Status Tracking and Reporting the Quality Matters Process at the University of North Georgia

Nina Lamson
University of North Georgia

David Babb
University of North Georgia

Robert Schmidt
University of North Georgia


The University of North Georgia utilizes the internal Quality Matters (QM) process to review all their online courses. As our online course offerings have increased, the need to devise a system to track the QM process, ensure timely reviews, and begin recertification of previously reviewed courses was necessary. As a result, several reports have been devised to capture this process: 1) a master list of all online course offerings, 2) bi-weekly status reports, and 3) QM reviewer status reports. The process that is used and the resulting reports will be shared in this report.


Gainesville State College and North Georgia College and State University were consolidated January, 2013, and became the University of North Georgia (UNG).  Each institution offered online courses before the consolidation, but only NGCSU was using Quality Matters (QM) as a means to review online courses. After consolidation this became the method for review of all online courses at UNG.  The management of the quality assurance program is overseen by the Distance Education & Technology Integration (DETI) Division and, in particular, the presenters of this paper.

Online course offerings at UNG have increased considerably since consolidation with a 19% increase from 2013 to 2014, and a 12% increase from 2014 to 2015. As of spring 2016 there are 577 online course offerings with a status record in the Master List (ML) that is maintained. This report identifies the status of the course as 1) the QM course review process is completed, 2) it is currently in the QM process, or 3) for various reasons the course did not require a review. What follows is an outline of the QM process at UNG and descriptions of the main reports that are produced.

The Internal QM Online Course Review Process at UNG

Initial Stage (the Master List and Status Reports)

Initiate QM Process

QM Peer Reviewer Process

Concluding the QM process

1. If meets standards

2. If does not meet standards

The Master List

The master list is an excel file, which tracks the status of all the online course reviews.

Continuation . . .

The information contained in the ML columns have this information (duration is measured in workdays):

The Bi-Weekly Report

The ML is condensed into a bi-weekly Excel report that the QMC’s use to determine the follow-up actions that need to be implemented to identify courses needing to be put into QM, following up with CR’s, Reviewer’s, Chairs, as needed depending on the current course status (see the “comments” column). The report consists of these tabs:

  1. Overview: Summary of the information contained in the report
  2. Open: Listing of all courses currently in QM in chronological order of oldest to newest
  3. No Reviews: Courses for which their status classification is yet to be determined. Most are the new online courses currently being taught for the first time. Reviews are initiated once a course has been taught for a semester. 
  4. Recertification: This lists the courses that are up for recertification, 3 years after haven been certified

The Reviewer’s Report

Also condensed from the ML, this report identifies the active, QM certified, internal peer-reviewers, the number of reviews they have conducted in a fiscal year (FY) and their average time to complete a review.  At UNG we have a memo of understanding with our reviewers for which a stipend is earned for completing a minimum of six reviews in the FY. The reviews are evenly assigned to meet this objective.


It is stated in the UNG faculty handbook that “all courses offered fully online will be Quality Matters (QM) certified.” In support of this policy the above mentioned process and reporting system have been developed so that this goal is met. But, it goes beyond this, as we know designing (and, delivering) quality online courses is paramount in providing a quality education to our student body.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume XIX, Number 2, Summer 2016
University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center
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