Quality Matters Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Identify and outline the course's Learning Objectives. QM requires clearly stated learning objectives for the course and for each unit or module within the course. These should be measurable, using the active verbs that align with the course activities. (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 a course requires extensive use of more esoteric programs, software, or websites, be sure to specify those requirements. Also list any crucial hardware essential to the course such as webcams or microphones, and suggest ideal models and links to where those can be purchased.

  3. Include the Keys to Success book, found on the Collaboration course in Moodle. Contact the CSTL or the instructional designers for access to that course. The Keys to Success book is updated every semester, and covers 22 of the QM rubric's 99 points. It saves a ton of work for everyone involved if that resource is included.

  4. 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). 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.

  5. Teach the course. "Seasoning" a course, or teaching it at least once in its current format, allows for tweaking any design hiccups that arise as it's being taught.

A QM peer reviewer from Southeast will be assigned to your course. You will submit a Course Representative Worksheet to provides background information about the course, learning objectives, and access to supplementary materials.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 rare for an objective observer to spend time and effort working through another instructor's online course at this level of detail. As long as someone is spending the time doing the review, it's best to get as much feedback as possible.

If the course does not meet the QM standards initially (and this is common), the course may be revised until it meets the standards. The peer reviewer will provide specific guidance and ideas to meet any missed standards. 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 changes are maded, 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 a course meets the QM standards, any professional development or stipend payment are sent as well as an email acknowledging that the course has been internally reviewed and met QM standards. The course may then be offered online. As of Fall 2017, all online courses offered at Southeast must meet 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.


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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