Quality Matters and Course Evaluation

Over the years, DELTA has helped many instructors by reviewing their courses and offering suggestions for improvements. As a next step towards ensuring the quality of online courses, DELTA has been working during the last year to define and establish a course evaluation process for both fully online and blended (face-to-face and online) courses.

The first part of this effort has been to find or create a rubric. There are a number of rubrics available to evaluate online courses, for example, the Rubric for Online Instruction (California State University, Chico), the Quality Online Course Initiative Rubric and Checklist (Illinois Online Network, University of Illinois), the Quality Matters Rubric as well as many others. A resource which lists many evaluation tools can be reviewed at Michigan State University’s website.

DELTA has attended a series of meetings about quality standards for online courses hosted by the UNC General Administration (GA). These meetings culminated in an affirmation that individual campuses should continue to monitor and evaluate the quality of their online offerings independently. During these meetings, UNC-GA had a group subscription to the Quality Matters Program which included the Quality Matters Rubric. DELTA has continued to subscribe to the Quality Matters program and has decided that the Quality Matters rubric (although not necessarily their review process) is the best match for our needs and our philosophy. It is the mission of the Quality Matters Program to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning¹. The Quality Matters rubric is research supported; it also promotes best practice-based quality standards and procedures². So, not only is the Quality Matters Rubric supported by research, it is also updated on a regular basis.

The Quality Matters rubric focuses on eight standards³:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Resources and Materials
  5. Learner Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility

Presently, a resource is under development that would demonstrate examples that meet the standards identified by the Quality Matters rubric. If you have examples in your online or blended course that you would like to have reviewed for inclusion in the Moodle course site, please contact Cleo Magnuson, Instructional Designer at cleo_magnuson@ncsu.edu. The resource is currently being pilot-tested with IDEA Grant course development projects and it is DELTA’s eventual goal that we would like to begin offering course evaluation services to all NC State faculty teaching a fully online course or blended course.

¹,² Our Mission, Quality Matters Program, Retrieved 10-21-2010
³ Quality Matters Program Rubric, Retrieved 10-21-2010