Quality Matters

To ensure the quality and continual improvement of online and hybrid course offerings at USFSM, and after a review of alternatives and consideration of feedback from faculty who had experience with other models, our academic community has decided to pursue implementation of the Quality Matters (QM) standards of practice at our institution. A plan for piloting an implementation of the QM framework has been established in collaboration with the Faculty Senate and Academic and Student Affairs Leadership Team.

Quality Matters LogoWhat is Quality Matters?

Quality Matters is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning. University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) is committed to implement the Quality Matters standards for the design of online and hybrid courses, and we will begin to systematically build and evaluate our courses based on these rigorous, research-supported standards. The Quality Matters standards assure that the online components of these courses promote learner engagement and provide students with all the tools and information they need to be successful learners. USFSM will work to incorporate Quality Matters into all phases of its course design processes and to develop the capacity to conduct unofficial and official course reviews. USFSM will commit to implement Quality Matters for a period of one year.

For more information, please visit the Quality Matter website.

The Quality Matters Task Force


The Office of the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs is accountable for ensuring the quality of online and hybrid courses, and has charged the QM Task Force with responsibility for leading the Quality Matters Implementation Pilot. They will accomplish this work in collaboration and consultation with the Faculty Senate and Academic Council. The Coordinator of Faculty Development and E-Learning Services will be responsible for day-to-day operations as directed by the QM Task Force. The QM Task Force will inform faculty, staff, and the campus community of the progress of its work.

Task Force Members:

  • Diane Fulkerson, M.A., M.L.S., Director of Information Commons
  • Susan Fulton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Timi Hager, MITE, Assistant Director of E-Learning, (Quality Matters Peer Reviewer Certified)
  • Bonnie Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness
  • Colleen Lord, Ed.D., Instructor, Educational Leadership, Faculty Senate Liason
  • Dina Osborn, Ph.D., Instructor and Coordinator, M.A. Online Teaching and Learning
  • Brianne Reck, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Faculty Development Coordinator (Chair)
  • Anthony Spall, B.A., Instructional Media & Web Support Technologist
  • Carol Vance, Ph.D., Instructor in Accounting, College of Business
  • G. Pat Wilson, Ph.D., Interim Dean & Associate Professor, College of Education

Task Force Meeting Agendas and Minutes:

Meeting Date Minutes
February 4, 2015 PDF
February 12, 2015 PDF
February 19, 2015 PDF

Pilot Implementation Planned Phases

An outline of the pilot implementation plan phases follow. You may view the full plan document here.

Phase 1 – Faculty Development:

The QM Rubric

Based on research-supported and published best practices, the QM Rubric is a set of standards by which to evaluate the design of online and blended courses. The rubric is complete with annotations that explain the application of the standards and the relationship between them. Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR) course is the prerequisite for the Peer Reviewer Course.

Peer Review Course

The Peer Reviewer Course is designed to prepare experienced online faculty to become Quality Matters Certified Peer Reviewers. The Peer Reviewer Course includes a review of Quality Matters, practice critiquing and writing helpful recommendations, and a Practice Review in which the participants are asked to review Specific Standards in an online course using QM’s Course Review Management System.

Action Items

  • Develop and conduct Quality Matters Information sessions. This session will be designed as an information session for Faculty and Administrators to learn about Quality Matters and how to become certified in Quality Matters. Session length 1 hour.
  • Conduct face-to-face Quality Matters Applying the Rubric (APPQMR) training for faculty. Faculty development will be conducted by internal staff, Timi Hager, QM Institutional Representative. This faculty development will be conducted on campus and will take approximately 7.5 hours.
  • Register Faculty with online teaching experience, who have successfully completing the APPQMR course, for the Online Peer Review Course (PRC). Faculty that complete the PRC training will be expected to participate as internal peer reviewers for the institution. The PRC course is a 2 week online training.

Phase 2 – Course Reviews:

Internal Course Review Teams will be created and internal reviews will begin for qualified courses. Eligible courses – courses that have been taught for at least two semesters online – that have successfully undergone internal review, will be submitted to QM for Official Course Review. Continue ongoing Faculty Development for the QM Rubric & Peer Review Course.

Action Items

  • Develop and create internal Peer Reviewers for online/hybrid course reviews
  • Begin internal course reviews; courses that have been taught for at least two semesters online will be eligible for review
  • Develop tracking system to document faculty qualified to participate in internal reviews and list of courses in the review process
  • Continue Faculty Development & Information Sessions

Reference Materials

SACS COC Documentation: