Online faculty get training with Quality Matters, 42 rubric standards

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Online courses are designed to achieve student learning outcomes and do away with assignments that waste students’ time.

Janie Medelez

Quality Matters Workshops, applying the QM 42 rubric standards are required for full-time and adjunct faculty who teach online and hybrid courses.

The workshop will teach faculty to apply QM 42 rubric standards in designing the materials with activities that apply to the student learning outcomes and do away with assignments that have nothing to do with the outcomes.

QM is an international organization that assures the quality for online courses, it approaches the challenges on how to measure and assure the quality of an online course.

Dr. Pam Hill-Morris of psychology sereves as Alamo-QM APPQMR facilitator and QM Peer Reviewer.

She said the difference between an online course and a correspondence course is that online courses require the instructor’s presence, social presence, and cognitive presence; a correspondence course consists of automated grade quizzes and assignments without faculty engagement with the students.

Hill-Morris’ psychology course has been QM certified since January 2017.

Hill-Morris used to serve as president with San Antonio College for the online advisory committee.

During her time on the online advisory committee, the college was getting information nationally that online courses needed to be improved, too many of the courses looked like correspondence courses.

“When online classes first start, the instructors will set up exams or activities that don’t necessarily relate to the course objectives that the state has required,” she said.

“So, there’s a disconnect with the work assignments on online courses with achieving the course objectives.”

“Students will wonder what they’re learning when they’re given an activity and it doesn’t relate to anything that they’re learning in the class. This is a bunch of busy work,” Hill-Morris said.

“It is important to know the terminology called ‘alignment,’ there is alignment between all the course activities and the assessments with the objectives of the course.”

“QM is ensuring if you follow the rubric standards and you change your courses to meet those rubric standards that everything is aligned,” she said.

“So that there’s no gray area that the students clearly understand how this little activity or reading this chapter or doing this discussion assignment relates to their opportunity to achieve that course object.”

“When you make it really clear to the student at the end of the discussion and explain what they will be able to do – this, this and this, you will be able to explain – this, this and this, then it makes sense to students,” she said.

“Grades are issued, but that’s not what is important in QM,” she said.

“What is important is that the students clearly, clearly understand what they have to do to achieve the module objective and weekly objective.”

“The heart of the design of a course is to want to make it student-friendly and clear to the student what is expected,” Hill-Morris said.

“National research says — this is very true in my own course, which is QM certified; its met all the benchmarks — that I have a higher success rate and higher GPR rates,” she said.

“Nobody fails my courses. If they fail, it’s just because they dropped out of the course and didn’t complete the assignments.”

“QM has set the benchmark standards for a quality online course and created the 42 rubrics standards that an online course must meet that is required to be QM certified,” Hill-Morris said.

Courses meeting the 42 rubrics standards at a level of 85 percent or higher, receive QM recognition and certification with a seal to be displayed within the course to indicate to stakeholders it has achieved recognition for high-quality design.

“Over 400 institutions nationwide use QM to certify online and hybrid course design,” the college website said.

Lisa Ratliff-Villarreal, professor of criminal justice and QM coordinator, can be reached for more information at 210-486-0991 or via email at


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