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UT one of top schools in country for Quality Matters-certified online classes

When it comes to offering online courses certified by Quality Matters, The University of Toledo is one of the top schools in the country.

With 32 courses certified this year, UT offers 85 Quality Matters-certified classes. That ranks the University 15th in the nation when it comes to offering Quality Matters-certified courses.

Earlier this year, the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Health and Human Services was the first at UT to have an online degree program with all required courses certified by Quality Matters for a master of arts degree in recreation administration.

“The University adopted Quality Matters in 2011, and our faculty members have really embraced it,” Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said. “More than 50 UT faculty members have chosen to ensure the quality of their online courses through the nationally recognized and faculty-driven Quality Matters peer review process.”

Quality Matters is a nonprofit organization that provides standards for courses and program review to support quality assurance goals. A recognized leader in quality assurance for online education, its mission is to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning nationally and internationally through the development of current, research-supported and practice-based quality standards and appropriate evaluation tools and procedures.

The organization also provides recognition of expertise in online education quality assurance and evaluation along with professional development in the use of rubrics, tools and practices to improve online education.

“I would highly recommend this experience to any instructor who wants to deliver quality online learning,” said Susan Parks, UT associate lecturer of curriculum and instruction in the Judith Herb College of Education. “The feedback that I received helped me to improve my course design, create clearer expectations, and incorporate best practices.”

Official Quality Matters course reviews coordinated through UT Online are conducted by a team of certified peer reviewers who actively teach online and have been trained and certified by the organization.

The review process centers around the application of the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric. The 42 standards outlined in the rubric were developed and are periodically revised based on research and established standards in the fields of instructional design and online learning.

“I think the Quality Matters process made me a better course designer and instructor,” said Dr. Judy Lambert, UT professor of educational technology. “The Quality Matters rubric was especially helpful as a guide while designing courses, and the external review process provided additional evaluations pointing out areas which needed improvement.”

“The constructive criticism provided by the review teams, coupled with the praise for areas that met the expectations of the rubrics, provided valuable recommendations addressing course design, communication, competencies, technology, accessibility, usability and more,” said Marie Janes, UT senior lecturer in the School of Population Health. “With each certification, I could see a marked improvement in the student learning outcomes, a measurement that is undeniably the most useful type of data for faculty.”

Any UT instructor interested in learning more about the official Quality Matters course review process are encouraged to visit UT’s Does Quality Matter?