Quality Matters

A faculty-centered process designed to certify the quality of online courses
QM ResourcesWhy QM

Quality Matters

Developing and recognizing quality online courses and programs.  

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized peer review process for certifying quality in online courses. test 8

“Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. … QM has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to quality assurance and continuous improvement in online education.’

For more on Quality Matters implementation at the University of Alaska see the AQI website.

UAF is part of the QM Alaska System of institutions.

How do I get started?
Research Foundations and Best Practices

The Quality Matters Rubric and related materials  are supported by rigorous and current research. Our membership provides everyone at UAF with the opportunity to use the QM Rubric for continuous improvement of online courses. You can browse and search in their research library for this supporting material or check out the research that’s been done on the impact of QM  in online learning.

The QM Review is based on continual improvement. It is a diagnostic, not an evaluation. If you wish to you may revise your course as needed to meet the QM standards. A successful revision results in the course being listed in the national QM Database of quality courses and the right to display the QM logo. Most importantly, a successful course review means a course that is better for learners!

Quality Matters Certified Programs
  • UAF Special Education and Teaching (Program Liaison: Joanne Healy)
    Program Design – 2018, Learner Success – 2019 & Teaching Support – 2019
  • Online Degrees at UAF, Learner Support for All Online Programs – 2018 (Program Liaison: Tim Stickel)
  • Master’s of Education in Online Innovation and Design, Teaching Support – 2019   (Program Liaison: Kendell Newman Sadiik)
  • July 2019 UAF earns  QM Exemplary Program  status for Special Education and Teaching by receiving QM certifications in four program areas within three years.

See the full listing at QM-Certified Programs

Certified Classes at UAF

Since starting formal review activities at UAF the following courses have been certified through QM Managed reviews:

You can use the Quality Matters (QM) research-based rubric to assist you in finding areas, and gathering ideas, on how to improve your online or hybrid course with regards to student learning, best practices in course design, and more.

To access the QM resources you need to set up a personal account on QM’s secure website.

Get Ready for Certification

  • Complete a workshop: the IYOC (Improving Your Online Course) or the APPQMR (Applying the Quality Matter Rubric) are the best choices
  • Get a copy of the QM Rubric by requesting one from UAF eCampus
  • Use the Self-Review tool to assess your own course.

Check if you are prepared for an Official Review prior to putting in a request for a QM Certified review.

These reviews currently cost $1000. UAF eCampus pays for each where the QM Coordinator has determined the course could pass the evaluation process at 85% or higher.

Self-Guided Review 
UAF is a QM subscribing institution; UAF faculty have access to QM Resources including the Research Library and a comprehensive Self-Review Tool for evaluating your own course. Fill out this form  to get started. 

Quality Matters Managed Formal Review
Online and hybrid courses are eligible for a formal review. It is  a  three-week process. A Master Reviewer, Subject Matter Expert and External Reviewer from other institutions examine your course using the QM Rubric, decides if it meets expectations for each standard, and provides ideas for improvement or enrichment on specific items of your course. If two or more reviewers agree a standard has been met, no revision is required. If not, you may revise your course using the recommendations.


Our Quality Matters Relationship

UAF eCampus brought the proven work of the Quality Matters (QM) organization to UAF in 2016 to support continuous improvement of fully-online and hybrid courses.

QM reviews focus on course content–the learning objectives, curriculum, planned learning activities– not delivery, using the QM Rubric as an authority rather than individual preferences.

All reviewers, including UAF instructional designers, are trained in applying the Rubric, writing helpful recommendations, and considering the course from the learner’s point of view. The review process is an opportunity to work with professionals in your discipline and in online learning to think critically about how learners move through and work toward success in your course.

Learn more about the Higher Ed QM membership on the Quality Matters site.


Sign up for available training or meet with a UAF Quality Matters Coordinator (QMC) to learn more.

  1. Sign up for an account at  https://www.qualitymatters.org/
  2. Go to the “Register for Professional Development” page and filter by “Higher Education” to see all the  upcoming sessions  available. { Link requires log in. }
Program Reviews

UAA, UAF, and UAS are paid affiliates of Quality Matters. They provide training and a certification process for fully online and blended courses as well as Programs.

Quality Matters believes “everyone has a goal. Learners need to improve and grow. You nurture them with well-conceived, well-designed, well-presented courses and programs. Our goal — as a non-profit, quality assurance organization — is to provide a system to help you deliver on that promise: with review, improvement and certification of quality.”

Quality Matters (QM)  Program Reviews  include four types:

  • Program Design
  • Teaching Support
  • Learner Support
  • Learner Success
Considerations for Online Courses

Quality Matters is specifically for online and hybrid courses. If you are interested in a similar process that might apply to your face-to-face (or other) course, get in touch and we’ll help you find relevant resources.

We’ve developed a few guidelines to help you use iTeachU as part of implementing QM values in your course.

Start a Review

Quality Matters materials and professional development are available to UAF faculty and staff through our institutional membership. If you are interested in participating in performing a self-guided review, or taking part in an informal or formal review:

  • Contact us using our  form (UA sign-in required)
  • Create your free account at MyQM  where you will use their Course Review Management System for your review
    • Choose the type of review you want: self-guided or Quality Matters Managed
    • Request the review – You’ll receive an email when it is approved
    • Submit your Course Worksheet through the CRMS

The QM Managed review is how your course may be officially certified through Quality Matters. Learn more at QM’s page for Higher Ed QM Managed Official Reviews

Promoting Your Course
  • Confirm whether your course is listed with a QM badge on the  UAF  eCampus  courses page  for each semester.
  • Add your QM badge and language about the process inside of your course shell.
  • Consider working with your department to promote a list of courses or individual courses with QM certification.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - YouTube QM Videos

See the  full list of videos on YouTube  from QM.


Is it Time to Recertify?

A course needs recertification before the three or five-year time limit when more than 20% of any of the following have changed: course level objectives, module level objectives, assessments in the course, instructional materials, learning activities including assignments, tools used in the course. See the full flowchart  how a combination of items  could lead to a need for recertification.   Besides this flowchart  “there may be other times when re-certification is needed. If any of the conditions below lead to more than 20% changes to the course, the recertification requirement applies:

  • The institution has changed its learning management system where the course is hosted.
  • The textbook has been changed AND the course design was constructed around the textbook.
  • Any of the Alignment Standards are changed due to a textbook update or a new textbook.
  • Redesign of a course due to increasing or decreasing credit hours.
  • If the course has recently gone through a review process by a curriculum committee as a result of a regular course review cycle.”

Quality Matters. (n.d.). Recertification for QM-Certified Courses: Quality Matters.

Quality Matters: Further Resources

Janene McMahan

Janene McMahan, M.Ed., is an instructional designer, adjunct faculty, and Quality Matters coordinator for UAF.