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Quality Matters Releases 7th Edition Rubric

Focus on accessibility, inclusive design, faculty engagement

After extensive peer feedback from a global community of faculty and instructional designers, the Seventh Edition of the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric was released earlier this summer, bringing fresh improvements and innovations to the existing Standards for quality in online and hybrid course design.

Quality Matters will host an interactive online webinar on November 1st to review the major changes and answer questions about how to apply the new Specific Review Standards to improve online and hybrid quality. Any UMBC faculty and staff can attend this free event.

All UMBC faculty and staff who have completed the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) should register for the self-paced Rubric Update to learn more about the Seventh Edition and update their APPQMR certification. This workshop is free to take through January 5, 2024. After January 5, there will be a $50 fee to complete the rubric update.

Key Changes 

  • Blended courses are now referred to as hybrid courses
  • Special instructions related to Continuing Education Courses were added where appropriate
  • "Learning objectives" is now used throughout the Rubric and "competencies" has been removed
  • The Rubric clarifies that activities allow learners to practice in preparation for assessments, while the assessments measure the learning objectives  
  • More emphasis was placed on creating welcoming and inclusive courses

Accessibility and Usability

  • The Rubric provides new examples of strategies to make a course easy to navigate, as well as examples of readability that address presentation and content
  • Key components of accessibility are now separated into their own Specific Review Standards (i.e., text accessibility, image accessibility, and audio and video accessibility)
  • Revisions also clarify that "multimedia in the course is easy to use" (e.g., easy to view, operate, and interpret) 

Inclusive Design

  • Two new types of instructional materials were added, 1) different perspectives, and 2) different representationsthat address inclusivity
  • Special instructions for hybrid courses, synchronous courses, and continuing education courses were added to recognize different types of interactions that can be culturally impactful (diversity) while focusing on creating community

Regular and Substantive Interaction  

  • Revised language now clarifies that the "instructor's plan for regular interaction with learners in substantive ways during the course is clearly stated"
  • Examples of regular interaction and substantive interaction were added: for example, interactions designed for hybrid courses that address both the online and face-to-face components, and artifacts in the learning management system for synchronous courses (i.e., captioned recording, lecture notes, discussion summaries)

About Quality Matters at UMBC

A total of 18 faculty have earned Quality Matters certification of their online or hybrid courses following rigorous peer reviews as part of the Quality Matters Impact (QMI) program. To date, more than half of the QM-certified courses in the University System of Maryland are from UMBC.

For more information about Quality Matters at UMBC, including course reviews, please contact Dr. Susan Biro (sbiro@umbc.edu). 

Posted: October 31, 2023, 9:14 AM