Many of you are likely aware that Morningside College subscribed to Quality Matters, but did you also know that we have an active plan to help us implement the Quality Matters standards into our online courses? One of the services that Quality Matters provides is a process to help institutions create implementation plans. A college representative (typically the campus Quality Matters Coordinator or QMC) completes a proposal that follows the guidelines given by Quality Matters to describe the process that the institution will take to help implement the Quality Matters standards within is online and blended courses.
A couple of years ago, I stumbled across this service and decided to create a QM Implementation Plan for Morningside College which focuses on creating a form of internal review process for our online courses in our online programs (Graduate Education, Graduate Nursing, and Organizational Management). I worked with John Pino, Steve Gates, Jackie Barber, and Michelle Laughlin as I drafted this proposal. What I liked about the process was QMs flexibility for us to create a plan that fit Morningside and our needs. Our needs were to create a review system for ourselves, guided by the QM standards. I submitted this proposal to QM and they basically said “Great! Go for it!” You can read the specifics of this plan here if you are interested.
We are currently in Year 2 of a three year plan. Last year I recruited several faculty and adjuncts within the Graduate Education program to complete the training necessary to become peer-reviewers for our internal process. This year, I hope to continue to recruit interested faculty and to begin training those who have completed the training to conduct reviews. Ultimately it is my goal to try to have at least 2 courses from each program reviewed internally.
So what does it mean that we have a QM ‘approved’ implementation plan? Each year I submit an annual report indicating our progress on our stated goals. And we are also able to include a statement in our web pages that states:
Morningside College is committed to implement the Quality Matters Standards for the design of online and/or hybrid courses, and we are systematically building and evaluating our courses based on these rigorous, research-supported standards. The Quality Matters standards assure that the online components of these courses promote learner engagement and provide students with all the tools and information they need to be successful learners. More information regarding Quality Matters may be found at https://www.qualitymatters.org/.
Beyond the request for annual reports there is no other ‘policing’ that QM does. So it’s not like we will be punished for not meeting our goals. But they do provide guidance and resources for those of us trying to accomplish our goals.
If you are interested in learning more about the Morningside College QM Implementation Plan, please feel free to contact me. If you are interested in becoming an internal reviewer I would love to talk to you more! Even if you do not teach online, you can become a reviewer. Becoming a reviewer for our online programs will allow you to see just what our online courses look like, how our online students are learning, and it can even give you ideas for your own courses!