The Quality Matters Rubric (QM rubric) can be used as a tool for designing or evaluating one’s own course. The rubric, which every few years is updated based on the most current research, instructional design principles and best practices, contains eight general categories:
- Course Overview and Introduction
- Learning Objectives
- Assessment and Measurement
- Instructional Materials
- Learner Interaction and Engagement
- Course Technology
- Learner Support
The backbone of the QM rubric concerns alignment of core components. These components include Learning Objectives, Assessment and Measurement, Instructional Materials, Learner Interaction and Engagement, and Course Technology. Alignment of these components ensures the design of the course contributes to a successful learning environment.
To apply the rubric to one’s own course first review all 41 standards. After reading through the standards, consider the course learning objectives and whether or not they are measurable. Measurable learning objectives are necessary in order to know if students are walking away from the course with the intended skills and knowledge.
Next, consider whether or not the assessments (assignments, tests, discussion, etc.) and the instructional materials (readings, lectures, videos, etc.) support and measure the accomplishment of the learning objectives.
It should be clear to students which materials are required and which are supplemental, as well as how the materials are related to assessments.
Moreover, it’s a good idea to include a variety of learning activities, which provide opportunities for students to engage with the content, one another and the instructor. For instance, include activities which require students to apply information gained from the course content such as discussions or problem-solving scenarios.
Providing detailed grading criteria and feedback will further support the students successful accomplish of the learning objectives.
Finally, when considering alignment of course components, technology should always be evaluated based on it’s contribution to student accomplishment of learning objectives. Technology for technology’s sake is never recommended.
Consider how course technology is being used to support learner engagement and active learning opportunities. Once these considerations have been made, the next step is to review course navigation making sure it is consistent, logical, and efficient.