How do I “do” Quality Matters?

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Demystifying the QM Peer Review process and how you can start your own QM journey.

Now that we’ve established the foundational principles behind Quality Matters and why Quality Matters is important, you may be wondering how you can get involved in QM. The primary way is to engage in the peer review process, either by having your own course reviewed or by becoming a peer reviewer yourself. But what exactly does the peer review process entail?

There are two parts that work hand-in-hand to make up the core of Quality Matters: the QM Rubric and the Peer Review Process. The QM Rubric consists of eight standards and is focused on course design (rather than content or content delivery). These eight standards are:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility and Usability

The Rubric also includes detailed and extensive annotations that explain the application of the Standards, make connections between Standards, and provide examples. You can access an abbreviated version of the QM Rubric (without annotations) at the UA Quality Matters site.

The Peer Review Process is the implementation of the QM Rubric and follows specific guidelines and procedures set forth by QM that ensure that the Rubric is interpreted and applied appropriately and consistently across all reviews. At UArizona, the peer review process involves the following steps:

  1. The Course Representative (typically the instructor or course developer) submits the course for a QM Internal Review (QMIR).
  2. The Course Representative completes a Course Worksheet, which provides the review team with necessary information for their review.
  3. The QM Coordinator assigns a three-person review team to the course.
  4. The review team works together to review the course using the QM Rubric by:
    1. identifying evidence (or lack thereof) in the course of each Specific Review Standard
    2. deciding based on that evidence whether the Standard is met at an 85% level or not met
    3. providing specific feedback on how to improve the course design based on that Specific Review Standard.
  5. The review team submits their review and it goes to the Course Representative and the QM Coordinator. The QM Coordinator helps to explain and interpret the review team’s comments and, if the course has not met expectations, works with the Course Representative to make a plan to amend the course.
  6. If the course requires amendments: The Course Representative submits an explanation of the changes they made to the course and those changes go to the review team chair for review.
  7. Upon meeting expectations, the course is given QM Certification. This certification is displayed in D2L and the course is added to the Quality Matters Showcase.

While any instructor will benefit from having their online/blended course reviewed, the way to get the most out of QM is to become a reviewer. The first step to becoming a reviewer is to take the "Applying the Quality Matters Rubric" (APPQMR) workshop. This workshop is QM's flagship workshop on the QM Rubric and the peer review process, and upon completion, you will be eligible to review courses here at UArizona. Through being part of the review team, you will develop a deep understanding of QM Standards and best practices that will translate to your own online course design, gain insights from faculty across all departments and programs, and contribute to setting the standard for online education at UArizona.

For a deeper, more personal look at how QM has impacted one faculty member’s experience, see our Spotlight on Kathleen Kennedy, Master Reviewer. For more information on QM, visit the UA Quality Matters site or the official QM website.

Authored By:

Michelle Vonie

Thumbnail Placeholder
Instructional Designer II