The Quality Matters Program has been setting quality assurance standards for college/adult level online courses for some time, but has branched into K-12 online education. Per the QM website, “Built on research literature and published best practices, the award-winning Quality Matters Program provides a process to ensure quality in online courses through the use of The Grades 6-12 Rubric, course reviews and professional development opportunities for teachers and instructional designers.” http://www.qmprogram.org/grades-6-12
I took a few courses to become a QM peer reviewer and learned a great deal – and now have a number of changes I want to make in my own courses this summer. QM focuses on course design – including communications, learning objectives, assessment, instructional materials, interaction between teacher-student/ student-student/ student-course materials, and accessibility. The QM standards are concrete and measurable, which is helpful when trying to see if your course meets the standards. Perhaps even more important, the standards are based on research and best practices, rather than plucked out of the air, so they are worth following.
The web-based G6-12 Rubric can be used for both blended/hybrid and fully online courses. Evaluating your own course using these standards is possible (see Improving Your Online course http://www.qmprogram.org/k-12-professional-development-and-trainings ), or your institution can be a QM member.
The review process is rigorous and thorough – and reminded me of an accreditation review. If you’ve ever served on an accreditation team or had your institution reviewed for accreditation, you know how useful such a review process can be.
Definitely a resource to look into.