Common Myths about Quality Matters (QM) Course Reviews

February 20, 2024

Myth #1 : Course reviews evaluate teaching.

QM course reviews are focused on course design, with the goal of ensuring learners have what they need to be successful in an online format. There is no evaluation of your pedagogy as the instructor, and it’s understood that YOU are the subject matter expert! The process is intended to be collegial and collaborative. The findings are never a judgment and always diagnostic, serving as a means to improve the learning experience for students (as well as your teaching experience!).

Myth #2: To be certified, a course must be perfect.

It doesn’t! The review process is based on a continuous improvement model, and in order to meet QM Standards the following must be true:

  • All Essential (3-point) Standards are met. 
  • For internal reviews, the course earns 87/102 points.

If your course does not yet meet Standards in the initial review, Clemson Online is there to support you during the amendments phase! The goal is that all submitted courses will eventually meet QM Standards. 

Myth #3: Reviews are based on personal preferences.

The QM Rubric is based on national standards of best practices, research, and instructional design principles. Review outcomes are “based on collaboratively identified evidence found in the course rather than the personal preference of an individual reviewer” (Quality Matters). The reviewers are Certified Peer Reviewers and experienced online instructors who are trained in the use of the QM Rubric. Suggestions for improvement are just that. There are many ways to meet each Standard. Learn more about QM’s research at Quality Matters/Research.

The QM Rubric consists of 8 General Standards. Here’s an overview:

  1. The Course Overview and Introduction: Addresses many of the items that are typically covered during the first day of class in an on-site course — things like minimum requirements, policies, how to find one’s way around the course, and introductions. 
  2. Learning Objectives: This Standard determines if the learning objectives are measurable, specific, written from the learner’s perspective, and appropriate for the level of the course. 
  3. Assessment and Measurement: Ensures the assessments measure the learning objectives and examines clarity around the grading policy and rubrics. 
  4. Instructional Materials: Addresses whether the provided materials support the learning objectives, as well as assessing the variety of instructional materials in terms of type and representation. 
  5. Learning Activities and Learner Interaction: Determines if the learning activities support the learning objectives and active learning and reviews the instructor’s plan for interaction.  
  6. Course Technology: Examines how the course tools and technologies support the learning objectives and promote active learning and learner engagement. 
  7. Learner Support: Looks for different types of support linked in the course, such as technical, accessibility, academic, and other support resources. 
  8. Accessibility and Usability: Examines whether the course navigation and course features provide a usable learning experience, as well as alternative formats to meet the needs of diverse learners.

To learn more about QM Course Reviews at Clemson, check out our recent presentation, or contact

Get Ready for Summer 2024

Do you plan to teach this summer? Clemson Online is proud to announce this year’s Summer teaching initiative. We have timely opportunities for instructors to gain experience in online course creation, teaching with Canvas, and the Quality Matters course improvement process.

Upcoming Events

Interactive Learning and AI

Wednesday, February 21st, 1:30-2:30 PM

Join this training to learn more about AI and interactive learning in your course! This training will cover several pedagogical approaches to AI tools, including ChatGPT. 

Facilitated by Millie Tullis, Digital Learning Strategist.

Registration: Interactive Learning and AI.
Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.

Quick Hits: Canvas Basics

Thursday, March 7th, 3:30-4:00 PM

Join this training to learn more about Canvas fundamentals! Whether you have a specific question or want a Canvas tool demonstrated, this training opportunity is your time to work with one of our Learning Technology Specialists. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both. 

Facilitated by our Learning Tech Team.

Registration: Quick Hits: Canvas Basics.
Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.

Clemson Online Spring 2024 Events Calendar

Review our Spring 2024 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on group assignments in online courses, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact Millie Tullis with any questions regarding these sessions.

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