Tag: quality matters

A Few Big Changes, Lots of Little Ones: Updates to the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric

Introduction In the summer of 2018, Quality Matters (QM) released the Sixth Edition of the Higher Education Rubric along with a Rubric Update course to help reviewers brush up on the changes. For the Distance Learning team in the School of Professional Studies, that’s a big deal. We use the QM rubric, a research-based set of standards for quality in online courses, to guide the design of new classes and help revise existing ones. At the end of each development cycle, all courses are reviewed by peer Learning Designers on our team as a way to provide feedback and ensure


Reimagining the 5 W’s: Online Course Quality and Alignment

  Introduction At Northwestern, we ascribe to extremely high educational quality standards, and this of course extends to the online courses and programs we design, implement, and maintain for graduate and undergraduate adult learners. But, what does a quality online course look like? How do we define and measure quality? Those are both tough questions that we regularly ask ourselves as we design and develop online courses. To answer these questions, let’s consider them through the lens of the Quality Matters (QM) standards. Quality Matters Standards and Alignment The Northwestern University Distance Learning department uses the QM Standards to ensure


Reflecting on Fall 2016 Distance Learning Conferences

Introduction Last spring, I submitted a flurry of applications for Fall 2016 distance teaching and learning conferences, with the idea that maybe one of them would be accepted. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I would be juggling no fewer than 5 presentations along with Winter 2017 development! Although the Distance Learning staff regularly present and attend events like these, it’s tough to find the time to debrief the team–and faculty–after each of them. If you’re thinking of participating in a conference next fall, here is quick rundown of the strengths of each event along with descriptions of my


Creating Effective Assessments: A Case Study

One of the hallmarks of a quality online course is alignment among learning objectives, instructional materials, and assessments to ensure critical course components work together so learners can achieve desired learning outcomes. This post illustrates how alignment drives the development and implementation of effective assessments. Assessment is the method we use to gather data about students in order to evaluate, measure, and document thier learning progress, such as exams, papers, and discussions. Let’s dive deeper into alignment and creating effective assessments by examining course- and module-level learning objectives and a potential assessment strategy for one of our SPS online courses.


10 Great Ways to Annotate Resources

Introduction Many online classes provide resources as a weekly, no-nonsense bibliography, a chain of citations. It is an efficient, time-tested way of presenting resources, and there is some benefit to letting students forge their own reading path through them. But it can also be intimidating. As a student, how do I know which are the longest? The densest? The most relevant to my research interests? Available in multiple formats? In an on-ground class, it is common lecture practice to contextualize the week’s readings. Most professors are familiar with phrases like, “Next week, we’ll be reading a dense work of theory.