Setting Your “GPS” - Choosing an Online Course Quality System that Works for You

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Does “quality matter” at your institution? Do you have an “online course quality rubric”? Or do you cross fingers and hope that everyone shares an understanding of “good” online course design? Participants examine the features of Quality Matters and Open SUNY’s Course Quality Review to determine the best fit for their institution’s efforts.


A passionate educator. A persistent puzzle-solver. A believer in collaboration. Owner of a bad habit of aiming for the stars. With a starting point in sociocultural psychology (UCSC) and research interest in learning environments, I started my journey of learning about learning along the paths of museum-based learning as a researcher and then as an educator (Junior Museum, Schenectady Museum) and, later, exhibit developer (Amaze Design). Along the way, a parallel exploration into learning design (GWU), outcomes assessment and evaluating quality (American Association of Museums) sparked an interest that would come in handy as I moved into the higher education field by way of instructional design and online learning (Johnson & Wales University)and establishing online learning programming and growing faculty development (CCRI). Currently, I am a doctoral student (URI), a faculty member (UMB), and a learning architect.

Extended Abstract

Committing to a set of guidelines and an eco-system for online course quality can be a significant decision for any institution. One that can set the tone of engagement between faculty and instructional designers, that can have an impact on the professional development approaches for online faculty, and one that can have financial implications. There are various systems in the field - so how do institutions choose the one that is the best fit for their needs?

Through the ID2ID Peer Mentoring program - a joint project by Educause and Penn State University, the presenters tackled the challenge of examining the two most common evaluation systems - Quality Matters (QM) and Open SUNY Course Quality Review  (OSCQR). The goal of the project was to create a toolkit for institutions looking to evaluate what approaches to course quality exist and to assess their institutional culture and needs in order to determine the most effective path for establishing their approach.

The result was a decision-making tool to support institutional stakeholders in selecting a system that best supports their current situation and needs. The session will start with a brief review of the tool and its implementation at one presenter’s institution followed by a small-group activity applying the tool, then an open-discussion and feedback session.


Session Interaction

Participants will workshop the tool by applying it in small groups to “persona institutions” and their own institutions. Through a structured, facilitated experience, teams will examine how the factors of institutional purpose for quality assessment, human and financial resources availability, the ease of implementations, and need for flexibility might inform the selection and implementation of a course quality system. They will also reflect on how the core questions apply to their own institutions to prepare to lead the same discussion there.  

Time at the end will be saved for feedback on the tool and open discussion leading to a future revision.


Session Goals

  • Participants will be able to engage with stakeholders at their home institution around key topics around the adoption and implementation of a course quality system.

  • Participants will have access to the current version of the tool and to future iterations based on the workshop input.

  • The tool will be made available to the OLC community at-large.