Tag Archives: quality matters

Free Quality Matters APPQMR workshop at the University of Akron

The UniversiQuality Matters Logoty of Akron is offering a free “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR)” workshop on April 22, 2016 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. This workshop will explore the Quality Matters project and processes and will prepare you to be part of an initiative that positively impacts the design of online/blended courses and ultimately, student learning and success. Registration is required and there are only a limited number of seats available so register now!    See “How to Register” below and log into MyQM to register to register now! Contact Cheryl Knight (216-987-4979 or cheryl.knight@tri-c.edu) for the Rubric Workbook that you should bring with you.

QM is designed to improve the quality of online and blended courses by establishing a peer-reviewed quality assurance review process. You will become familiar with the Quality Matters standards and participate in a practice peer course review of an online course using the review tools. Participants in this hands-on workshop can be online/blended instructors, instructional designers, and/or faculty members & faculty developers. After successfully completing this workshop, you will be eligible to move into the Online Peer Reviewer Certification. In addition, you will gain ideas to improve your own courses using the QM Standards.

How do I register: Log into MyQM. SELECT: Workshop – Register, Dedicated Training, find the corresponding workshop date, click on Register link.
Location: The University of Akron, Leigh Hall 414.
Time: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, (lunch is not provided).
Who should attend:  faculty who are interested in improving the quality of online/blended courses and faculty  who are in becoming a peer-certified reviewers.
What is covered in the workshop:  The workshop will cover the underlying principles of QM; the critical elements of the QM quality assurance program, including QM Rubric, materials, processes, and administrative components; how to apply the 5th Edition QM  Rubric to review online courses; applying the concept of alignment; writing helpful recommendations for course improvement and much more.

2015 Recap of Online Learning: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2015 has seen some interesting developments in online learning.  Here is a recap of some key trends, as well as critical components for higher education to consider in innovating online learning to improve student success in online programs and courses.

Some large surveys have revealed important data about student preferences and perceptions, as well as that of faculty and administrators.  There is a strange symmetry in these results. 

What Students Want Online

An important answer for any institution to know is if students would come to an on-campus class if their program wasn’t available online.  Of online learners, 30% said they would probably or definitely would not attend face-to-face.  Also important to note is that online learning is growing at a much higher rate than higher education overall – the IPEDS data release recently for Fall 2014 indicated that overall enrollments in colleges and universities were down 2.2% over the previous 2 years.  However, online learning enrollments continued to grow, with a 6.6% increase in enrollments over the same time period.

The enrollment growth aligns with the perceptions of Chief Academic Officers, 70.8% of whom agree that “online education is critical to the long-term strategy of their institution.”

Though the demographic of online students has largely been attributed to post-traditional students (a population that continues to grow in higher education,) 34% of undergraduate online students are 18-24, and the next highest percentage was 17% for 25 – 29 year olds.  That same survey found that 44% of these undergraduate students were employed full-time, and 24% were employed part-time.

Opportunity:  Follow the growth.  An important need is being revealed as the demographic of online learners expands and continues to grow:  a contemporary, knowledge-based economy requires continual, flexible learning.  Cohesive, well-designed and streamlined online programs can provide those to students regardless of their age.  Student supports need to be available online as well as face-to-face because an increasingly diverse population of online learners will have varied needs for support.

Who Are These Students Anyway?

Perhaps counterintuitively, most online students are still local.  65% of online students live within 100 miles of their institution, of those 50% live within 50 miles.  However, that still means that 35% of online students live outside of that 100 mile radius.  What institutions are they going to?  Is there a closer institution that they are not attending because the online program that they want is not available?

2014 IPEDS data reveals that one in seven of college students is enrolled exclusively at a distance.  The same data reveals that this growth is entirely in the non-profit sector, with 9% of it coming from public institutions, and 22% of the growth coming from private non-profit institutions.

Opportunity:  Public institutions could consider innovating faster and creating more agile processes for program development.  It could be that the availability of programs offered by more nimble, private institutions are luring away potential students from local, public institutions.  The opportunity for private non-profits, of course, is to continue to innovate at this pace and lure away!

Student Perception of Quality and Faculty Buy-In to Online Learning

According to the 2015 Online College Students:  Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences report by Learninghouse and Aslianian, 21% of students reported “inconsistent/poor contact and communication with instructors” and 17% reported that they had concerns about “inconsistent/poor quality of instruction.”  The 2015 Grade Level:  Tracking Online Education in the United States by the Babson Survey Research Group, revealed that only 28% of academic leaders indicated that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.”

Though one can’t make definitive conclusions based on this data, it would seem that faculty perceptions of the value of online education could be impacting the quality of the student experience.  The same report indicated that 56.7% of academic leaders rated faculty acceptance of the value of online learning as an “important or very important” barrier to the growth of online education.

Opportunity:  Investing in faculty professional development and quality improvement processes (like Quality Matters) can improve the quality of online courses and thereby transform the culture of an institution and the perception of the value of online learning.

What Research Says Is Important to Student Success Online

Because I’d like to avoid “duplication of effort,” check out this blog post on what matters for student success in online learning entitled “Does Online Learning Work.”  As a brief recap, some important components are:

  1. Online engagement (which has that strange symmetry with student perception about faculty communication as above), including social engagement
  2. Instructional design (see Quality Matters, eCampusAlberta and Universal Design for Learning’s Research)
  3. Student preparation (interestingly, most often an issue of student attributes rather than technology skills)

Opportunity:  Institutions should build into faculty professional development an emphasis instructional design of courses including designing for increased social learning, and develop online programs that maximize opportunities to build student resilience, through strategies like gamification.

Deep Thoughts

Regardless of what type of institution you are at, investing in online learning follows the growth of enrollments in higher education.  Finding ways to improve quality will both increase faculty perceptions of the value of online learning and then hopefully student perceptions of the quality of online learning leading to increased student success.

There is now quite a bit that we know about what works online.  Now it’s time to drive the change that will support students to succeed in individual courses and graduate from online programs.


Quality Matters Workshop at CSU

Tri-C faculty!  You are invited to attend an Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop at Cleveland State University.  Please find details below.  If you plan to attend, please register directly with CSU via the method below and also contact Sasha at Sasha.Thackaberry@Tri-C.edu in order to obtain your QM Workbook.

This workshop will explore the Quality Matters Project and Processes and will prepare you to be part of an initiative that positively impacts the design of online/blended courses and ultimately, student learning and success.

QM is designed to improve the quality of online and blended courses by establishing a peer- reviewed quality assurance review process. You will become familiar with the Quality Matters standards and participate in a practice peer course review of an online course using the review tools. Participants in this hands-on workshop can be online/blended instructors, instructional designers, and/or faculty members & faculty developers. After successfully completing this workshop, you will be eligible to move into the Online Peer Reviewer Certification. In addition, you will gain ideas to improve your own courses using the QM Standards.


Seats Available per session: 15

Cost: FREE for participants from an institution that is a member of the Ohio QM Consortium. Cleveland State University will provide coffee and lunch. Paid parking will be available in the visitor lot near the building.

You must come to the workshop with a QM Rubrics Workbook. Consult with your school’s Institutional Representative to obtain a workbook for the workshop. You can also order this from Quality Matters for $15 plus shipping and handling. Please order your workbook quickly to assure that you have it in time for the APPQMR training. If you have trouble obtaining a workbook prior to training please let us know.  We have a few extra.

Date: 12/17/15 Time: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Location: Cleveland State University,

Michael Schwartz Library, RT 401

1860 E. 22nd St., Cleveland, Ohio 44109

Registration Deadline: Friday 12/11/15

To Register: email elearning@csuohio.edu

Please email QM Coordinator, Sarah Rutland (s.rutland@csuohio.edu) or call 216-802-3147 with questions regarding the workshop.

Special Issue of American Journal of Distance Education focused on Quality Matters

Check out the great articles on the research behind QM!  http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hajd20/current

Great article The Impact of Findability on on  Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality!



“Findability” is a component of “usability,” whereby students can find essential course components.  Results included that courses with low findability reported lower levels of self-efficacy and motivation.

Interested in learning more about how you can get more involved with Quality Matters at Tri-C and improve findability in your course?  Contact Sasha.Thackaberry@Tri-C.edu.


2 New Free QM All-Day Trainings: Applying the Quality Matters Rubric

Sharing two opportunities for participating in the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop through the Ohio QM Consortium.  Please contact Sasha Thackaberry at Sasha.Thackaberry@Tri-C.edu in order to get your workbook if you register.

Note that you will need to register per the directions for each training.  Lunch is provided.  Faculty are eligible for Service Credits (consult the catalog,) and adjunct faculty can receive 3 SEUs.  Please contact your Adjunct Services Office for details on how to process this.

University of Cincinnati

Seats Available: 15

Date:  Friday, September 18, 2015

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Check-in at 8:45 AM)

Location:    University of Cincinnati Clermont College, Room 150 McDonough Hall, 4200 Clermont College Dr., Batavia, OH.  Maps and driving directions will be provided in a future email.

Registration:  Please e-mail Sue Trakas at sue.trakas@uc.edu and indicate your name, college/university, and phone number. Registration deadline is Friday, September 11, 2015.

Kent State University

Date: Friday, October 2, 2015

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: Kent State University – Kent Campus (Kent, Ohio)

Seats Available: 10; Registration closes 9/21/15

Registration: To register online please go to http://bitly.com/kentqm

You will be sent an email one week prior to the workshop to confirm event details including parking information. If you have any additional questions, please contact Jason Piatt at

A Quality Matters Bite-Sized Workshop

In related news, please join Cheryl Knight at Metro Campus for “QM Lite:  Intro to QM Workshop.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 4:30-6pm in the brand new Center for Learning Excellence on the Metropolitan campus, MBA113

Join Senior Instructional Designer, Cheryl Knight, to learn more about Quality Matters (QM). Cheryl is a certified Peer Reviewer and Face to Face Facilitator, and she will discuss what it means to have your course QM prepped and reviewed at Tri-C. Instructors at various stages of QM prep will share with you their experiences. And there will be plenty of time for questions throughout. This is for instructors teaching blended and/or online course(s), or wishing to in the near future.

Sign up for this workshop on TEC by navigating to the system, selecting the learning tab at the top, scroll to browse for training, and look for QM Lite CLE1029. This is worth 1 service credit and 1 SEU adjunct credit.

Please contact Cheryl Knight at 216-987-4979 or by e-mail at cheryl.knight@tri-c.edu with any questions.

Two Tri-C Professors Earn QM Recognition for Their Courses!

Congratulations to Professors Mike Piero and Raj Mohan on having their courses Quality Matters recognized this summer!

Professor Mike Piero’s course English 2360, British Literature II, received QM recognition.  Previously Professor Piero achieved QM recognition for his English 1020 course.

Professor Raj Mohan’s Course English 1020 achieved QM recognition.  This is the second course that Professor Mohan has had recognized by Quality Matters – she also has had English 1010 recognized.

What does earning Official QM recognition mean? 

The Quality Matters Rubric is a set of 8 general standards and 41 specific standards used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses.  To become officially QM Recognized a course: 1) Completed review by a 3-person trained team, including one Master Reviewer, one Subject Matter expert and at least one External Reviewer), 2) Meet All of the 3-Point essential standards, and 3) Earn a total overall score of 81 out of 95 points.  Learn more about the course review process on QM’s site here:  https://www.qualitymatters.org/reviews.

Please join us in congratulating Professors Mike Piero and Raj Mohan for their excellent work on behalf of student success online.  The Quality Matters recognition process is a rigorous one, and both have had a huge commitment to the design and building of their courses.  I’d also like to congratulate our instructional designers who worked with them to prepare – Cheryl Knight form Metro Campus, and Rachel Harmon from Westshore Campus.

Want to get involved?

If you are interested in getting more involved with Quality Matters at Tri-C, please contact Sasha.Thackaberry@Tri-C.edu.



Professor Tamerlano’s IT1025 QM Certified!

Congratulations to Professor Kathy Tamerlano, whose IT1025 course was recently QM Certified!  Quality Matters is a rigorous quality course design process that ensure that an online or blended/hybrid course is high quality.  Quality instructional design is one of the three main components of student success in online environments (engagement and readiness are the other two generally accepted based on research.)

Professor Tamerlano worked with our instructional designer from Eastern Campus – Kristina Ambrosia-Conn in the preparation of the course, so snaps to our trusty ID representing from East as well.

Many thanks to all who participated in this, and congratulations to Professor Tamerlano whose commitment to online course quality drove the whole process.


P.S. In related news, there is an upcoming Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The workshop will be conducted on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, from 9 am -3:30 pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

The workshop is free for consortium members, but registration is required. Our workshop facilitator is Kim Hunter from the Mount St. Joseph University.

Workshop participants from external institutions will need to obtain and bring QM Rubrics workbook with them.  (If you are coming from Tri-C, contact Sasha.Thackaberry@tri-c.edu and we will provide you with a workbook.)


To register online please email kim.hunter@msj.edu.  If you have any additional questions, please contact Kim Hunter at kim.hunter@msj.edu or call (513)244-4248.

15 seats are available — first come, first served. The workshop will be held in Computer Learning Center PC Lab #1 (lower level of the Seton Building).

More QM Training Opportunities

Another Applying the Quality Matters Rubric FREE training opportunity for Ohio QM Consortium member schools, this one at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College on June 2.

Check out the full flyer including instructions on how to register.  For Tri-C faculty (full and part-time), please contact Sasha.Thackaberry@Tri-C.edu in order to get your workbook, the cost of which we will cover for you.

Let me know if you have any questions!


New Upcoming APPQMR Opportunities

There are several new QM training opportunities available.  There are 4 upcoming “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” workshops within the Ohio Consortium.  They are:

  • Kent State University, May 8
  • An online version that runs May 12 – May 26
  • University of Findlay, May 12
  • The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences, May 20

To register for any of these opportunities, please go to https://www.qualitymatters.org/ and login to your “MyQM” account.  If you do not have a MyQM account, you can create one by  clicking on “New Acct.”

Screenshot to select New Account

1).  Once you have created your account, in order to register click on “Higher Education.”

Click on Higher Education Screenshot



2).  Then, click on (1) Workshop Register.  This will expand the Workshop menu.  Then select (2) Dedicated Training.  Dedicated Training will narrow your results to trainings available through the Ohio QM Consortium.

Expand Register and Click on Dedicated Training

Then, select from the available trainings.  You will receive confirmation via email of your registration.

With thanks! – Sasha