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
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.
As a subscribing member of Quality Matters, there are several professional development opportunities which are free to all UArizona faculty and staff. To become a peer reviewer, you need to take the Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR) workshop. For more information and to register, visit Professional Development.
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.
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.
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.
Check out the Quality Matters Showcase to see list of faculty who have received QM certification for their courses.
University of Arizona’s Quality Matters Multi-Section Policy
The purpose of the Multi-Section Policy is to clarify the circumstances under which the QM Certification Seal for internal reviews can be used with multiple sections of the certified “master” course. This policy concerns, but is not limited to:
- Courses taught by multiple instructors
- Courses that have been adjusted to accommodate sessions of various lengths
- Courses that have been passed to a new instructor, who has made modifications to it
An internal Quality Matters review of an online or blended course is based on a single instance of a course. The Quality Matters Certification Seal may be displayed in association with repeated offerings of the course, taught by multiple instructors, allowing for minor enhancements that continue to meet the QMIR Standards. Significant changes require a full Quality Matters Internal Rereview.
Sections of the master course that attained QM-certification may carry the QM Certification Seal provided the changes from the master course do not substantially impact the following aspects of the originally certified course:
- Course overview and introduction
- Alignment between course and module/unit learning outcomes
- Student engagement and active learning
- Grading policy and assessment criteria
- Provision of institutional policies
Please note: Any course section that follows the Multi-section policy is subject to recertification three years from the date of the audit.