— Todd Conaway (@Todd_Conaway) September 26, 2014
Last week we had 18 faculty in a seven hour workshop about Quality Matters. The title of the workshop was “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric.” It is described by QM as,
“The Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) workshop is QM’s flagship workshop on the QM Rubric and the process of using the QM Rubric to review online courses. It is intended for a broad audience, including but not limited to faculty, instructional designers, administrators, and adjunct instructors who wish to understand more about the QM Rubric and process of course review.”
What excites me the most about Quality Matters is not so much the rubric itself, but the peer reviewing process that is part of the implementation of course reviews. While all the faculty who go through the Applying the Rubric workshop have access to an online self–review tool from QM, there is also a peer review process that can be done at the local college level or by having qualified faculty from other QM institutions review a course and get a course “QM Certified.”
Either way, I am excited to get some of our faculty involved in an organized process of peer reviewing courses. I have been part of the “Blackboard Exemplary Course” process over the last few years and it is always really a great learning experience for me. I see course from other institutions and can see how they are organized and designed. I can see the different tools used and how the faculty see the delivery process of the class. And Blackboard has its own rubric.
In fact, it was the Exemplary Course program from Blackboard where we first got the idea for our “Faculty Course Tours” on the Webletter. While the tours are not a peer review process, at least you can peer into a colleague’s course and see how they describe what they do. I think that is important. Particularly important in the online environment where faculty do not often see what others are doing well. Maybe you can do a course tour of your awesome class and send it to me! Here is our awesome Jason Whitesitt’s contribution.
At the QM workshop, it was great to see that many faculty wondering about improving courses in a systematic way. It is not as if we do not have pretty good participation at our summer and winter institutes, but it is not often that 18 faculty spend a whole day on a topic regarding online teaching. We will be doing the workshop again. Hopefully, within a few months.
I think it is important that we take this opportunity with QM and really leverage the interest in it. I hope that when the workshops are offered they are mostly full and that some faculty continue on with other QM workshops that allow them to become certified reviewers. I hope that the division deans take the workshop so they can be better informed when looking at faculty courses and making informed decisions about them. I hope our upper management take the workshop so they can better understand the challenges and intricacies of teaching online. I hope that the QM rubric and the peer review process become part of the teaching culture here at Yavapai. I think we can learn much and make some good strides in improving our courses.