Quality Matters at NIU

To promote excellence in online teaching and learning, in 2014 NIU joined more than 1300 institutions who subscribe to Quality Matters (QM). Through professional development and a voluntary course review and certification process, QM will help us ensure that our online courses are high quality and support our students' success.

Quality Standards

The (QM) rubric is based on a synthesis of the extensive and growing body of research on online learning. The rubric is made up of 42 specific review standards for quality online course design. QM is a continuous and collaborative improvement process that recognizes that courses meeting the standards still have room for continuing improvement and courses that do not meet standards initially will receive useful feedback to guide revision.

The QM standards focus on course design, not content, and include recommendations for learning objectives, assessments, activities, technology, and accessibility, usability, learner support, and the initial student experience, among others. 

You can review the standards on the 6th edition of the rubric, although this version does not include the annotations. Request a copy of the full rubric by contacting us at facdev@niu.edu.

Professional Development for Online Course Quality

Faculty interested in learning more about the Quality Matters rubric and/or becoming a peer reviewer are invited to attend the online workshops in the Quality Online Course Series offered by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. The online workshops will also be recorded and made available after the event as an archive. Faculty who want to engage more deeply with the Peer Review Process are encouraged to attend the day-long Applying the Quality Matter Rubric (APPQMR) workshops which are offered in-person at NIU several times throughout the year, followed by the online Peer Reviewer Course (PRC) offered online by Quality Matters.

Course Review and Certification

Course review and certification is voluntary, but encouraged. As a first step, faculty can request an informal review of their online course and consult with one of our staff on incorporating the standards into their online course. This is done automatically for all courses supported by an Instructional Designer.  

Once a course has been internally reviewed and recognized for being high-quality, it can be submitted for an official Quality Matters review. An official QM review requires a formal review team and includes an external peer reviewer. Courses that meet these standards can be called QM Certified, display a QM Certification logo, and are included on the Quality Matters’ national list of officially recognized courses.

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Faculty Development and
Instructional Design Center


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