research-supported process to ensure qaulity of online course design that has been adopted at the University of West Georgia. It allows for the ongoing improvement of online and hybrid courses. Quality Matters was developed by the MarylandOnline grant project with the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). The goals of implementing the Quality Matters program at UWG are to increase student retention, learning, and satisfaction in online courses by applying better course design.
Quality Matters is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process created to promote the quality of online/hybrid course design and online components. In recent years, Quality Matters practices and rubric have emerged as the standard for the online/hybrid course design. QM has developed a prescribed sequence of workshops proposed to prepare instructors for becoming peer reviewers of online/hybrid courses that have been submitted for review.
As the University of West Georgia moves forward to implement the approved Complete College Georgia—University of West Georgia Campus Plan (2012), UWG Online continues to implement QM to assist in achieving the goals outlined in Strategic Imperative #2: Academic Success: Academic Programming and Faculty Support:
Part D: Measure and improve the quality of teaching in all academic programs
Action 1: Develop processes to identify, assess, and improve the quality of instruction
at all locations and through all modes of delivery.
Action 2: Implement faculty development opportunities consistent with a
Quality Matters processes benefit both individual faculty and their institutions in the following ways:
- Improved online and hybrid student learning outcomes and retention
- Provides a comprehensive process for course development, design, and revisions which are aligned with accreditation standards
- Integration of new technologies and research findings into technology enhanced learning environments
- Faculty professional development and certification
Faculty interested in completing UWG Online Quality Matters Training should submit an application, which includes a memorandum of understanding, to complete the courses. Selection of faculty to participate in QM training funded by the FDC is subject to priority/need assessment by the FDC and FDC budget restraints.
Each course is online, facilitated by Quality Matters through the Moodle platform (unless otherwise stated), and lasts two weeks. Participants can expect to spend 8-10 hours per week to complete courses. Faculty who have successfully completed the training, will be recognized on the UWG Online website and other marketing materials. UWG supports faculty through a three-course recommended sequence designed to develop skills in effective course design and review. Faculty take either the DYOC or IYOC, followed by the APPQMR, and then the PRC. Current course offerings and their suggested sequence are described below:
1a. DYOC (Designing Your Online Course)
The “Designing Your Online Course” workshop includes an overview of the QM Rubric and provides a framework to design an online course plan. Participants will be given an overview of the QM Rubric, focusing on learning objectives and overall course alignment. There are no prerequisite requirements. Participants will design one module of an online course, it is recommended participants have a course to work with throughout the session.
1b. IYOC (Improving Your Online Course)
The “Improving Your Online Course” (IYOC) workshop explores the QM Rubric and provides a framework to improve the quality of online courses. Participants use the QM Rubric to review their own courses and develop a course improvement plan. The content is based on the 21 essential Specific Review Standards of the Quality Matters Rubric. Participants come away with a plan for course improvement so enrolling in the workshop with a pre-developed online course is required.
2. APPQMR (Applying the Quality Matters Rubric)
The Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR) workshop is QM's flagship workshop on the QM Rubric and the process of using the QM Rubric to review online courses. It is intended for a broad audience, including but not limited to faculty, instructional designers, administrators, and adjunct instructors who wish to understand more about the QM Rubric and process of course review. There are no prerequisite requirements.
The APPQMR is the pre-requisite for the Peer Reviewer Course (listed below), which is the required course to become a QM Peer Reviewer.
3. The Quality Matters Peer Reviewer Course
The Peer Reviewer Course is designed to prepare experienced online faculty to become Quality Matters Certified Peer Reviewers. The Peer Reviewer Course includes a review of Quality Matters, practice critiquing and writing helpful recommendations, and a Practice Review in which the participants are asked to review specific standards in an online course using a simulated online rubric tool.
Eligibility requirements to become a QM Certified Peer Reviewer:
- Successful completion of the Applying the QM Rubric Workshop and the Peer Reviewer Course.
- Current for-credit online teaching experience (within the last 18 months).
- Quality Matters defines an online course as having “few (if any) face-to-face meetings, face-to-face meetings are limited to orientation or capstone events, or students have little or no expectation of meeting the instructor face-to-face.” The entire course is facilitated by technology.
- A hybrid course is defined as “approximately 25% to 75% of the course occurs face-to-face, significant portions of the learning are delivered both online and face-to-face.” Portions of the course are facilitated by technology.
- Complete an Application and a Memo of Understanding. Submit to QM.
UWG Online strives to assure that all academic programs have the capacity to transform lives. To increase the quality of their course design, faculty may choose to have their courses reviewed utilizing the Quality Matters Rubric. In order to meet Quality Matters review expectations using the Fifth Edition, 2014 QM Rubric, a course must meet each of the 21 essential standards. In addition, the course must receive a minimum of 84 (out of 99 points). Courses that successfully meet QM standards are eligible to carry the QM Certification Mark and will also be displayed on the Quality Matters site. QM recognized courses form the foundation of academically strong programs. Click to see the complete list of UWG courses that are Quality Matters Certified.
Faculty may also choose to have their courses informally evaluated through the UWG Online 5-Star Course Review. This internal review utilizes the 2014 QM Rubric. Courses which meet review standards will be awarded a 5-Star Course status by UWG Online. Visit the 5-Star Course Review page for more information.
For more information regarding UWG Online course review procedures, view the Quality Matters documentation.
Through Quality Matters professional development opportunties, faculty can discover the tools they need to develop high quality online, blended, or technology-enhanced courses. Faculty who participate in the UWG Online QM Training program complete a 3-course recommended sequence. Those future oriented faculty who complete all three courses are internally recognized as UWG Online Certified Course Developers and can also go on to become nationally recognized QM Peer Reviewers.
Click to see the complete list of faculty who have successfully completed the UWG Online QM Training Program.
A 5-Star course review at the University of West Georgia is an internal institutional review conducted by members of the UWG Online staff and two peer instructors you select utilizing the Quality Matters Rubric.
The peer feedback is provided by UWG Online staff members for each course review. Feedback provided is collegial in tone and language. Even courses that meet standards will benefit from the detailed, specific, and relevant feedback provided (QM, 2013).
Please contact the Online Faculty Development Center additional information at 678-839-5289 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the link for more information regarding UWG Online course reviews.
You can also view our 5-Star recognized courses.
For additional dates and available courses, please view the QM Course Calendar.
Note: Please allow one week between completion date of Applying the Quality Matters Rubric and starting date of the Peer Reviewer Course to ensure your record reflects successful completion of the APPQMR. This is a QM procedure.