Quality Matters at UTC!
Quality Matters (QM), an internationally recognized, standards-based program, offers faculty quality assurance in online and hybrid course design with a focus on continuous improvement. The Quality Matters program is rubric-based. The 43 standards are specific to higher education, are backed by research, and are nationally recognized as a means to improve course design. Other institutions using QM include Texas A&M, Michigan State University, and UMass Boston.
The Quality Matters rubric is designed to review courses across eight broad standards:
- Course Overview and Introduction
- Learning Objectives (Competencies)
- Assessment and Measurement
- Instructional Materials
- Learning Activities and Learner Interactions
- Course Technology
- Learner Support
- Accessibility and Usability
QM is all about ensuring quality in learner-centered course design. To that end, the Walker Center has been assisting faculty with Quality Matters course reviews and certifications. The university recently passed the first major milestone of the QM timeline on August 31, 2018, with 91% of faculty teaching online and/or hybrid courses having completed the QM Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop. To date, 329 instructors at UTC have completed this professional development opportunity.
Spotlight on HHP
The Human Health and Performance Department is leading the university in course certifications. Dr. Marisa Colston, HHP Department Head, has this to say about their efforts:
I am grateful to work with a dedicated group of faculty who are innovative and eager to learn new approaches for effective teaching. Everyone benefits from QM regardless of the course format. Therefore, we committed to a 100% completion rate of the QM Rubric Workshop and did so well in advance of the due date…In addition, we have had a number of faculty work diligently in earning QM course certification. This again is a testament to the commitment of our wonderful faculty and adjunct instructors in Health and Human Performance.
According to the HHP faculty, the benefits of revising their courses and completing the QM certification process is paying off:
As a result of getting two of my classes certified through the Quality Matters process, I have seen my course outcomes improve tremendously…it has also helped my students clearly link course and module objectives to one another and to the assessments they are completing. Seeing the link helps them understand why the assessment is necessary and I believe that contributes to increased engagement in their work. (Amanda Durall, Exercise Science)
In the end, I feel that having multiple courses certified has reduced the cognitive load for students from our department who take each of the courses. Therefore, they can focus their time and energy on learning the material rather than decoding the course space and documents. (Melissa Powell, Dietetics)
The next QM milestone at UTC is coming on December 31, 2018, when all online general education courses should have begun the course certification process by submitting an application. Need help getting started? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a sandbox course space in UTC Learn. WCTL instructional developers are available to assist you in making revisions to your courses to align with QM quality course standards