Quality Matters

Vetted by MATC’s Online Quality Council, Quality Matters (QM) is a gold-standard quality assurance system that MATC faculty may use to improve online and blended/hybrid course design. QM concerns course design only – the forethought and planning that goes into developing an online or blended course. There are three (3) main elements of the QM system: the Quality Matters Rubric; the Course Review process; and ongoing professional development.  To learn more, review this collection of curated resources.

The QM Rubric

To determine quality, a course is evaluated using the Quality Matters Rubric (6th Edition), a set of standards that define specific aspects of a quality online or blended course in terms of these features:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Learner Interaction and Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility and Usability

The QM rubric does not rigorously prescribe exactly how you must meet a standard; you have creative control and flexibility in the design of your instructional content. Use the QM Rubric to self-assess your course design and make corrections using these steps:

  1. Read the QM Rubric’s standard and annotation.
  2. Look for objective evidence in your course that the standard is met at the 85% level or better.
  3.  If you do not find sufficient evidence that the standard is met, take actions to address the standard in your course. How you do this is completely up to you!

Quality Matters for Online Course Design from Laura Pasquini


Course Review Process

At this time, faculty may request a formal QM Course Review by contacting the Teaching & Learning Technology Department. Quality Matters suggests reviewing “mature” online courses that have been run for at least one or two semesters. See the Quality Matters Course Review Process guide for details.

Who Conducts the Review?

The Quality Matters Course Review process is conducted by a panel of experienced online instructors who have undergone training on the Quality Matters system.

How is a Course Reviewed?

The instructor shares their course shell in Blackboard with one or more course reviewers. The reviewer/s will evaluate the course’s design according to the standards defined in the Quality Matters Rubric.  It is important to note that the reviewers will evaluate the course’s design from the student’s point of view to determine whether each standard has been demonstrated in the course at the 85% level or better. The reviewer/s will assign scores to indicate where standards have been met or not met. Where standards are not met, constructive feedback will be provided for the instructor to make improvements.

What Happens After a Review?

A reviewer will meet with the instructor to share the results of the course evaluation and feedback for improving the course’s design. A follow-up meeting may be scheduled to review the changes the instructor has made to the course.

What are the Benefits of this Process?

A well-designed course provides clear direction, consistency, context, and resources that support the learning process. Review the Elements of Course Review article and the provided videos to learn more about the benefits of putting a course up for a Quality Matters Review.

Ongoing Professional Development

Training is available exclusively through the Quality Matters company per their terms of service. You may register for a QM professional development course to learn how to implement the QM Rubric in your course design and course evaluation practices. These courses cost appropriately $500 for a seat and are facilitated by QM staff.

Free Quality Matters Success Stories Webinars are available to view on your own.