Applying the Quality Matters Rubric Workshop 2021

Applying the Quality Matters rubric workshop

What we learned in Spring 2021

By: Iwona Gniadek, Instructional Designer – Manitoba Flexible Learning HUB

In this post we will share what we learned during the most recent offering, Spring 2021, of the Quality Matters’ Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop (APPQMR).

From May 10 to June 1, 2021, the Manitoba Flexible Learning HUB delivered the second offering of the APPQMR workshop. The workshop is offered to participants from all seven post-secondary institutional partners in Manitoba including University of Manitoba, Red River College, Assiniboine Community College, Brandon University, University College of the North and University of Winnipeg. These institutions are members of the Quality Matters’ (QM) System Subscription funded through the HUB.

Participants, who included instructors, learning technologists, and instructional designers, were introduced to the concept of alignment in online courses as well as drafting helpful design recommendations for overall course improvement using the Quality Matters’ standards for designing online courses.

I would recommend the APPQMR workshop to faculty who want to ensure that they are providing their students with a quality online learning experience.”

Mary-Ann Updike, University of Manitoba

Workshop schedule

The APPQMR workshop followed a specific schedule as per QM guidelines. This schedule saw ten assignments distributed across three weeks, with firm due dates to submit Modules 1-5 by Day 9 of the workshop, and to complete all course work by Day 23. At the end of the workshop, participants retained access to the materials for additional seven days. Upon completion of the evaluation survey, participants were able to print their certificates of completion directly from the QM website as well as receive a digital badge, which can be added to a LinkedIn profile and shared via social media.

How to structure a course – Rubric

The APPQMR workshop models the quality standards provided in the QM’s Higher Education Rubric. Participants appreciated being able to see how to structure a course site to provide clear navigation and a meaningful learning experience. All this is rooted in course elements that work together to help learners achieve the course learning outcomes.

“This workshop was incredibly worthwhile to take, and I highly recommend it to instructors and instructional designers. Quality is the backbone of our courses and it’s important that we don’t overlook all the individual components that contribute to course quality. The workshop has done a fantastic job of familiarizing me with the QM Rubric as well as the review process and has, of course, modeled everything that is set out in the rubric.”

Harmeet Grewal, Red River College

For those interested in quality assurance of online courses, the APPQMR workshop offers a quality assurance tool – QM Rubric – that can be employed by institutions:

“This is a great workshop – very beneficial to understanding how online course quality standards can be assessed fairly and thoroughly via the QM process.”

Chris Bell, Assiniboine Community College

The APPQMR workshop, as well as the QM Higher Education Rubric, put the learner at the forefront of the course design process. Participants were continually asked to place themselves in the learner’s shoes while reviewing a demonstration course site from that perspective. The value in this was reflected in this participant’s words:

“This workshop definitely shines a light from the learner perspective, and I found this perspective most helpful.”

Maureen Dowan, Assiniboine Community College

Course design skills gained

Participants commented on gaining new skills in course design and found the learning immediately applicable to the courses they teach at their institutions.

“The APPQMR workshop definitely increased my knowledge of the QM standards. I appreciated the opportunities to apply the standards to a real online course and to discuss the process with classmates. As I am currently re-developing an online course, I find it impossible not to consider the QM standards.”

May-Ann Updike, University of Manitoba

“I found this helpful in terms of increasing my own skills and knowledge for course design and I’m looking forward to applying this to ongoing course development and revisions.”

Carla Gibson, Assiniboine Community College

We listened and acted

During the previous session that occurred in Fall 2020, participants suggested that the APPQMR workshop be extended from two weeks to three. This extension helped improve our participants’ overall learning experience in Spring 2021 and resulted in seven successful completions, as compared to three completions in the previous offering. However, some challenges persist and are linked to the QM-established time estimates of assignments.

One participant shared this helpful advice for future APPQMR participants:

“… [R]ead the annotations and examples in the QM Rubric very carefully and use those primarily when looking for evidence in the course. This will make your reviews more objective, concise and will potentially save you time in completing the assignments for this course. Read the feedback for each assignment, even if you are not required to revise an assignment. The feedback will make you a better course designer/reviewer. Be prepared to spend more than two hours per module, as the course progresses.”

Snehil Dua, University of Manitoba

Goal is helping future participants

In future workshops, we will look at offering a synchronous welcome session where we will be able to verbally clarify the expectations and assignment instructions based on the helpful tips offered by previous participants.

Successful graduates

We would like to thank all participants for taking the time out of their already busy schedules to participate in the workshop. We also want to wholeheartedly congratulate seven participants who completed the workshop successfully. Well-done!

  • Chris Bell, Assiniboine Community College
  • Maureen Dowan, Assiniboine Community College
  • Snehil Dua, University of Manitoba
  • Carla Gibson, Assiniboine Community College
  • Harmeet Grewal, Red River College
  • Caitlin Munn, Assiniboine Community College
  • May-Ann Updike, University of Manitoba

We look forward to facilitating APPQMR with future cohorts.

If you need more information about this workshop, please email Wendy Smiley, Program Coordinator, University of Manitoba.

Did you miss out on the Fall 2020 article of the APPQMR workshop? Click here to read Applying the Quality Matters Rubric Workshop.