Quality Matters

quality matters logo

Grounded in research. Driven by best practices. Continuous. Centered. Collegial. Collaborative. The QM Program relies on these guiding principles to create a culture of continuous improvement so you deliver on your promise day after day, semester after semester. Researched-based Rubrics and Standards provide objective, evidence-based ways to evaluate the components of online learning. 

Workshops for the UA System, delivered in collaboration by AI&e and UAF's eCampus, are being held virtually via Zoom and are typically offered two or three times a year.


Student success at UAA is our goal. Delivering on that goal depends upon well-designed, well-presented courses and programs. Quality Matters is a system that helps you deliver on student success with review, improvement, and certification of quality courses. Using Quality Matters begins to instill a culture of quality throughout UAA.  

Core Principles

The Quality Matters Rubrics and processes are:

  • Designed to ensure all courses eventually meet expectations.
  • Centered on research, student learning, and on quality.
  • Collegial faculty-centered process with balanced and constructive feedback.
  • Collaborative team-based peer reviews, including the course developer.

Quality Matters has three basic components to it: the QM Rubric, the Peer Review Process and QM Professional Development.

QM Rubric

The QM Rubrics and Standards were designed to help educators, institutions, and most importantly, students. The rubrics are intended to guide you through the development, evaluation, and improvement of your online and blended courses with objective feedback on your course design. The rubric may be used by individuals to guide course design, conduct a self-review, and/or for an informal, internal, or formal review for QM recognition.

QM Peer Reviews

Reviews provide benchmarks, chart a path for improvement and lead to certifications. Faculty and staff know they will be supported by peer feedback in an open, collegial process. Institutions can demonstrate they offer quality-assured courses and programs supported by best practices, rigorous review and research.

QM Professional Development

Our workshops are designed for busy professionals. Whether you are looking to improve or design your online course (IYOC), improve your content delivery, or become familiar with the foundation of how the QM rubric and standards inform course design (APPQMR), we can help you. We can also do a brief QM overview session for your whole department. Click on the training tab for more information. 

QM Workshops

Whether you're looking to become a QM reviewer or would like to improve your online courses, our QM training is designed to help you get there. Group workshops are listed below but if you'd like more personal or program-oriented training or would like us to give your department a QM overview, please reach out to us at uaa_design@alaska.edu or 786-4496. 

Designing Your Online Course (DYOC)*new*

The Designing Your Online Course (DYOC) workshop includes an overview of the QM Rubric and provides a framework for participants to design an online course plan. An integral element of the workshop is exploration of the eight General Standards of the QM Rubric, focusing on learning objectives and overall course alignment. Participants will complete a Course Development Plan.

Improving Your Online Course (IYOC)

The Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) workshop is an opportunity to learn about the Quality Matters rubric and peer review process by applying the 23 essential standards to one of your own courses. Participants MUST have a developed course shell (in Blackboard or other online location) to work on for completing a Self-Review, implementing the design changes, and reflecting on your own blended or online course design.

Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR)

Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) workshop is a rigorous, two week, asynchronous course for faculty, administrators, and staff to become familiar with the QM Rubric and how standards inform online course design. This training is helpful if you need to learn how to put a course online; is open to any university employee; and is a required prerequisite for becoming a QM Peer Reviewer.

QM Rubric Workbooks

The QM rubric workbooks are available to any faculty or staff member upon request. Workbooks are a valuable reference while designing or revising an online, hybrid or f2f course. 

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QM Course Reviews

Using the QM Rubric and review tools as a guide, you, your colleagues, or a team of QM-trained, experienced online instructors can evaluate the design of your online or blended course and ensure it meets QM Standards. Simply fill out a review request form and a member of our Quality Matters team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Types of Reviews 

  • Preliminary Reviews

    While Preliminary Reviews are not recognized by QM for certification, these reviews allow a faculty member to see how a course meets QM standards. As a professional development tool, they can be used in establishing a design or course content baseline, in establishing course alignment for student success, in planning for course improvements, or in securing course design or technology assistance from an instructional designer or technologist. Data from the Preliminary Reviews (not the actual review content) can also be used for program, department, or college evidence in accreditation reports or other administrative statistics. 

    There are several ways to complete a Preliminary Review:

    Self Review
    A Self-Review is a private course review usually completed by the faculty member or an instructional designer on behalf of the faculty member and utilizes the QM Rubric and Course Review Management System (CRMS).

    Preparatory Review
    Preparatory Reviews are completed by a QM-Certified Master Reviewer who is also a subject matter expert (SME) in the same field as the course that is being reviewed. Preparatory Reviews are a paid item through QM (our subscription discounted cost is currently $350 per course). One of the benefits of this preliminary review is that the course review will be completed by a disciplinary expert outside of the home institution, which will eliminate any institutional bias while maintaining the rigor of a full review.

    Consultation Review
    A Consultation Review is a one-on-one process that is internal to our institution and not a process set up by QM.  It is similar to a Preparatory Review in that it is a full review completed by a QM-Certified Peer Reviewer, a Master Reviewer or an instructional designer with QM training. The reviewer will either have expertise as an SME in the same discipline as the course being reviewed or have expertise in course design. At the completion of the course review report, the faculty member and the instructional designer/reviewer will meet to go over the results of the review and set up plans for course improvements.

    Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) Workshop (online or face-to-face)
    The Alaska System IYOC workshops are led by QM-Certified Facilitators who are also instructional designers within UA, and many are adjunct faculty as well. This is a cohort review model where feedback from the facilitators and peers provide suggestions for additional course design options and/or for course improvements. A full Self-Review and Course Improvement Plan are the outcomes of this workshop. 

    • Online IYOC is a a fully online, asynchronous version
    • F2F IYOC is a 7-8 hour, one day classroom style workshop for individuals, departments or colleges/campuses 
  • Internal Reviews

    The purpose of an Internal Review is to provide a full review experience for an instructor at minimal to no cost since the review team is composed primarily of QM-trained individuals from within the institution. Since these reviews are handled internally, there is no certification with this review type. However, this review is an opportunity to begin the collaborative review process and have time to reflect on course design, course content, and course improvement while preparing proactively for the formal, Official Course Review. Internal Reviews use the same process as an Official Course Review:  a 2-3 person review team, use of the QM Course Review Management System (CRMS), completion of a Course Worksheet, analysis of the course using all 42 Specific Review Standards, and a complete Final Report, with recommendations for course improvements. QM statistics show that courses in the Official Reviews will usually meet expectations and become QM-Certified much quicker if those courses have gone through an Internal Review first.

    Informal Review 
    Informal Reviews are just another name for Internal Reviews. Informal reviews are completed by a team of QM-trained faculty or instructional designers designated as: a team chair (who is a QM-Certified Peer Reviewer or Master Reviewer), a Subject Matter Expert (SME), and an additional reviewer.  All members of the team must have completed at least one official QM training workshop (APPQMR, IYOC, PRC, or higher certification). The actual course review can be done more informally to include group meetings and more collaboration with the course faculty member or course development team.  A full course review Final Report will be provided that shows “the collective strengths and weaknesses of the course, every reviewer’s [individual] feedback, and a review score that reflects the overall quality of the course. The reports become part of an organization's QM data, which can be utilized in data analysis and evidence for accreditation” (QM Internal Reviews).

    Custom Review
    Custom Reviews allow organizations to develop custom rubrics that combine any or all of the QM Rubric standards with organization criteria, such as course delivery, technology integration, accreditation, or industry/disciplinary standards.  The review team, review process, and delivery of a final report (related to the custom standards) are still the same as with an Informal Review. Custom Rubrics and Custom Reviews must be developed with a QM Coordinator and set up in the QM CRMS before a review can take place. These reviews are not certified by QM, but can provide data for evidence for accreditation and are also another way to proactively prepare for an Official Course Review.

  • Official Course Reviews

    The purpose of an Official Course Review is to certify that a course meets quality assurance standards in course design for online or blended/hybrid courses. Courses that meet all 23 essential (required) standards and meet at least 85% level for all standards will earn a Certification Mark to display on their courses, along with a certificate of quality to use in faculty files (if desired). QM Certification lasts for three to five years, depending on the review type. A course that does not meet QM Rubric Standards on the initial Official Review will have additional time to make amendments and have the course reviewed again at no extra cost. QM believes that all courses can meet quality expectations, given support with peer reviewer.

    Course Review
    Official Course Reviews for Higher Education for-credit courses can be managed by QM or by the institution. In our Alaska System all Official Course Reviews are managed by QM. This eliminates any institutional bias as all three team members are from other institutions and are certified as Peer Reviewers or Master Reviewers by QM. Each of the three team members (Master Reviewer as the Chair, an SME, and a third reviewer) review the course and write recommendations for all 42 QM Specific Review Standards. The team has three to four weeks to complete the review and will work with the faculty member during this time for any minor fixes. If the course does not meet expectations on the first run, an amendment process is set up with an additional 14 weeks for the faculty member and institutional support staff (instructional designers, usually) to complete the necessary recommendations. The Team Chair will review the amendment revisions and issue the final report and determination. (Our subscription-discounted cost is currently $1000 per course.)

    Alternate Format Review
    The Alternate Format Review is an alternative, shortened review for a course that is already QM Certified in one format (such as fully online) and is also being offered in a second format (such as blended). Because the delivery formats are different, the course requires its own certification review. However, because the course content in one format has already received certification, the review process is shortened. The alternate format review has only one team member who is a Master Reviewer with subject matter expertise in the area of the course being reviewed and who is not a member of the course’s home institution. This one team member fulfills the roles of all three members in a traditional team.  (Our subscription-discounted cost is currently $400 per course.)

    Recertification Review
    The Recertification Review is for a course that is already certified and coming up to its expiration date OR for a course that is already certified and has had more than 20% of the course changed or updated since it was originally certified. A Recertification Review is good for an additional three years, at which point, the course must go through another full review again to continue to be certified.  Visit QM's QM's decision tree to determine if a course needs to be recertified.

  • Program Reviews

    Quality Matters offers a quality assurance series of reviews for full programs or departments.  There are four specific program reviews. Any program or department that earns all four certifications becomes an Exemplary Program.

    At UAA, our QM trained instructional designers can help you with this process if you are interested in putting your program thorough this rigorous process. Visit the QM Program Certification Overview web page for more details, and then contact one of our QM Coordinators for more information. The QM Program Certification is structured to help departments and institutions document evidence for institutional accreditation or national organization accreditation. You can find out more about this on QM's Streamlining Accreditation Preparation with Program Review web page.

QM Certified Courses

Course Number Course  Institution Faculty
JUST A110 Introduction to Criminal Justice UAA Sharon Chamard
ANTH A101 Introduction to Anthropology KOC Libby Eufemio
COMM A111 Fundamentals of Oral Communication UAA Michelle Scaman
LEGL A101 Introduction to Law UAA Deb Periman
BIOL A455/655 EL Bioinformatics UAA Brandon Briggs
NS A400 Research in Nursing UAA Sharyl Toscano
SWK A634 Advanced Generalist Practice III:
Organizations and Communities
UAA Mary Dallas Allen
CHEM A103 Survey of Chemistry KPC Susan Mircovich
CHEM A104 Intro to Organic & Biochemistry KPC Susan Mircovich
COMM A111 Fundamentals of Oral Communication KPC Janice High
COMM A111 Fundamentals of Oral Communication KPC Andrea Anderson
ENG A111 Intro to Composition KPC Scott Downing
ENG A202 Masterpieces of World Literature II  KPC Barbara Christian
HUM A211 Intro to the Humanities I KPC Lynne Roff
MA A121 College Algebra for Managerial & Social Sciences KPC Tammy Farrell
MA A105 Intermediate Algebra KPC Tammy Farrell
MATH A251 Calculus I KPC Clair Kochis
MATH A252 Calculus II KPC Clair Kochis
MATH A253 Calculus III KPC Clair Kochis 
PRT A101 Intro to Process Technology KPC Jeffrey Laube
PRT A130 Process Technology 1: Equipment KPC Jeffrey Laube 
PRT A250 Process Troubleshooting  KPC Jeffrey Laube
PRT A280 Industrial Petrochemical Process  KPC Jeffrey Laube
THR A111 Intro to the Theatre KPC Lynne Roff
WRTG A211 Writing & the Humanities  KPC Heather Reichenberg 
BIOL A112 Human Anatomy & Physiology II  KOC Suzanne Buie 
BIOL A288 Principles of Evolution  KOC Cindy Trussell
CHEM A103 Survey of Chemistry KOC Cindy Trussell
DN A203 Nutrition for Health Sciences KOC Cindy Trussell
EDEC A106 Creativity and the Arts in Early Childhood  KOC Kitty Deal
EDEC A241 Infant and Toddler Development KOC Kitty Deal 
EDEC A303 Young Children in Inclusive Settings  KOC Kitty Deal 
EDEL A205 Becoming an Elementary Teacher  KOC Kitty Deal 
EDSE A212 Human Development & Learning KOC Kitty Deal 
ENGL A111/WRTG A111 Writing Across Contexts  KOC Jordana Long 
ENVI A211 Environmental Science: Systems & Processes  KOC Cindy Trussell 
ENVI A211L Environmental Science Lab  KOC Linda Himelbloom 
LSIC A332 Science, Technology, and Culture  KOC Cindy Trussell 
WRTG A213 Writing & the Sciences KOC Jordana Long 

2020-2021 QM Mini-Grants

The UAA QM Mini-grant program was developed to encourage faculty to learn about quality assurance and accessibility requirements for online or blended courses, and to help them make course improvements to meet these standards. 

There is some flexibility in the mini-grants based on faculty interest and past experience with QM. Faculty accepted into the mini-grant program, chose one of the following tracks. Grant stipends will be awarded after successful completion of the tracks, June 2021. 

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Track 1 Course Improvement

This track is appropriate for any faculty member teaching an online or blended course who is interested in improving it.  Faculty can enter at stage 1 or stage 3. Each stage stipend: $250.

Stage 1: Develop Course Improvement Plan 
Timeline: Due by January 15, 2021 if planning to continue to stage 2. Otherwise due by June 1, 2021.

  • Complete the QM Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) workshop, which includes a Self-Review and Course Improvement Plan.
  • Complete the Trail Guide accessibility module.
  • Use Blackboard Ally [training provided] to find/fix accessibility problems in your course to meet QM accessibility standards.
  • Complete the official QM Self-Review for all Specific Review Standards. Print/save copy of Self-Review and email it to uaa_design@alaska.edu with QM Mini-grant in subject line.
  • Consult with an instructional designer to go over the course improvement plan and accessibility self-evaluation; develop a timeline and revision plan for all modifications.

Stage 2: Implement Course Improvement Plan
Timeline: Due by March 1, 2021 if planning to continue to stage 3. Otherwise due by June 1, 2021.

  • Complete agreed-upon improvements from the revision plan
  • Consult with an instructional designer for a final review of course improvements.

Stage 3: Internal QM review. Faculty with QM and accessibility training and/or a QM certified course can start here.
Timeline:  Due by May 1, 2021 if planning to continue to stage 4. Otherwise due by June 1, 2021.

  • Submit your course for an Internal QM Review.
  • Consult with an instructional designer to develop a timeline and revision plan for all required amendments.
  • Complete all course improvements from the revision plan.
  • Consult with an instructional designer for a final review of course modifications to ensure that the course meets the QM course design standards and the required accessibility criteria.

Stage 4: Official QM review.
Timeline: Due by June 15, 2021.

  • Submit your course for a Formal QM Peer Review.  If the results of the Formal Review require any amendments, all revisions must be completed and your course must become QM Certified.

Track 2 QM Peer Review Track

Track 2 is for faculty members who want to go deeper into the QM process and assist their program/department by becoming a Peer Reviewer. Faculty can enter at any stage depending on their prior training in QM.

Timeline and stipend varies. Due by June 1, 2021.

Stage 1: Complete the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) workshop (includes the cost of the workshop)

Stage 2: Complete the Peer Reviewer Course (PRC).  Apply for a Certified Peer Reviewer role with QM.  (covers the cost of the course plus $200 stipend for completing the course)

Note:  if the faculty member already has Peer Reviewer status, QM Master Reviewer training may be substituted for this step.

Stage 3: Review a course as a peer reviewer ($250 stipend for first internal review, $150 for each subsequent).

Track 3 Building an Online Course

Description: Track 3 is for faculty members who want to develop a new online course. 
Due by June 1, 2021. Stipend: $250.

Stage 1: Complete the Designing your Online Course (DYOC) workshop (includes the cost of the workshop). Complete the Trail Guides series (save certificates). 

Stage 2: Complete full course alignment map and course design plan and get approval from an instructional designer before moving to stage 3.

Stage 3: Implement your course design plan. Consult with an instructional designer as needed. Get approval from an instructional designer on your newly designed course.