04 September 2008

Transparency: Results from Outside Reviews

The Quality Matters (QM) web site lists distance learning "Courses Recognized," meaning that the courses successfully passed the QM review that is billed as "inter-institutional quality assurance in online learning." (Click on Course Reviews on the web site menu for years 2004 through 2008.)

While no accreditation claim is made, the QM review serves as a means for external peer review that an institution can report to its stakeholders. Distance learning courses continue to be dogged by charges of lesser quality than their on-ground counterparts and schools understandably seek a good housekeeping seal of approval. QM provides that endorsement through a peer review team that focuses on course design according to aligned standards.

QM grew out of a FIPSE Grant at MarylandOnline state consortium of two- and four-year institutions. The QM organization now has more than 120 subscribers in more than 30 states. Through a fee-based subscription, an institution can submit distance learning courses for review. Not all courses pass—but all receive thorough feedback.

The Quality Matters research-based rubric has just been revised, demonstrating that it is an evolving instrument. As a national reviewer of 2-3 courses per month, I have used the new rubric in its launch. It's tougher.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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