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Quality Matters: Applying the QM Rubric (APPQMR)

As a Santa Fe College Faculty member, I became increasingly interested in effective course design and assessment. I enrolled in various Teaching and Learning Faculty Development trainings at the Santa Fe College Center for Academic Technologies and embarked on a journey of professional development to best serve my students. I connected with the Instructional Designers and enrolled in various workshops regarding effective syllabus writing, course development, rubric design, constructing student learning outcomes, utilizing gamification and technology in the classroom, as well enrolling in the Quality Matters (APPQMR) Applying the Quality Matters Rubric certification program. I completed this certification while teaching in the Student Development and Leadership (SDL) department; a student-centered, academic department that is dedicated to holistic student development. At SDL, we delivered high-quality, evidence-based curriculum and practices dedicated to student success. As a faculty member in SDL, my aim was to provide quality instruction for my students at Santa Fe College in the areas of College Success (SLS1101) and Life and Career Development (SLS1301) and empower my students in the areas of academic accomplishment, informed life and career choices, the development of leadership skills, and a greater sense of self-awareness in their college journey. ​

Within this course, I gained the skills to assess the quality of a course to best serve my students. I learned the underlying principles behind the QM Rubric and the critical elements of the QM quality assurance process. During the live, face-to-face workshops, I learned about drafting helpful recommendations as I apply the Rubric to an actual course. I found this course extremely helpful, as it outlines a quality assurance process for online and blended learning, applying the concept of course alignment, and how to prepare helpful recommendations for course improvement. Since this is QM's flagship workshop on the QM Rubric and reviewing the design of online and blended courses, I was very happy to take part. I highly recommend this course to fellow faculty members, as it is intended for faculty, instructional designers, administrators, and adjunct instructors.

I completed the APPQMR as the prerequisite for the Peer Reviewer Course, which is the required course to become a QM Peer Reviewer. In this course I learned how to understand the QM Rubric and course review process and how to recognize the foundational concepts of Quality Matters. I also learned how to identify the critical elements of the QM quality assurance program, including the QM Rubric, materials, processes, and administrative components. In a group format, we participated in an active-learning experience, where we individually applied the QM Rubric to review online courses and made decisions on whether the demo course met selected QM Rubric Standards. These activities were extremely helpful, as we had the opportunity to apply the concept of alignment and draft helpful recommendations for course improvement by citing annotations from the QM Rubric and evidence from the course. Overall, I highly recommend this certificate for those who desire to apply the QM Rubric to review courses within Higher Education and determine if a course meets QM Rubric Standards. I learned about the QM Rubric concept of Alignment, which means when critical course components work together to ensure students achieve desired learning outcomes. The eight General Standards of the Rubric are:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction

  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)

  3. Assessment and Measurement

  4. Instructional Materials

  5. Learning Activities and Learner Interaction

  6. Course Technology

  7. Learner Support

  8. Accessibility and Usability

Since quality assurance begins with a solid set of standards, the QM Rubrics and Standards guide faculty members through the development, evaluation, and improvement of college courses. The QM Rubric is based on new findings in ongoing literature reviews to ensure each Rubric is supported by research. I am very happy I completed this certification and I feel much more prepared to implement best practices for course evaluation. In turn, I am excited to use this knowledge to increase student engagement, learning, and student satisfaction within my college courses.

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