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Meeting Quality Matters Standards in Online Education

With the rapid growth of online education at West Chester University, IS&T Distance Education Services looked to ensure that our online courses are built upon research-backed standards. Therefore, we partnered with Quality Matters (QM), a non-profit organization that specializes in standards for quality assurance for online course and program design. In the past year, Distance Education Services staff and a number of faculty members have been trained on the QM rubric, standards, and course review process.

The QM rubric is broken down into the following eight General Standards:

  • Course Overview and Introduction
  • Learning Objectives
  • Assessment and Measurement
  • Instructional Materials
  • Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
  • Course Technology
  • Learner Support
  • Accessibility and Usability

Each of the General Standards are further broken down into Specific Review Standards. In total, there are 42 Specific Review Standards. A course meets QM certification if it meets the standards at an 85% level.

Faculty members from all five colleges at WCU have been preparing their online courses for review with the assistance of the instructional design team. Once a course has been submitted to QM, it is reviewed by a peer review team which consists of a Team Chair, Subject Matter Expert, and External Reviewer. We have worked with peer review team members from all over the country. Twelve WCU faculty members have also been certified and are eligible to serve on a review team.

After obtaining QM certification, faculty members can display the QM Certification Mark on the syllabus and D2L course homepage. The mark informs our students that the course has clear expectations, meaningful content, and engaging activities.

The following WCU courses are now QM certified:

  • ECE 502: Advanced Child Development (Prebirth – 8 Years), taught by Dr. Cathy Prudhoe
  • NSG 537: Bioethical Decision Making in Health Care, taught by Dr. Cheryl Monturo
  • WRT 205: Critical Writing: Investigating Experience, taught by Dr. Shannon Mrkich
  • PSY 569: Ethics and Professional Skills in Organizational Practice, taught by Dr. Stefani Yorges
  • ECE 513: Advocating for Young Children and Families, taught by Dr. Cathy Prudhoe

More than 20 courses are going through the course review process this semester. Distance Education Services plans to continue the QM initiative in the 2019-20 academic year. If you’re interested in learning more, contact our office at or 610-436-2948.