Center for Engagement and Learning - Quality Matters

Quality Matters at Pierce College

Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. QM is a leader in quality assurance for online education and has received national recognition for its peer-based approach and continuous improvement in online education and student learning.  Washington State Community & Technical Colleges subscribe to the QM Program, as do many other statewide systems and individual institutions. As part of our continuous effort to improve the quality of our online courses, Pierce College subscribed to the Quality Matters program in 2009. The QM Program has three primary components: The QM Rubric, QM Professional Development and the Peer Review Process.

The QM Rubric

The Quality Matters Rubric is a set of 8 general standards and 41 specific standards used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses.  The Rubric is complete with annotations that explain the application of the standards and the relationship among them.  A scoring system and set of online tools facilitate the evaluation by a team of reviewers.

Unique to the Quality Matters Rubric is the concept of alignment. This occurs when critical course components - Learning Objectives (2), Assessment and Measurement (3), Instructional Materials  (4), Learner Interaction and Engagement (5), and Course Technology (6) - work together to ensure students achieve desired learning outcomes.  Specific standards included in Alignment are indicated in the rubric annotations.

The eight general standards include:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Learner Interaction and Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility
Pierce College supports the application of the QM Rubric standards to its fully online courses to ensure they meet expectations, either from initial design and development or through revisions. The Quality Matters Rubric is research supported and promotes best practice-based quality standards and procedures. Faculty peer-reviewers use the QM Rubric to review Pierce College online courses to help meet our primary objective of ensuring quality assurance and promoting continuous improvement.