Quality Matters Course Design Certification Process

Quality Matters Help

What is Quality Matters?

Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. Sponsored by MarylandOnline, Inc, Quality Matters has generated widespread interest and received national recognition for its peer review-based, research-based approach to quality assurance and continuous improvement in online education. Please refer to the section “Quality Matters Course Design Certification Benefits” below to learn more about the benefits of QM to faculty as well as to UTPB.

What is a Quality Matters Course Design Certification?

Official Review of a course is the best way to benchmark design efforts and improvements. And, it’s the only way to certify course quality for everyone to see — with the QM Certification Mark. A course becomes QM-Certified once it meets QM Rubric Standards at the 85% threshold or better and meets all Essential Specific Review Standards.

A QM Certification lasts up to 5 years for higher education, after which it will need to be recertified.

What are the Pre-requisites for Quality Matters Course Certification at UTPB?

Faculty interested in undergoing the QM Course Certification must follow UTPB’s three-step process.


  1. Successfully complete GreenBelt Training available through the FalconOnline, office (contact Rekedda Williams.

  2. Complete a Quality Review on the course you wish to submit for QM Certification. Quality Reviews are required for everybody teaching a distance education course (e.g., a remote course, a hybrid course or an online course).

  3. Develop and teach an online or hybrid course twice before you pursue a Quality Matters Course Design Certification.

  4. Complete the QM Course Design Interest Form

NOTE: Those who complete Quality Matters Course Design Certification, will be required to serve as a peer reviewer for university Quality Reviews or Unofficial Course Design Reviews should we need your expertise.

Additionally, as a peer reviewer, you will need to successfully complete the following certifications offered by Quality Matters: (1) Applying the Quality Matters Rubric and (2) Peer Reviewer. For additional information, contact the UTPB Quality Matters Coordinator, Melissa Coulter @ (432) 552-2873 or email @ coulter_m@utpb.edu for more information on becoming a peer reviewer.

Three-Step Process for Pursuing QM Course Design Certification 

Step One | Conduct a Self-Assessment Readiness

Quality Matters offers a Hybrid(Blended)/Online Course Readiness Self-assessment Tool that provides faculty (Course Representative) with a checklist of specific elements to ensure quality in the design of hybrid(blended)/online courses. This could be done in one day.

You should schedule a consultation with your instructional designer to discuss the expectations outlined in the checklist and develop a roadmap to successfully meet the expectations. Instructional designers are assigned to faculty based on their area of specialty. Meet and Schedule a Consultation to discuss the self-assessment readiness with your instructional designer. This checklist is seen, used and retained by the instructor only. It evaluates only the design of the course and not the course content.

Quality Matters provides a web based self-review system to do a thorough self-assessment:

  1. Access My QM Program
  2. Select “Need an Account” to create a MY QM account.
  3. Once you complete step two, you will receive an email confirming the creation of your My QM account.
  4. Send an email to your QM Coordinator as a notification that your account has been created.
  5. Follow the instructions, login to My QM. Your username is your email address.
  6. Once you log in, select the Higher Education tab at the top of the page.

Step Two | Informal Course Review with Your Instructional Designer 

After you complete the Online Course Readiness Self-assessment process, you are ready for the Informal Course Review with your instructional designer. The purpose of the informal course review is to identify any gaps in course design that exist in your course that would prevent you from receiving a Quality Matters Course Design Certification and find solutions to shrink those gaps.

Informal course reviews are completed on existing online or hybrid courses. The proposed course should meet the following criteria:

  • The method of instructional delivery is 100% online or a hybrid course in the PeopleSoft registration system.
  • The course has been taught online at least twice. The informal course review process may take up to 4 weeks to complete.

Step Three | Submit Course for Quality Matters Course Design Certification

Once a course is reviewed through an informal peer review, the faculty developer/course representative and instructional designer will contact our University QM Coordinator to discuss options for a formal peer review through Quality Matters™ subscriber managed review process. Formal reviews are designed for mature courses that have been taught at least twice previously and/or for courses that are fully developed online (including blended formats) such that reviewers can see all evaluated components.

This process will follow a QM peer review prescribed process and will involve a team of three certified reviewers (Master Reviewer, Peer Reviewer, and Subject Matter Expert) to provide feedback and evaluation of the course within the framework of the Quality Matters™ Rubric. Courses meeting the rubric standards at a level of 85% or higher, receive QM recognition and certification.

  1. Contact your UTPB QM Coordinator to outline expectations of what to expect.
  2. Just prior to the review begin date, you will be asked to fill out a Course Worksheet available within the MyQM site. This is where you tell the reviewers certain things about your course, such as listing the course objectives, describing where certain policies can be found, information about your learning materials, etc. There is a sample course worksheet on the “MyQM” site:
    1. Sign into MyQM
    2. Click the Higher Education tab (at top)
    3. Click the Course Review Management System tab (at top)
    4. Select the Work on your Course Worksheet link.
    5. Reference Only: Sample Course Worksheets are available for your use.
  3. When the formal Review Team Chair contacts you about your availability for a Pre-Review conference, you will need to provide that information. They will contact the team about the best date and time for a Pre-Review conference and it will be scheduled and held. Most Pre-Review conferences take about 25-30 minutes and can be held via phone or through Zoom, a web conferencing system, etc. The UTPB QM Coordinator and your instructional designer may be present on this call as well.
  4. The review is conducted and you make yourself available for answering questions during the review period. The review period is usually 3 or 4 weeks long.
  5. A mandatory post-review conference is held among the Review team – Faculty/Course Representatives do not participate in the post-review.
  6. The review is completed with results and a full report. Both the Faculty/Course Representative and the UTPB QM Coordinator will receive a copy of the report. QM sends a post-review survey that the Course Representative will need to fill out. If your course does not initially meet QM Rubric Standards, you will be able to submit an amended course with the reviewer-suggested updates during the 14 week amendment phase. Your course amendments must be submitted within this 14 week period.
  7. Upon successful completion of this process the QM logo goes next to your course on the schedule page (with a legend explaining what it means). You are also added to the University of Texas Permian Basin QM web page where we celebrate successful national QM Course Design Certifications, and Quality Matters adds your course to their list of QM Certified courses on their website. You are free to use the QM logo to promote your course in any way you wish during its certification time frame while following the QM Policies Governing use of the QM Certification Mark. Each semester the QM Coordinator also report a list of successful QM Course Design Certifications to our University Executive Cabinet. A QM Certification lasts up to 5 years for higher education, after which it will need to be recertified.

Quality Matters Points of Contact:

Melissa Brumley (432) 552-2874 or email at brumley_m@utpb.edu 

Jessica Saenz (432) 552-2873 or email at saenz_j@utpb.edu 

Benefits to the University and Faculty

Quality Matters Course Design Certification Benefits for Faculty

UT Permian Basin Faculty will benefit greatly from implementing Quality Matters in the following ways:

  • Improved student learning outcomes and retention
  • Adoption of a systematic and comprehensive continuous quality assurance process that includes faculty training, course development, and course revisions that are aligned with accreditation standards
  • Incorporation of new technologies and research findings
  • Opportunity to engage in benchmarking activities with peer institutions
  • Ongoing faculty professional development
  • Increased flexibility, creativity, and divergent thinking
  • Increased efficiency in using institutional resources
  • National recognition in course design.
  • QM certification is a portable designation that you can add to your CV and bring along with you wherever you go at any stage in your career. The certification illustrates your commitment towards excellence in online education.
  • Having more QM-certified courses at UTPB will help elevate the status of your program at UTPB.

Quality Matters Course Design Certification Benefits for the University

Those who complete Quality Matters Course Design Certification, will be required to serve as a peer reviewer for university Quality Reviews or Unofficial Course Design Reviews should we need your expertise.

Quality Matters Certified Courses 

The Quality Matters Course Design Certification is the internationally recognized credential of online and hybrid course design quality and represents faculty’s ongoing commitment to creating learning environments that provide learners with a clear pathway to success.

  • Dr. Rebecca Babcock's hybrid course in Research in Writing Studies earned the Quality Matters (QM) Course Design Certification.
  • Dr. Mario Kiran hybrid course in Digital and Lens Technology earned the Quality Matters Course Design Certification.
  • Lecturer Amy Kim online course in Art Appreciation earned the Quality Matters Course Design Certification.