Quality Matters and Working Toward Best Practices for Online Course Design

Quality Matters

As we continue to refine our strategies in online learning, it is helpful to look toward organizations that specialize in this work for guidance. One such organization (Quality Matters) has been especially influential in establishing best practices for AAP’s latest online course developments and revisions.

Quality Matters is a non-profit organization that serves as a leader in quality assurance and is especially known for its rubric. The Quality Matters Rubric, a set of general standards to guide the design of online and hybrid learning, serves as a synthesis of research on the components of high-quality learning experiences. The IRC has incorporated many of the QM Rubric’s standards into its review process for new course developments and course revisions. If you work with an IRC instructional designer on one of these projects, you will see the influence of the QM Rubric first-hand.

Of course, personal practice with applying such guidelines can be especially useful in rapidly improving your own existing courses and your future course design work. You can gain this hands-on experience by participating in our Quality Matters workshop, Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR). As we are a Quality Matters-subscribing institution, all JHU faculty and staff are eligible to take part in this workshop for free. We provide this workshop synchronously over Zoom at least once every term. You can check when it is next offered on our Workshops Calendar.


If you complete the APPQMR workshop, you’ll become eligible to take the Peer Reviewer Course (PRC) workshop facilitated asynchronously online by Quality Matters. This workshop builds on the foundational information from APPQMR by incorporating more hands-on practice with reviewing courses to meet the QM Rubric standards and how to provide invaluable feedback to colleagues on improving the design of their online courses. If you are APPQMR-certified and are interested in the Peer Reviewer Course, check out the Higher Ed Peer Reviewer Course page on the Quality Matters website for more information.

Don’t have the time for a full workshop right now? You can still take advantage of QM’s free webinars on many important and timely topics surrounding online learning, such as accessibility, hyflex, and more. You can register for live webinars or watch recordings of the sessions at your leisure.

Have any questions about Quality Matters or its workshops and other professional development opportunities? Feel free to contact me! (Joe Runciman – [email protected]) I also serve as the APPQMR facilitator, so let me know if you’d like to be notified when the next session of APPQMR is offered.

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