Quality Matters at NMSU-A
Quality Matters (QM) is a critical component to insure quality for online education. It provides a faculty-driven process around student learning that is collaborative, collegial, continuous, and centered. It provides instructors the tools and training for quality assurance of online courses (www.qualitymatters.org).
NMSU Alamogordo understands the need for more consistency in course quality and delivery and has committed human and financial resources for the solid implementation of Quality Matters (QM) for its online course delivery and online student support services.
There has been a dramatic increase in online course offerings at NMSU-A since spring 2007. As a result, NMSU-A has reassigned full-time faculty member, Sherrell Wheeler, to oversee the quality of all online courses, applying QM standards and online teaching protocols in order to ensure academic integrity, as well as consistency of presentation and expectation. This new position, Director of Online Quality Assurance, serves as the plan manager for the Quality Matters Program, directing the internal review process, training faculty on QM standards, and preparing and teaching the mandatory pedagogical training for online faculty. Also, the Online Course Quality Assurance Team of faculty members, made up of QM certified peer reviewers, includes Sherrell Wheeler, Gary Bond, Rob Klinger, John Adams, Kathy Roark-Diehl, and Christine Trapp.
As NMSU-A moves forward with this endeavor, the future will include a number of major changes to the online and hybrid courses offered. These changes will include: 1) become a QM campus and require all existing courses undergo an internal peer review process based on QM Standards within a 3-year period. Existing courses will be scheduled for review at the rate of at least 1/3 of existing courses each year, with assurance that all online courses at NMSU-A by the end of year three will be reviewed and taught according to QM standards; 2) provide and require training in QM standards, online pedagogy, and the NMSU-A learning management system (currently CANVAS) for all faculty who teach online or hybrid/blended courses; 3) establish and implement external QM peer review certification processes by which several courses a year become certified QM courses; 4) require all new online courses to undergo an internal QM standards review and approval before being offered, beginning Spring 2014; 5) design and require the use of a mandatory template for all online courses; and 6) design and provide an Online Instructor Inventory to determine whether the faculty member has the skill sets to teach online classes.
During this first year of implementation, the first group of classes will be selected for conversion to QM Standards alignment from volunteer faculty members who have taken at least the first level of QM training (Approximately 60 faculty took the QM training in face-to-face sessions in April 2013, while 20 are currently enrolled in an online section of the training, and 20 more will begin the training on September 3.).
The second and third groups of courses must meet the QM standards by summer 2015 and summer 2016, respectively.