College of Arts and Sciences Implements Quality Matters Rubric

With distance education on the rise, it’s important that a system of review is in place to ensure students are receiving the same quality education in an online format as they would in person. To make it easy for colleges to employ best practices and standards when developing and reviewing an online course, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning endorses and encourages the use of the Quality Matters rubric.

Quality Matters (QM) is an inter-institutional organization that sets baseline, research-supported standards to ensure quality design for online and hybrid courses. Colleges and faculty members can implement the QM rubric into the review of their courses as an extra step to ensure standards are met for all courses. The rubric helps course creators make sure their course fits into the eight general standards, including:

  • Course overview and introduction
  • Learning objectives
  • Assessment and measurement
  • Instructional materials
  • Learner interaction and engagement
  • Course technology
  • Learner support
  • Accessibility

For a college or faculty member to involve Quality Matters into their review system, they are first encouraged to attend the online rubric workshop. While the workshop is not required, attending will help better one’s understanding of the organization and its impact. From there, they will work with Ohio State’s Lead Quality Matters coordinator, Timothy Lombardo, to define how the rubric will work into the college’s review process.

Implementation of the QM rubric has varying degrees, having the ability to be flexible to fit the needs of those who are using it. While it is commonly built into the course design and creation process, the rubric can be used for pedagogical course review, as well as technological.

One college that currently employs parts of the QM rubric to review online courses for  technological delivery is the College of Arts and Sciences. The ASC Curriculum Committee began to integrate parts of the rubric as a solution to their need for an online course delivery review after it was introduced to the committee by ASC Technology Services in 2013. The curriculum committee, along with a team from ASC Tech, use the last three sections of the rubric as check points to review courses for online delivery and technology best practices. These three sections fit the needs of the faculty, and help to make sure they are aware of how the course will be reviewed in terms of technology.

In 2016, Janice Aski, professor and director of the Italian Language Program, discussed the full rubric with the committee, who voted to include the full rubric in the ASC faculty handbook for informational purposes.

“QM sets high standards that are easy to follow,” Aski said. “We want to set these standards across the board so the faculty know how their course is being reviewed and so they are encouraged to create quality courses for their students.”

With so many colleges currently not doing anything related to technology review of their online courses, now is the time to learn more about Quality Matters. Colleges and faculty can choose how they want to implement the rubric into their review processes, receiving an introduction to setting standards and employing best practices during online course design and creation.

“It would be great for the QM rubric to be accepted across the university,” Steven Fink, Associate Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences, said. “We have embraced this new review system in the College of Arts and Sciences and have only seen it positively impact our faculty.”

If you or your college is interested in learning more about Quality Matters and implementing it into your course review process, contact Ohio State’s Lead Quality Matters Coordinator, Timothy Lombardo.

Quality Matters logo

Quality Matters is an inter-instituitional faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of an online course using research-supported standards.