Quality Matters Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Identify and outline the course's Learning Objectives. You need to have clearly stated learning objectives for the course as a whole as well as for each unit or module within the course. These should be measurable, so you should use the same sorts of verbs you would use in Student Learning Outcomes. (Here’s an example of a SLO verb list, as well as a link to our Bloom's Taxonomy resource) The QM rubric focuses strongly on the alignment of course activities, assignments, and assessments with the objectives, so it’s not possible to review a course unless objectives are stated.

  2. Identify and outline any specific technical requirements necessary for your course. It's unnecessary to list word processors or basic computer skills, but if your course requires extensive understanding of more esoteric programs, software, or websites, be sure you specify those requirements. Also list any crucial hardware essential to your course such as webcams or microphones, and suggest ideal models and links to where those can be purchased.

  3. Read over the QM Rubric. The rubric is exactly what the the reviewers use when analyzing your course, so the more you know about what reviewers look for, the better you can prepare your course for review. You can perform a self-test once you create an account on the Quality Matters website (if you don't already have one). Once you log in, go to Course Review Management Systems, look under the My Course Reviews tab, and open a Self-Review for access to an updated rubric.

  4. Teach the course. "Seasoning" your course, or teaching it at least once in its current format, allows a chance for you to tweak any design hiccups that arise as you actually teach it.

A QM peer reviewer from our campus will be assigned to your course. You will submit a Faculty Developer Worksheet that provides some background information about the course.The reviewer will then prepare a Reviewer Worksheet with detailed feedback on the 41 Specific Standards in the QM rubric.The reviewer will indicate whether each one is Met or Not Met; to meet the QM standards overall, the course must meet all the Essential Standards (21 of them), and have a total of 84 points out of the possible 99 (85%).

A best practice for Peer Reviewers is to offer some constructive suggestions for improvement on every standard, even those that are met. The reasoning is that it’s not often that you will have an objective observer spend the time and effort to review your course at this level of detail. As long as someone is spending the time doing the review, you should get as much feedback as possible.

If your course does not meet the QM standards initially (and this is common), you will be encouraged to make changes in the course to meet the standards. The peer reviewer will provide specific guidance and ideas for you to follow. Of course, there are many ways to meet the standards, so you may find other ways besides those suggested; however, the reviewer’s goal will be to make it as easy as possible for you to achieve the QM standards.Once you have made changes, you will notify the reviewer, and the reviewer will go back through and re-evaluate the course on those standards that were not met previously. The goal of every QM review is that the course will meet the standards at the end of the process.

Once your course meets the QM standards, you will receive your professional development or stipend payment, along with a certificate acknowledging that your course has been internally reviewed and met QM standards.

In the Cohort Meetings, faculty discuss elements that they can add to their courses to meet the QM Rubric. Discussions can range from recommendations of useful software and apps to anecdotal alternatives and working examples. Questions concerning application and interpretation of the QM Rubric are encouraged, as the meetings are geared toward collaboration and discussion. The instructional designers from OIT provide models for meeting essential standards, discuss best practices, and sponsor discussions on how course design can best facilitate classroom and discipline pedagogy.

Faculty are required to participate in a QM Cohort because courses created by faculty that have been through a cohort get through a QM review much more quickly than courses created by faculty who haven't. Because of the large volume of courses that need QM review by 2016, the QM Cohort Meetings have become mandatory.


Is there any way to get out of the mandatory QM Cohort Meetings?

Yes! You can take the online Applying the QM Rubric course from Quality Matters. This is a two-week online course that requires about 20 hours total work time to complete. If you successfully complete this course, you are exempt from attending a QM cohort, as you will have a detailed understanding of the QM rubric. You can still get help if you need it from instructional design specialists Mary Harriet Talbut and Kris Baranovic. Also, if you complete one additional course, you can become a QM peer reviewer and earn stipend or professional development funds by reviewing courses. If you wish to take an online QM course, contact Mary Harriet Talbut or Kris Baranovic for details.

Contact Mary Harriet Talbut or Kris Baranovic and we can explain the specifics of any element of that worksheet or here is the Course Representative Worksheet for reference.

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