Reimaging the Course Review: Providing Scalable, Quality Feedback to Faculty

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Course quality reviews have a number of benefits for various stakeholders. Why then do institutions find the process and outcomes so darn frustrating? This presentation will showcase how one institution iterated to solve issues in the course review process and implement scalable, learner-centered feedback for faculty developing online courses.


Courtney Hebert (court . knee / a . bear) is a Sr. Learning Experience Designer at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and an adjunct instructor in the Department of Library Science & Technology at Sam Houston State University. She holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Systems Design & Technology from Sam Houston State University. She also earned an M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership and a B.S. in Secondary English Education from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Previously a high school English teacher in the K-12 system, Dr. Hebert has over ten years of experience in educational technology and creating effective learning environments. She has also held positions as technology coordinator and educational technology consultant in both K-12 and higher education settings. Her research interests include online learning, online faculty development in higher education, and project management.

Extended Abstract

With the recent rise in online learning, universities have had to expediate the creation of or rethink their processes for designing and developing high-quality online courses. One commonly used method for effective course design is the course review process where a set of quality standards is used to evaluate a course design. Similar to the OLC OSCQR Course Design Review Scorecard or Quality Matters Peer Review Process, institutions may adopt one of several popular course quality review rubrics or develop their own. Instructional designers, peers, or subject matter experts review courses against the standards in the course design rubric and provide feedback for improving the overall course design and meeting the standards.   

The implementation of a course review process has many benefits across multiple institutional stakeholders, including:  

  • For students, a course review improves the quality of their online course, including a more consistent learning experience across courses in a program  
  • For faculty, the process is an opportunity to improve their courses and learn about effective course design strategies  
  • For instructional designers, conducting a course review is a way to share best practices in online learning and design with faculty  
  • For institutions, the course review process may be more scalable than assigning end-to-end development to an instructional designer, which may lead to a higher number of courses developed, while still maintaining the assurance of quality 

Despite these benefits, the course review process is inherently subject to several challenges, including:  

  • For faculty, inconsistent feedback on course reviews can be frustrating and demotivating  
  • For instructional designers/reviewers, significant time is required to review a course and provide quality feedback to faculty  
  • For stakeholders across institutions (e.g., program directors, support staff), developing a course review rubric that is interpreted equally by all is difficult  

This presentation will showcase how our institution iterated towards solutions to implement scalable, learner-centered feedback on course reviews for faculty developing online courses. Through a process of continuous improvement, the Online & Continuing Education unit reimagined aspects of the course review process to solve challenges and make the processes more sustainable and scalable across a family of institutions. Our revised processes included organized onboarding and phased mentoring for instructional designers conducting course reviews, as well as the creation of two new resources, a feedback library and an annotation guide, which reviewers could reference when completing course reviews.  

The inclusion of these processes and resources helped solve challenges for our faculty, reviewers, and institutions. We were able to ensure greater consistency in the feedback that faculty received on their course reviews and reduced the amount of time that reviewers spent on writing quality feedback. Our processes also helped ensure that all stakeholders were interpreting the course review standards consistently. 

Attendees will be provided with examples of the processes and resources that they can use to implement at their institution.  

Session goals  

Individuals attending this discussion will be able to identify areas of improvement in their own course review processes, specifically related to reviewer feedback on course reviews. They will also be able to imagine how they might create and implement the shared processes and resources at their institution. 


The presenter will engage session attendees in a discussion, providing them an opportunity to share the scalable processes they are implementing at their own institutions related to course review processes and how they might implement new strategies at their institution. Attendees and presenter will discuss ways we can further improve the course review process. Information will be captured in a collaborative space (e.g., Mural or Blend Space) so it can be easily revisited after the conference.