Wednesday, March 9
2:45 PM-3:45 PM

Incorporating Quality Assurance Standards in Online Course Design: grades 6-12

Roundtable ID: 32143
  1. aaa
    Deb Adair
    The Quality Matters Program
  2. Stacey Rimmerman
    The Quality Matters Program

Abstract: This workshop will present the results of a joint effort by the Quality Matters Program and the Florida Virtual School to adapt the Quality Matters rubric for online/hybrid course design in higher education to meet the needs of middle and high school courses. The session will deal with the year-long development process, the results of extensive testing of the new rubric and the ways in which we anticipate that the Grades 6-12 Edition will be used. Application of the rubric using either a mock course or a course from the learners organization will be used in the quality assurance review process. The initial research base included, but was not limited to, iNACOL, NETS, 21st Century Skills, The Keeping Pace report and Florida State Standards. These models and benchmarks were used to evaluate the competencies, standards, reliability and validity of the instrument. Additional beta testing was completed using multiple reviewers and five courses from a variety of institutions. This system of research and analysis will also be evaluated.


Objectives: 1) Learners will understand the problem and importance of maintaining quality in online middle school and high school environments through the history and development processes emphasized in the creation of the rubric tool. Exploration of the courses used in the development process will be explored for training purposes and data triangulation. 2) Learners will have the opportunity to explore the Quality Matters course review process for middle and high school courses and learn how to apply the standards to their own organizational situations. Using the two-tiered review process and examination of mock courses in a hands-on approach to the standards review system. 3) Learners will evaluate the importance, and application associated with spreading awareness of this new tool in the 6-12 community, using sample designs. 4) Learners will be able to identify significant differences in the practices and regulation of distance learning in Middle and High School as compared to higher education that affect standards for good course design. Issues related specifically to 6-12 will be explored in a panel format. 5) Learners will have the opportunity to examine and evaluate preliminary findings regarding the current state of distance learning in Grades 6-12 and apply that knowledge, using the rubric, to their organizational needs. National standards, 21st Century Skills and iNACOL standards will be used to increase learner awareness. 6) Learners will have the opportunity to use the new 6-12 rubric by evaluating either a mock course, or a personal course they have designed, developed or are currently teaching. Consent forms will be provided if teachers or administrators would like to evaluate courses they need permission to use.

Topical Outline

The Quality Matters™ Program began as a FIPSE funded project awarded to MarylandOnline, a consortium of 19 Maryland community colleges and four-year institutions that collaborate in delivering online education. The goal was to develop a research-based set of standards (or rubric) for the design of online courses and a peer review, continuous improvement process for evaluating whether courses meet these standards. • These standards cover eight areas: • 1. Course Overview and Introduction • 2. Learning Objectives (Competencies) • 3. Assessment and Measurement • 4. Resources and Materials • 5. Learner Interaction • 6. Course Technology • 7. Learner Support • 8. Accessibility The standards stress consistency and alignment of the major components of the course, i.e., that the materials, assignments, interactions, assessments, and technology all are clearly linked to the stated learning objectives. A peer review system has been perfected in which courses are evaluated by teams of two instructional members, at least one of whom is from a different institution. The review team communicates directly with the course developer(s) and the goal is to assist instructors to improve their courses to meet these widely accepted standards of good practice, not to pass or fail individual courses or evaluate instructors. The development of the version of the rubric to address course design of middle and high school courses was launched in mid-2010. QM is now engaged in enrolling virtual schools, school districts, and local and state school boards. Another version of the rubric designed to evaluate publisher materials in currently in development. QM is also testing a broader rubric to evaluate overall program design. With its commitment to track current research on distance learning and the best practices advice of respected associations and accrediting bodies, QM is maintaining a schedule to revise its rubrics every two years. In this way, QM hopes to keep pace with this rapidly developing field and remain relevant in the years ahead.


The intended audience for this workshop includes 6-12 teachers, instructional designers, instructional/educational technologists, media specialists and administrators involved in the design, development and/or approval of 6-12 online courses. There are no prerequisite skills needed for this experience. All levels from novice to advanced will benefit from the training and rubric knowledge.

Experience Level



Lead Presenter Dr. Stacey Rimmerman-Professor and Online Quality Assurance Consultant Quality Matters & Capella University Dr. Stacey Rimmerman is currently a professor at Capella University and consultant at Quality Matters. In both roles she implements quality assurance in online education and leads research initiatives to improve education through the use of technology. She has taught and trained online courses for over ten years in a variety of areas focused on instructional design and quality assurance. Further past experience includes Research, Quality and Evaluation Manager for Florida Virtual School, Department Chair of Educational Technology at Grand Canyon University and Director of Multimedia at Pensacola State College. Her most current presentations and publications include quality assurance strategies for online course design and development at the Distance Teaching and Learning conference, Sloan Consortium, Quality Matters, iNACOL and Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education (I/ITSE). Additionally, she has served on review boards for The Florida Department of Education, The SLOAN Consortium, Quality Matters, AERA and USDLA. As the Director of Research and Quality Assurance for Florida Virtual School she was the impetus for the partnership in the research and development for the design of the 6-12 rubric.
No presider for this session.


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