The University is a member of the Quality Matters (QM) Program through a statewide consortium of universities and community colleges in Arizona. QM provides a set of standards that serves as a national benchmark for online course design. The Office of Digital Learning is committed to providing excellence in online education by designing courses that meet and exceed the Quality Matters Rubric.
Quality Matters is a research-based, peer-review model for continuous improvement of online and hybrid courses. At the core of Quality Matters is a rubric consisting of 8 General Standards and 43 Specific Review Standards. The standards only examine the design of the course - they do not evaluate content or facilitation.
Quality Matters seeks to improve and recognize course design that research has shown leads to improved student outcomes. The QM process is faculty-centered. Course design is reviewed by faculty members who have completed professional development on how to apply the rubric and have experience in teaching online courses. The goal of the peer review process is to provide an opportunity for continuous improvement in a collegial atmosphere. QM is not intended to be used for faculty evaluations of any kind. It is about the course, not the instructor.
Click here ◥ to learn more on the QM website.
Quality Matters Reviews at the University of Arizona
The purpose of conducting internal and external reviews is to encourage instructors to take time to reflect on their course design and engage in a collaborative process with the intention of promoting student success in an online course.
Quality Matters is a peer review process using a research-based rubric that is characterized by four principles:
- Continuous- courses receive either a Met or Not Met with the goal of all courses eventually meeting all standards
- Centered- on best practices in course design that create quality online courses
- Collegial- both instructor and reviewer contribute to the review process
- Collaborative- the review is based on evidence found in the course and recommendations acknowledge that there are many ways to meet each standard
Shortened Rubric and Course Worksheet
The full QM rubric has 43 Specific Review Standards. Of those 43 standards, there are 23 Essential Standards. Essential Standards are considered to be so important to the design of an online course that all must be met for a course to earn a Met rating overall.
For internal reviews, we are using all of Standard 1, Course Overview and Introduction, and the Essential Standards for Standards 2-8. Internal reviews also use a shortened version of the course worksheet that the instructor completes. This worksheet is one way the instructor has a voice in the review and provides the review team with some background information about the course.
Courses are reviewed based on the recommendations of instructional designers and at the consent or request of the instructor. The review is managed by the Quality Assurance (QA) Coordinator and all participants use the QM system, MyCR.
There are three roles involved in the internal review: the faculty developer (instructor), peer reviewer, and QA Coordinator.
QA Coordinator sets up review in MyCR system.
Course worksheet completion instructions are sent to the faculty developer.
Peer reviewers identified and assigned to course review.
Review in progress
Course worksheet is submitted by faculty developer and approved by QA Coordinator.
Email is sent to peer reviewer to begin review.
Peer reviewers submit reviewer worksheet in MyCR.
Chair of the review submits final report.
Faculty Developer can view the final report.
Amendments are made as needed based on the recommendations.
QA Coordinator closes the review.
The internal review is now complete and any recommendations made by the reviewer can be implemented by the instructor and/or their instructional designer.
Official reviews can be completed at a substantial cost savings as part of our QM Arizona Consortium membership. Courses are eligible for external review after they have been offered at least twice and have gone through our internal review process.
External reviews for QM certification are conducted by a 3 person review team comprised of a Master Reviewer and 2 Peer Reviewers. At least one of those 3 people has to be external to the institution, one must be a subject matter expert, and one must be a certified Master Reviewer. The full Rubric is applied and a full course worksheet is completed by the faculty developer.
Courses that receive a Met rating for the external review may display and advertise the QM certification seal on their course.