It is well known that excellence in teaching is one of the cornerstones of our University. We strive for this excellence whether teaching face-to-face classes or online classes. When we started the online course development programs (14-for-14, and AppOn), the LTS team started utilizing Quality Matters (QM) to assist with guiding faculty through the process of creating a high-quality online course. All five of our instructional technology consultants in the Center for Academic Excellence have gone through QM training. Additionally, thirty-four faculty members and administrators have participated in QM professional development opportunities since January 2017. More opportunities will be forthcoming, as the feedback from the people who participated has been very positive.
Some comments from our faculty:
“...the most significant things I learned were that QM emphasizes and prioritizes (1) collaboration (2) course/instructor improvement, and (3) student-centered learning. Good stuff!”.
“...having not taught online for over 10 years, this course really got me thinking about effective ways to teach online courses. I even learned some strategies for use of our LMS for the traditional courses I teach.”
Our team has been fielding some questions about QM recently, and we would like to share five tips from the QM process you can implement in your online or blended course today!
Tip 1: The importance of writing good objectives
The foundation of all good courses is writing specific measurable objectives, and online courses are no different. QM emphasizes the importance of course and module-level objectives in a course.
Tip 2: Alignment of Objectives, Content, Activities and Assessment
After you have created your objectives, it is important for you to align all of your content, activities and assessment in the course to an objective. This alignment needs to be transparent to students so they can see the purpose behind the activities and assessment in your class. This can be done with a simple table in Word to help you think through the process.
Tip 3: Importance of Communication
Students need to know the most effective ways and how to contact you and other support personnel. This information should be easy for students to find and not only in a syllabus. We recommend that you create an HTML block in Moodle with your information and place it on your main page. You can even include a picture of yourself!
Tip 4: Self-Assess with the QM Checklist
QM has a checklist that matches all of their standards. If you currently teach online and want to see what areas you might need the most work on, self-assessing with the checklist is a great first step. Contact one of our instructional technology consultants to get more information about the QM checklist.
Tip 5: Solicit Feedback from Peers
QM is based around a faculty peer assessment model. We highly recommend you solicit feedback from others in your field or faculty who also teach online. QM only evaluates the way your course is designed, not your interaction with students.
We will be offering several professional development opportunities this academic year on course design in Moodle for both online and blended courses, as well as Quality Matters. For more information, please contact Tom Van Gilder, Director of Learning Technology Services for the Center for Academic Excellence. 262-6731 or email@example.com.