Quality Matters at UAA

Quality Matters is One Good Piece of Pie

Quality Matters is one important piece of the pie for online course design!QM_Online_Quality_Pie

The Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric, Fifth Edition, 2014 provides standards for online and blended course design.  What does this mean for our faculty?  Quality Matters (QM) addresses the course design, described by QM as “the forethought and planning that a faculty member puts into the course.”  This leaves the course delivery and content up to the course instructor.  Online course design is typically all the preparation by the course instructor before students begin the course.

Course delivery is how the faculty teach the course and interact with their students.  Quality Matters is a faculty-centered approach and values the expertise and experience faculty bring to their teaching profession.  We appreciate it can be confusing to differentiate between the two and the following examples may help to clarify:

Course Design

  • Creating a start here, welcome message or orientation to the course.
  • Selecting course tools to engage student in active learning.
  • Aligning course level outcomes/objectives with module or unit level objectives.

Course Delivery

  • Determining the format, medium, and language of the start here, welcome message or orientation.
  • Choosing activities to engage with students using course tools.
  • Teaching students to reach course level course level outcomes/objectives with module or unit level objectives.

Quality Matters identifies seven factors affecting course quality which are not covered by the rubric…course design is one (important) piece of the pie.

Course Content Is content relevant, current and of high quality for the course?  Course content may include textbooks, presentations, videos, online tutorials etc.

Institutional Infrastructure Is there support for online learning at the institution?  This includes leadership, administrative, instructional and technical processes and support.

LMS Do you have a stable and supported Learning Management System (LMS) to develop your online or blended course?  We do!  It’s called Blackboard and the instructional designers at Academic Innovations & eLearning can guide you through the course development process.

Faculty Readiness Do faculty see the potential and value of online education?  Does faculty leadership promote development of online education at the institution?  Will faculty have workload accounted for in developing online courses?

Student Readiness Is there a demand for online courses?  Will students have the digital literacy skills to succeed in an online course environment?


There are several opportunities to participate in Quality Matters workshops during the 2015 spring semester.  Visit our AI&e workshop calendar for dedicated workshop dates and registration.  Also check out the Quality Matters Available Professional Development Sessions.

Contact Quality Matters Coordinators Melissa White (mbwhite3@uaa.alaska.edu/786-4597) or Heather Nash (hmnash@uaa.alaska.edu/786-6520) for more information.

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