hile there are many rubrics out their for assessing the quality of online courses in terms of their ability to deliver quality instruction and content, Quality Matters is the one that The George Washington University has selected to subscribe to, or at least emulate. In some of the programmes run by the College of Professional Studies, course content is changing on a semester-by-semester or year-by-year basis. For example, in the MPS Homeland Security, Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Systems, and the Bachelor’s Completion Program in Police and Security Studies, courses change rapidly as law enforcement and national intelligence policies and protocols change. This would make it almost impossible to go through full QM certification.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of applying the QM rubric is its focus on alignment and the ultimate straightener: Learning Outcomes. Admittedly, this is a little bit of soap box of mine, but I think that it tracks through when one is using well-constructed Learning Outcomes.
My favourite method of creating Learning Outcomes is to follow a simple formula:
The successful student will
The course design documents that I use with faculty echoes this by focusing on alignment in all aspects for online course design, be they readings, lecture content, or assignments. Ultimately, the goal is to empower the student to succeed, hence my favouritism for “learning outcomes” rather than “learning objectives.”
May we never see “understand” as the action verb on a Learning Outcome again.