Quality Assurance

Online Course Design Best Practices

TWU’s Distance Education Advisory Committee has created an Online Course Design Best Practices Checklist [pdf]. It includes seventeen categories and is divided into Foundational and Advanced best practices. It is designed to provide instructors specific course quality guidelines to design, evaluate, and/or revise their courses.

The Best Practices Checklist closely corresponds to the Quality Matters Rubric and both rely on research in the design of online courses. Use the Online Course Design Best Practices form to compare your course to the Online Course Design Best Practices Checklist. Contact your Instructional Design Partner to request a mini-review that will provide additional feedback and suggestions to incorporate in your Canvas course.

After your course meets the guidelines in the Online Course Design Best Practices Checklist, you might consider presenting your course for the first step towards Quality Matters certification: an Internal QM Review.

Learn more and start your Online Course Design Best Practices mini-review.

What is Quality Matters?

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-driven peer-review process used to ensure the quality of online and blended course design. The Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric is a set of standards dedicated to the continuous improvement of online learning and course design, and can be used in a variety of ways to help instructors develop, redesign, and assess their online and hybrid courses.

A well-designed course is more likely to engage learners and improve performance and engagement in your course. Using the QM Rubric as a resource and guide, you will partner with Teaching and Learning with Technology, a Quality Matters certified team, and experienced online instructors to receive fresh ideas and specific feedback to evaluate the design of your course and ensure it meets QM Standards. Learn more about Quality Matters

TWU has been a subscribing member of QM since 2007.

Quality Matters Professional Development Opportunities

If you are interested in Quality Matters and how to improve your online and hybrid courses, email TLT@twu.edu, or call 940-898-3409, about how to get started with the following opportunities:

Introduction to Quality Matters (INTRO2QM)

The Introduction to Quality Matters (INTRO2QM) workshop introduces participants to the QM Quality Assurance System, demonstrating why QM is widely considered the gold standard in online quality assurance and how its implementation can support a culture of quality. The workshop presents the QM Rubrics, explains the course review process, and culminates in the development of a personal plan for continued engagement with Quality Matters.

  • This workshop is recommended for faculty and administrators new to QM. 
  • Participants will need 3+ hours per week to achieve the learning objectives.
  • This workshop is facilitated, fully online, and asynchronous. It lasts for two weeks and has firm deadlines. This is not a self-paced course.

Designing Your Online Course (DYOC)

The “Designing Your Online Course” workshop includes an overview of the QM Rubric and provides a framework for participants to design an online course plan. The main focus of the workshop is the eight General Standards of the QM Rubric, which center on learning objectives and overall course alignment. Upon completion, participants will have a Course Development Plan.

  • This workshop is recommended for instructors new to online teaching. 
  • Participants will need 10+ hours per week to achieve the learning objectives.
  • Participants will also need an online course they are developing.
  • This workshop is facilitated, fully online, and asynchronous. It lasts for two weeks and has firm deadlines. This is not a self-paced course.

Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR)

The Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) Workshop introduces participants to the Quality Matters (QM) process and rubric. The workshop facilitator will present information about the rubric and peer review process and guide participants through a series of activities designed to promote understanding of the quality standards and to give hands-on experience in applying these standards to the review of an online or hybrid course.

This workshop is recommended for those who wish to understand the QM Rubric in depth and experience the course review process as reviewers. Upon successful completion of the workshop, instructors are eligible to participate in Higher Ed Peer Reviewer Course and Certification training, online from Quality Matters.

  • Participants will need 14+ hours per week to achieve the learning objectives. 
  • This workshop is facilitated, fully online, and asynchronous. It lasts for two weeks and has firm deadlines. This is not a self-paced course.

Becoming Involved with Quality Matters at TWU

A Quality Matters Certified Course is an online or hybrid course that has met QM Rubric standards. The process is used to demonstrate your commitment to quality and continuous improvement of your Canvas course. If you are interested in learning more about the Quality Matters Review consider the following opportunities:

Quality Matters Reviews

Internal Quality Matters Review

The first step of the Quality Matters review process at TWU is a detailed and comprehensive Internal Quality Matters review. In the Internal QM Review, we examine courses using the full Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric. These reviews are conducted at TWU using two QM Certified Peer Reviewers or Master Reviewers who are also Instructional Design Partners in the Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology. Reviews follow the same guidelines as a Quality Matters Official Collaborative Peer Review, however the Internal QM Review is designed to prepare a course to easily pass a formal review. With this goal in mind, the review delves deep and provides considerable feedback and suggestions to cover all bases. As with the Formal QM Review, suggestions are not prescriptive. The Internal QM Review is intended to provide a positive experience and one-on-one interactions that give you new insight into your course.

The Internal Quality Matters Review will take 8 to 9 weeks and successful completion will achieve the TWU-Quality Matters Mark in your course and prepare your course for the Formal Quality Matters Review.

Learn more and start your Internal Quality Matters Review.

Formal Quality Matters Review

After successful completion of the Internal QM Review, the next step is a Formal Quality Matters Review. The Formal QM Review is a QM Official Collaborative Peer Review. As the instructor and course designer, you will get specific and constructive feedback throughout the Formal Quality Matters Review process to meet QM Standards and achieve QM Certification.

Completing the Formal Quality Matters Review process shows your commitment to create a culture that is focused on quality assurance and continuous improvement at TWU of online and hybrid courses. Contact TLT to work with the TWU Quality Matters Coordinator (QMC) and submit a QM Course Review Application. Once your application is approved, the QMC will compile a team of three QM Certified Peer Reviewers, including a Master Reviewer, a Peer Reviewer, and a Subject Matter Expert (SME). In most cases, all three members of your review team will be experienced and current online instructors working at other universities.

The Formal Quality Matters Review will take 4 to 6 weeks and successful completion will achieve the QM Certification Mark in your course. Your course will also be recognized on the QM website.

Learn more and start your Formal Quality Matters Review.

Internal Academic Component Reviews

Course quality is the responsibility of each TWU academic component focusing on effective online and hybrid courses designed to impact engagement and ensure students achieve the defined learning objectives. To assist academic component leadership in this effort, a quality assurance service is offered by TLT to guide continuous improvement of course quality:

  • Internal Academic Component Review - provides data and information using the QM Higher Education Rubric to inform evidence-based decision making to improve course quality of online and hybrid courses. An Internal Academic Component Review examines some or all of an academic component’s online and hybrid course offerings. This review selects a subset of 8 General Standards and 43 Specific Review Standards from the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric, and may be customized to incorporate additional standards at the request of the academic component.
  • Formal Report - documents the results of targeted standards that were identified to improve the course quality of online and hybrid courses. Individual courses are reviewed by a TWU QM Certified Peer Reviewer using the abridged and/or customized rubric. After all identified courses have been reviewed, a formal report is provided to academic component leadership.
  • Continuous Improvement Plan - the results of an Internal Academic Component Review will highlight strengths and pinpoint opportunities to establish a continuous improvement plan that includes Internal Quality Matters Reviews and customized instructor professional development, designed, developed and facilitated by an instructional design partner.

Learn more and start your Internal Academic Component Review.

Page last updated 3:25 PM, September 7, 2021