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SpartanQM - Online/Blended Course Peer-Review Process

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PEDAGOGICAL DESIGN

SpartanQM - Online/Blended Course Peer-Review Process


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Author :
Dave Goodrich

Introduction

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. MSU purchased a campus subscription to the QM Rubric to assist faculty and instructors in creating quality courses that will improve online education and student learning. The initial pilot of using the rubric to inform course design started as an MSU partnership between the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science, College of Arts & Letters, and MSU Information Technology. Currently, MSU maintains its full subscription status on a yearly basis which provides access to the fully annotated QM Rubric and the QM Course Review Management System (CRMS). Additionally, MSU IT Academic Technology consults with faculty and instructors on applying QM standards to their courses and developing new approaches in online and blended learning.

The MSU QM Course Review Process is a faculty-driven, peer review process that emphasizes continuous quality improvement. The QM reviewers experience and review a course from a student perspective and provide feedback based on the Quality Matters Standards. See IT Instructional Technology & Development for information about course development and see IT’s Academic Technology Service Catalog to learn more about QM at MSU. 

Our course review process consists of three parts: 

  1. a self-review done by you to get familiar with the course review process on the MyQM system. 
  2. an internal review by a peer-reviewer to provide initial feedback on the course design. 
  3. after any necessary changes are made and the course has run, a copy of the course can undergo an official review conducted by a team of three QM Reviewers (Master Reviewer, Subject Matter Expert and one additional Reviewer) resulting in Quality Matters Certification [cost $1,000].

Whole programs can also be QM certified whose courses have been peer-reviewed. Information on QM program certification can be found on QM’s website

Getting Started

Anyone at MSU can create an account through the Quality Matters website by using their msu.edu email address.

Quality Matters provides a fully annotated course standards rubric, different types of course reviews including a self-review, and discounted QM professional development through its website and MSU’s subscription.

Some of the Quality Matters resources involve added costs and official course reviews require MSU consultation first.

Course Rubric

The QM Rubric is a research-based peer review process that is widely adopted in higher education as a measure of online course quality. It offers weighted best practices in online instruction to improve course quality.

Visit the QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition to download the rubric.

The rubric is helpful as a tool to consider what elements may be missing from an online or blended course or to generate suggestions for new features.

Self-Review First

Faculty and staff can use the fully annotated, self review materials, within the MyQM CRMS (Course Review Management System). Annotations explaining each standard in greater detail can be accessed within the Self Review tool after logging in to the QM site.

This unofficial self review is a way to become more familiar with QM standards or assess a course prior to an internal or official review. You can also do pre- and post- assessments of your courses to keep a record of improvements, and a private report can be emailed once completed.

What to expect in a peer-review?

The internal and official review are almost identical. Both generally consist of the following steps:

  • Pre-Review Discussion

Team chair (Lead Reviewer in an internal review) contacts review members and faculty member to set up a conference call or face-to-face meeting at the beginning of the review. The purpose of the conference call/meeting is to discuss the instructor worksheet, ensure that all members have access to the course, establish the team review timeline, and answer any questions from team members before the review begins.

  • Review Phase

The review begins. Each team member logs into the QM Rubric website and uses the online rubric tool to record their observations about the course. Remember that you are reviewing the course from the student’s perspective. If you have questions during the review, don’t hesitate to contact your team chair.

  • Post-Review Discussion

Upon completion of the review, the team chair will call for the final conference. This conference will be among the review team members to discuss any discrepancies in the review and to ensure that recommendations are helpful and effective.  All individual reviews will be submitted after this meeting to compile the final report.

  • Post Review – Revise Course (as needed)

The team chair will submit the final review to the Campus QM Coordinator through the online QM tool. The review findings will be shared with the course instructor who then has an opportunity to respond to the review (using the course Amendment Form in the QM site). If the course does not yet meet standards, the faculty course developer/instructor works to bring the course to standards (with the assistance of an instructional designer, if desired). The review team chair then reviews the changes and determines whether or not the changes move the course to QM standards. In an internal review, revisions are made before submitting for an official review.

Steps for Internal Review

It is good practice to complete a self-review of your course before submitting for internal or official review. This is an optional step and only you see the self-review responses. For a self-review, log into the CRMS (Course Review Management System) on the QM website and use the Self Review tool to conduct a review of your own course.

When you are ready to submit a course for internal review:

  1. Sign up for a SpartanQM Online/Blended Course Peer-Review and wait for an email response. 
  2. Make a copy of your course to be reviewed.
  3. Log in to MyQM at http://www.qmprogram.org/MyQM (Your login name is your email address on file with QM. If you do not have your login info choose "Forgot Username" or "Forgot Password")
  4. Log in to the Course Review Management System (CRMS) and select “Start a Review Application” on the main screen.
    • Select Michigan State University.
    • Select David Goodrich as the QM Coordinator.
    • Select yourself as the Course Representative.
    • Select Internal Review as the review type.
    • Scroll down and enter course information. Select Submit Application. You will receive an email that will prompt you to complete the worksheet once it is approved.
  5. Log in to the Course Review Management System (CRMS) to complete the Course Worksheet.
  6. Select My Course Reviews: Open Course Reviews
    • Here you will choose the "View" next to the applicable course number. 
    • The Actions section allows you to view, edit and then submit the Course Worksheet. Select edit to input your course information. 
    • When finished, click “Submit Complete Worksheet.”
  7. Your course will automatically be assigned to a Lead Reviewer who will contact you regarding the course review.
  8. After your review, you may make any necessary changes to your QM Review course as a result of the internal review.
  9. This review is an unofficial course review that provides feedback on meeting the QM Standards before submitting for QM recognition.

Steps for Official Review

When the course is ready for the official review:

  1. Sign up for a SpartanQM Online/Blended Course Peer-Review and wait for an email response. 
  2. Faculty will use the updated copy of the course that was used in the internal review. 
  3. Log in to MyQM at http://www.qmprogram.org/MyQM (Your login name is your email address on file with QM. If you do not have your login info choose "Forgot Username" or "Forgot Password")
  4. Log in to the Course Review Management System (CRMS) and select “Start a Review Application” on the main screen.
    • Select Michigan State University.
    • Select David Goodrich as the QM Coordinator.
    • Select yourself as the Course Representative.
    • Select QM-Managed Review as the review type. 
    • Scroll down and enter course information. Select Submit Application. You will receive an email that will prompt you to complete the Course Worksheet once it is approved.
  5. Log in to the Course Review Management System (CRMS) to complete the Course Worksheet.
  6. Select My Course Reviews, Open Course Reviews. 
    • Here you will choose the "View" next to the applicable course number.
    • The Actions section allows you to view, edit and then submit the Course Worksheet. Select edit to input your course information.
    • If you completed an internal review inside the CRMS, you can copy your internal review worksheet.
  7. MSU staff will add the QM review team to the QM Review Course. This can take up to two weeks.
  8. The Course Representative (faculty course developer/instructor) meets virtually or by phone with the QM review team for a pre-review meeting.
  9. A QM Review is scheduled for a 4-6 week review period, which includes approximately 3 weeks of actual review time in addition to pre- and post-review conference calls.
  10. The QM Team Chair will submit the final report which will be sent to the Course Representative.
  11. Once the standards are met, Quality Matters recognition is provided to the Course Representative and the course is listed in the QM Recognized Courses registry.

Recertification Review

Certified courses are reviewed and re-certified after five years.

Resource Links

  1. QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition
  2. QM at MSU Community: Faculty and staff at MSU can join this D2L Community site to learn more about the QM Rubric, discounted professional development, and course examples for meeting standards.
  3. Quality Matters website: Create an account using your msu.edu email and access the self-review tools on the MyQM site.