NIU seeks to be a premier provider of quality online programs, so the University has begun the process of adopting quality standards for online courses and programs. The institution has become a Quality Matters member, joining 17 other higher educations institutions in Illinois and more than 700 worldwide. eLearning Services and the Office of Online Program Development and Support will provide support to faculty in the development and/or redevelopment of online courses and programs to reflect the best practices reflected in current research.
Courses and programs will also have the opportunity to be recognized as having meet the NIU Essential Standards for Online Quality, and be listed on the NIU Outreach website. The NIU Essential Standards is a subset of the Quality Matters standards, those deemed most important for online student success by the Office of Online Program Development and Support.
The NIU Online Quality designation is a recognition that will be given to courses that meet a high threshold for quality. These courses will be voluntarily submitted by the faculty for an internal peer review. If the defined standards are met, the courses will be identified as NIU Online Quality courses on the NIUOnline website and will be allowed the use of the NIU Online Quality banner in the course site, in the syllabus, and in marketing materials.
NIU Online Quality Courses can be sponsored by the department or the college for an official Quality Matters review, which 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.
Faculty 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.
There are 8 General Standards in the Quality Matters rubric:
Each general standard is detailed in 4-9 specific review standards, which provided detailed expectations for course design. NIU faculty and staff can access a short form of the rubric here [Note: NIU login is required to view the rubric; the standards are © 2014, Quality Matters - please do not distribute outside of NIU]
The full version of the rubric, which is provided as a workbook in the Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR) workshop, includes detailed descriptions for each of the 43 specific review standards, including annotations and examples of how to meet each standard. Alternatively, faculty can contact the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center to arrange a consultation to discuss the QM rubric.
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