Quality Matters

What is Quality Matters (QM)?

Most practitioners are familiar with QM for its research-based rubric for evaluating and improving the quality of online and hybrid courses. According to their site, QM "Standards are the benchmarks for evaluating the design of online and blended (hybrid) courses. Research-based, grounded in best-practices and fully annotated, these standards are the keys to achieving the goals of ensuring quality for learners — and for you to deliver on your promise to them." Many institutions, including other schools at UMB, utilize the QM rubric for review and/or peer review of online and hybrid courses during their design and development process.

The IDEA Team supports the use of the QM rubric for the continuous improvement process of designing, redesigning, or evaluating online and hybrid courses. If you'd like more information or to use the rubric please email ideateam@ssw.umaryland.edu

There are 8 general higher education standard areas QM covers:

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

Unique to the QM Rubric is the concept of Alignment. This occurs when critical course components — Learning Objectives (#2), Assessment and Measurement (#3), Instructional Materials (#4), Course Activities and Learner Interaction (#5), and Course Technology (#6) — work together to ensure students achieve desired learning outcomes. Specific Standards included in Alignment are indicated in the Rubric Annotations.

See the QM rubric.

Teaching Online

QM has also developed information on a skillset for online instructors which includes the following:

I. Institutional Context: The instructor understands the institutional context in which s/he teaches

II. Technologies: The instructor is knowledgeable about the technologies used in the online classroom

III. Instructional Design: The instructor understands the instructional design requirements of an online course

IV. Pedagogy: The instructor understands the pedagogical components of the online teaching and learning process

V. Assessment: The instructor is knowledgeable about various methods of measuring the success of the teaching and learning process in the online classroom

VI. Social Presence: The instructor establishes a social presence and communicates effectively through writing and/or audio/video