This past May, I had the opportunity to attend a Quality Matters rubric application workshop. Quality Matters is a faculty led, peer review process that certifies online and hybrid courses as quality and effective courses. Their tagline is: “A national benchmark for online course design.”
From ‘Course Overview and Introduction’ to ‘Accessibility’ to ‘Course Technology’, their foundation for officially recognizing a quality online course lies upon 41 specific standards of quality arranged within a set of 8 broader scope standards. Courses are reviewed with a standards based rubric of various weighted aspects to the standards. Ultimately a determination of the level of quality and effectiveness will emerge based on the course’s score from the rubric.
At the rubric training course, we looked in depth at the eight standards and their specific subsection standards. We practiced examining various characteristics of sample courses and judging how well they aligned to the rubric standard we were studying. We also gave constructive advice and suggestions on how to improve that characteristic so that it was strengthened in its effectiveness.
In looking at my online course and others I’ve seen, a lot of the fundamentals and standards of Quality Matters are often already integrated in the areas that are effective and engaging for the students. Gaining the official Quality Matters recognition is a formal distinction to place on your course and proudly show that it is deemed a quality online course by an independent faculty peer review.
So now that I’ve completed the rubric application workshop… my next stop is peer reviewer certification!
Already teach online? Well, you’re in luck! OCIO Learning Technology offers grants for online instructors to obtain Peer Reviewer Certification. The grant pays the registration fee if the course is completed successfully. Attendance at the Quality Matters rubric application workshop must take place before acceptance in the Peer Reviewer course. Learn more about the grant at Learning Technology’s QM grant page.
Let me close with a quote from Henry David Thoreau (which I kinda changed a bit)…
“To affect the quality of the [class], that is the highest of the arts.”