Quality Matters

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Course Evaluation with Quality Matters

Our continuous improvement process is focused on the nationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM) program, a set of standards that serve as a national benchmark for online course design, and the principles of universal design for learning. UArizona is a member of QM, and we are committed to providing excellence in online education by designing courses that meet and exceed the Quality Matters Rubric. For more information, visit Quality Matters.

Quality Matters Has Three Core Components

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Rubric

At the University of Arizona, we apply the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric, which was empirically developed to evaluate online and mixed modality courses in a tertiary context. You can download the QM Higher Education Rubric Review Standards.

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Professional Development

As a subscribing member of Quality Matters, there are several professional development opportunities which are free to all UArizona faculty and staff. For more information and to register, visit Professional Development.

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Review Process

You can request a QM internal review (QMIR), conducted by a team of UArizona faculty and staff who have successfully completed QM training. You can also serve as a peer reviewer on these teams. Successful completion of these reviews result in an official Quality Matters seal on the homepage of your course. Learn more about the QMIR process below. 

Overview of QM Internal Review (QMIR) process at UArizona

At Digital Learning, our goal is to certify as many courses as possible. Every time we add a new Quality Matters seal to a course, it further validates the strength of the academic programs offered at UArizona. This is why we like to prioritize courses that have been taught several times and, ideally, have received some attention from instructional designers.

If you have taught your online course several times and are happy with it, you may request a QMIR for your course. Simply fill out the request form to get started!

You will receive an email notification when your course is selected for a QM internal review. At this point, you will be invited to submit a Course Review Worksheet, which offers some background information and context for the reviewers. This worksheet should take 20-30 minutes to complete.

After you submit your Course Review Worksheet, a team of three reviewers will be selected to review your course. These reviewers consist of UArizona instructors and staff who have received training in how to apply the Quality Matters Rubric to course evaluations. Shortly thereafter, the course review begins. This review, which lasts about 3 weeks, culminates in a designation of Met or Not Met. Apart from answering the occasional question about your course, the instructor is not involved in Step 3. 

If your course receives the designation of Not Met, you have 14 weeks to amend it based on reviewer recommendations. During this time, you will receive optional support from an instructional designer to assist you in making these changes. Once your course receives a Met designation, you will receive a QM seal on the homepage of your course.

The QM seal expires after three years. At this point, an instructional designer will contact you to schedule a recertification evaluation. 

Self-Review: If you are familiar with the Quality Matters Rubric and motivated to apply it directly to your own courses, the option to perform a self-review is available for you. Self-reviews are basically what they sound like. After logging into your MyQM account, you will submit a reviewer worksheet that guides you through the evaluation of one of your own online or blended courses. This Quality Matters self-review tutorial guides you through the process.

Benefits

There are some potential benefits for all courses that successfully complete a Quality Matters internal review.

  • Quality Matters Seal: An official Quality Matters seal, good for three years, will be added to the homepage of your course.

  • Evidence for HLC accreditation: A successful review provides nationally recognized evidence that that your online course follows sound pedagogical practices, which you may use to support the accreditation process.

  • Evidence for tenure review: A successful internal review shows that you are a skilled educator and competent online instructor, which could be used for self promotion in the tenure process.

  • Professional service requirement: Participating in an internal review, either as a reviewer or a course developer, may satisfy the annual professional service requirement for career track educators in your department.

  • Professional development: The QM internal review will help you to learn about best practices in online course design and to think critically about your own course design methods.

Additional Resources

Please contact Nicole Schmidt at nicoleschmidt@email.arizona.edu with any questions about using Quality Matters at the University of Arizona.