Quality Matters Spotlight
As programs are added to Ohio State’s online offerings, instructors and staff are becoming even more involved in teaching and creating dynamic courses online. The Quality Matters (QM) training process is available to those committed to developing courses to the highest standard. Walk through Jeanne Osborne’s journey of becoming an advocate of Quality Matters certification after her personal experience through the process.
What motivated you to get involved with Quality Matters?
“I was first exposed to Quality Matters in 2011 when I completed an in-person Applying the Quality Matters Rubric training. At that time, I had not been involved in an online or distance-taught course; however, I saw great potential for providing students greater flexibility in how they attended classes at Ohio State, and was curious to see what a rubric focused on the quality of online courses would provide. I had also noticed what seemed to me to be an exponential increase in online courses and degrees from a variety of institutions; but I had some concern about quality control – the potential for a really bad experience in an online setting is pretty high if there isn’t some oversight. To me, this was the potential for QM.”
Why is QM important to you?
“In any educational setting, the quality of the student’s experience so as to enhance their learning and achievement of the learning goals of the experience is a priority. We have a responsibility to our students as well as to ourselves to make sure that the mode of offering doesn’t impact the quality of our teaching or the student’s learning. To me, QM is a tool that helps insure that this is the case. The rubric is based on research and focuses on best practices in online/distance education that are tried and true; so there is consistency in the look and feel of a course as well as the student’s experience with the course, regardless of the discipline. At the same time, the rubric allows for flexibility to suit the instructor’s style – so the result is not a cookie-cutter approach to course development.”
What is some advice you would give someone wanting to get involved with QM?
“When getting involved in QM, one piece of advice is to let go of assumptions regarding online course development, and be willing to take a look with a fresh eye. Some, or maybe most of what you have done or experienced in online courses may be fantastic and would meet the standards of the QM rubric. But, some of your practices or things that you have experienced might have a much greater impact by utilizing the research-based best practices that the rubric leads to. Be open to change – see where utilizing the QM strategies might move your course to make your students’ learning experiences even more effective!”
How do you see QM impacting students?
“Some of the comments from students regarding online courses revolve around their frustration with not being able to figure out what to do in the course. They are used to having the instructor physically present to help them navigate their courses – when things are due, what will be covered next, where to find their resources, assignments, etc. The QM rubric provides a template for evaluating an online course from the student’s perspective – is it easy to navigate? Are the goals for each course element clear and tied to the overall goals for the course? Is each element clearly defined and is there an intuitive beginning – middle – end? The use of QM will have the overall impact of not only reducing student frustration with online courses, but will ultimately help the instructor create an effective learning environment for the student.”
How do you see QM impacting instructors?
“Regardless of the mode of course delivery, instructors are often frustrated when students don’t seem to grasp why assignments are made, the importance of being attentive to timelines, or even why they have to take a course at all. It is easy to say that this is a student-centered problem; QM helps us understand that these frustrations may be symptomatic of a course-design issue. Students need to clearly see how a course flows and how the goals of each element tie back to the goals of the course, and ultimately the goals of their educational program. The QM rubric can help the instructor analyze their online course elements, and their course as a whole to make the educational experience for the student more effective, and as a result, reduce instructor frustration.”
Contact Tim Lombardo for certification opportunities and to learn more about being compensated for the cost of training.