Quality Does Matter – QM Training

submitted by Sheryl
Associate Dean of Baccalaureate Studies & Director of Outcomes Assessment
Does quality matter? Absolutely! But often times, quality is an ambiguous term. Defining quality in online course design is the objective of Quality Matters (QM) Training. QM training is a product of Maryland University, a consortium of higher education institutions, and a Department of Education grant (DOE).
Online Academic Dean Ruth and I recently completed this rigorous online professional development training. This training is a prerequisite for certification training as a QM peer reviewer, a designation which Ruth recently achieved.
QM training defines effective online course design according to eight standards:  course and unit level learning objectives, course introduction, learning activities and materials, assessment, ADA accessibility and technology. The common thread among these eight elements is alignment. Course objectives must align with unit or module objectives, and course learning activities and materials must facilitate course outcomes. Assessments must be appropriate for stated outcomes, and the entire course must be accessible to students with auditory, cognitive, mobility, and sight challenges.
QM training underscores the idea that quality course design is a faculty-centered, collaborative and highly collegial process. Faculty expertise, as curriculum developers, is enhanced with a firm foundation in course design. This process is not limited to online courseware, however. It can be effectively applied to live instruction, too. The benchmark for quality course design is 85%. QM training acknowledges what current research and best course design practices affirm: Standards-driven course design leads to achievable learning outcomes.