The UA President and Board of Regents requested that the UAA Provost account for how UAA is ensuring quality and consistency in eLearning courses. As the campus leader of eLearning services, Academic Innovations & eLearning (formerly the Faculty Technology Center) was tasked with identifying appropriate measures and processes for promoting quality assurance in eLearning.
A volunteer subcommittee of the eLearning Workgroup, the Peer Review Subcommittee and comprised of faculty and staff from UAA campuses, began meeting in October 2013 to evaluate peer review models for course design. In early 2014, the group developed a recommended that UAA adopt a voluntary peer review model to ensure quality of online course design and to build a community of practice among instructors.
In researching eight different models, the group found that most of them were based on or heavily influenced by Quality Matters. “Quality Matters (QM) is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning. The program features:
- Faculty-centered, continuous improvement models for assuring the quality of online courses through peer review
- Professional development workshops and certification courses for instructors and online learning professionals
- Rubrics for applying quality standards to course design”
As such, the group recommended the purchase and implementation of Quality Matters. Working from the recommendation of the eLearning workgroup, purchased a subscription and is beginning to implement Quality Matters at UAA.
The goal of Quality Matters at UAA is to bring Quality Matters standards, professional development, and course review processes to UAA to help with the need for structure and quality in eLearning course design. Quality Matters will fill a pivotal role in a larger plan for quality assurance in online education at UAA.
Responsibility for the Quality Matters subscription, professional development program, instructional design support, and administration of course reviews will lie with Academic Innovations & eLearning (AI&e). Roles in this arena include QM Coordinator, certified trainer for both face to face and online courses, instructional designer, and educational technologist.
Peer review of online course design will be the purview of appropriately qualified faculty, including adjunct faculty and instructional designers who also teach. Roles in this arena include peer reviewer, subject matter expert, master reviewer, and certified trainer.
In short, this is an initiative that belongs to UAA faculty and is supported administratively by Academic Innovations & eLearning and instructional designers distributed throughout the university. It is our pleasure to introduce Quality Matters and begin the strategic effort to promote high-quality eLearning at UAA.