The Quality Matters Process
The Quality Matters process is illustrated with the Quality Matters “Quality Circle”. The circle represents the ongoing nature of a quality improvement process.
The Quality Matters Circle
The QM process is designed to review “mature” courses. Mature courses are defined as courses that have been taught for more than two semesters. The instructor/ course developer is encouraged to participate in QM training prior to submitting a course for a full review and to use the rubric for self-review of the course or as part of the course design process.
Peer Course Review
In a formal QM review, the course is reviewed by three veteran online faculty who have been trained and certified in the use of the QM process. There are criteria for how the peer review team is chosen: One of the team members must be a Master Reviewer. A Master Reviewer is an experienced course reviewer who has received additional training and certification for that through QM. One of the team members must be a SME (subject matter expert). One member must be from an institution other than the one the course developer is from. While the members may hold dual roles, each of these criteria must be met. Prior to the review, the instructor will complete an Instructor Worksheet that provides essential information that will be needed during the review process. During the review, the team members will independently access and explore the course online. They will make decisions about whether or not the course has met each of the standards on the rubric and enter their findings and recommendations into an online Course Review Management system found on the QM site.
The determination about whether or not the course meets standards is shared with the course developer as part of the feedback process. One of the unique aspects of the QM Review process is that the recommendations from all team members is provided to the course developer. Feedback and specific recommendations for improvement must be provided for any standard that has not been met as part of the review. Feedback is provided as part of many of the other standards as well if reviewers have ideas for how the course might be improved.
The course developer has the opportunity to revise the course based on the findings and recommendations of the team and will communicate with the Master Reviewer when this has been completed. Quality Matters does not use the terms “pass” or “fail” as part of their materials or trainings. This is intentional. All courses can eventually meet standards as part of this process so courses are described as having met standards or as being “in process”. A course that has not yet met standards can be revised until it does meet standards. To say a course failed implies that the process is completed with no opportunity for improvement.
Course Meets Quality Expectations
Once the course meets standards, as determined by the review team, the course developer will be given access by QM to use a seal that displays the year the course went through review and met standards. The “seal” is good for 3-5 years. If the course undergoes major revision, the shorter time frame is used.