The College of Education and a handful of courses across the university have been using Quality Matters as a guiding framework for the implementation of online learning. QM is a research-based, widely-recognized and implemented standard for fully remote learning. The COE is currently in the “Ad Hoc” phase of QM, which is described on their website as familiarizing the institution with the framework and beginning conversations about what using QM will look like. Next is the “Quality Assurance” phase of QM wherein we begin the internal review of courses and make adjustments to ensure that courses are accessible and engaging. More detail can be found here about the various stages of QM implementation, the QM rubric for Higher Education, and the 85% threshold for a mature course to become QM certified.  

As noted above - Quality Matters is only one slice of the PIE.  It does NOT address Course Delivery, Content, Learning Management System, and other factors that affect the quality of an online course.

QM Rubrics addresses only one aspect of online course quality - COURSE DESIGN.

The complete annotated QM rubric for higher education is in its 6th edition, and includes eight (8) standards for remote and hybrid modalities.

These standards are:

  • Standard 1: Course Overview and Introduction (e.g., Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components.)
  • Standard 2: Learning Objectives (e.g., The course learning objectives describe outcomes that are measurable.)
  • Standard 3: Assessment and Measurement (e.g., The assessments measure the achievement of the stated learning objectives or competencies.)
  • Standard 4: Instructional Materials (e.g., The instructional materials contribute to the achievement of the stated learning objectives or competencies.)
  • Standard 5: Learning Activities and Learning Interaction (e.g., The learning activities promote the achievement of the stated learning objectives.) 
  • Standard 6: Course Technology (e.g., Course tools promote learner engagement and active learning.)
  • Standard 7: Learner Support (e.g., Course instructions articulate or link to the institution’s academic support services and resources that can help learners succeed in the course.)
  • Standard 8: Accessibility and Usability (e.g., The course provides accessible text and images in files, documents, LMS pages, and web pages to meet the needs of diverse learners.)   

In order to ease COE faculty into this transition, the internal review committee will focus primarily on standards 1, 2, & 8 of the QM rubric during initial reviews.

Quality Matters uses the following underlying principles to guide its work:


  • The process is designed to ensure that all reviewed courses will eventually meet expectations.
  • The Rubric-based review is integral to a continuous quality improvement process.


  • On research: The development of the Rubric is supported by national standards of best practice, the research literature, and instructional design principles.


  • A QM review is part of a faculty-driven, peer review process.
  • The review process is intended to be diagnostic and collegial, not evaluative and judgmental.


  • The review is based on collaboratively identified evidence found in the course rather than the personal preference of an individual reviewer.
  • The review is flexible and not prescriptive (many ways to meet each Specific Review Standard).

  • The review team consists of three experienced online instructors* as reviewers along with the course instructor.

*Peer Reviewers are all experienced online faculty who have successfully completed QM workshops and courses in which they learn about the Specific Review Standards, Annotations, and how to apply the Rubric to an online course.

COE Faculty: How to Get Started with QM

COE Resources for Teaching at Lehigh

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