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QM is a set of standards and a peer review process that the University of Texas at San Antonio has adopted to ensure quality in the design of its online and hybrid courses.

QM began in 2003 as a Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education (FIPSE) grant to Maryland Online, Inc.

Implementing Quality Matters (QM) across UTSA will assist in the development of a common course design language across colleges.  QM is based on current research and best practices in instructional design.

Over 400 institutions nationwide use QM to certify online and hybrid course design.

No.  QM is not a student evaluation of the faculty member’s delivery of the course.  It is a peer evaluation of the design (not the content) of the course.

There are eight general standards and 42 specific standards.  The eight general standards are:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Resources and Materials
  5. Learner Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility

There are several QM reviews that will be utilized by UTSA:

  • Internal Reviews – Unofficial reviews managed by the Quality Matters Coordinator (QMC); not eligible for QM recognition.
  • Self-Review Tool – QM provides an online, interactive version of the Reviewer Worksheet for anyone with a MyQM account for individual use to review and improve his or her own courses. Results can be emailed. Self-Reviews are confidential and the Final Reports are available solely to the individual conducting the review. Automatic notifications are sent to your QM Coordinator(s) when a Self-Review is initiated or saved. These member-requested notifications are purely informational and are meant to provide visibility to your QM Coordinator(s) on the use of Self-Reviews.
  • QM-Managed Reviews – Official course reviews that are managed by Quality Matters (QM) staff in compliance with QM course review process and procedures; receives QM recognition.
  • SubscriberManaged Reviews – Official course reviews, managed by a QM Coordinator that adhere to the QM course review process and procedures and uses the QM CRMS; receives QM recognition.

After the course has met QM standards and is recognized by Quality Matters, the “QM Recognized” seal can be displayed within the course and anywhere else the course is advertised.  This indicates to the stakeholders that the course has been measured against a widely accepted national benchmark for quality assurance and has achieved recognition for high-quality design.

The standards are based on the principles of instructional design, research literature, and best practices.

No.  Courses do not have to be “perfect” in that they meet every single standard.  However, courses do need to meet all essential standards and earn a minimum of 85 out of 100 points (85% in order to meet expectations.)

The QM process is designed so that all courses will eventually meet expectations.  If a course does not meet expectations upon an initial review, the faculty course developer received detailed feedback from a team of peer reviewers and have an opportunity to revise the course with the help of an Instructional Designer with the Office of Digital Learning (ODL) team.  The revised course is then submitted to the Team Chair for approval.

The peer review team consists of three members: a Master Reviewer/Team Chair, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and an external reviewer.  Each peer reviewer has online teaching experience and has been trained and certified by QM to conduct reviews.

Per QM requirements, the entire review process may take place over a maximum period of 20 weeks.  However, it generally takes the team approximately a month to conduct the actual review of the course.

No.  The review team will receive access to the copy of the course and do not have access to any student data.

With the faculty (Course Representative) permission, ODL staff will create guest accounts for the reviewers to log into Blackboard and access the course review site.

Courses in the same academic unit with more than one section being taught by more than one faculty will not need to be reviewed separately as long as the course is copied without modification across the sections.  In this case, the Instructional Designer or Course Developer of the original course will participate in the review.

Kevin L. Williams serves as the Quality Matters Coordinator for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

You can contact Kevin L. Williams at: kevin.williams@utsa.edu.

You can also contact Academic Innovation at: academicinnovation@utsa.edu.