1. What is Quality Matters (QM)?
QM is a set of standards and a peer review process that Alamo Colleges District has adopted to ensure quality in the design of its online and hybrid courses.

2. When did QM start?
QM began in 2003 as a Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education (FIPSE) grant to Maryland Online, Inc.

3. Why does Alamo Colleges District subscribe to Quality Matters?
Implementing Quality Matters (QM) across San Antonio College will assist in the development of a common course design language across the district.  QM is based on research and best practices.

4. Who uses QM?
Over 400 institutions nationwide use QM to certify online and hybrid course design.

5. Does QM replace student course evaluations or faculty evaluations?
No.  QM is not a student evaluation of the faculty member’s delivery of the course.  It is a peer evaluation of the design (not the content) of the course.

6. What are the QM standards?
There are eight general standards and 43 specific standards.  The eight general standards are:
a. Course Overview and Introduction
b. Learning Objectives
c. Assessment and Measurement
d. Resources and Materials
e. Learner Engagement
f. Course Technology
g. Learner Support
h. Accessibility

7. What happens after the course is QM recognized?  What’s in it for me?
After the course has met QM standards and is recognized by Quality Matters, the “QM Recognized” seal can be displayed within the course and anywhere else the course is advertised.  This indicates to the stakeholders that the course has been measured against a widely accepted national benchmark for quality assurance and has achieved recognition for high-quality design.

8. What are the standards based on?
The standards are based on the principles of instructional design, research literature, and best practices.

9. Do I have to meet all the standards in order to meet expectations?
No.  Courses do not have to be “perfect” in that they meet every single standard.  However, courses do need to meet all essential standards and earn a minimum of 84 out of 99 points (85% in order to meet expectations.

10. What happens if a course does not meet expectations?
The QM process is designed so that all courses will eventually meet expectations.  If a course does not meet expectations upon an initial review, the faculty course developer received detailed feedback from a team of peer reviewers and have an opportunity to revise the course with the help of the staff within the Instructional Innovation center.  The revised course is then submitted to the team chair for approval.

11. Who are the members of the peer review team?
The peer review team consists of three members: a master reviewer/team chair, a subject matter expert and an external reviewer.  Each peer reviewer has online teaching experience and has been trained and certified by QM to conduct reviews.

12.  How long does the peer review last?
Per QM requirements, the entire review process may take place over a maximum period of 20 weeks.  However, it generally takes the team approximately a month to conduct the actual review of the course.

13. Will the review take place in my live course?
No.  The review team will receive access to the copy of the course and do not have access to any student data.

14. How will the reviewers have access to my course?
With the faculty permission, IIC staff will create guest accounts for the reviewers to log into Canvas and access the course review site.

15. If more than one faculty member teaches a course with the same content, do both courses have to be peer reviewed?
Courses in the same academic unit with more than one section being taught by more than one faculty will not need to be reviewed separately as long as the course is copied without modification across the sections.  In this case, the designer or course developer of the original course will participate in the review.

16. Who is the QM Coordinator for San Antonio College?
Ms. Lisa Ratliff Villarreal, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice serves as the Quality Matters Coordinator for San Antonio College.

17. Who can I contact, if I have questions about Quality Matters?
You can contact Ms. Lisa Ratliff-Villarreal at lratliff-villarr@alamo.edu or via phone 210-486-0991.  You can also reach our Instructional Innovation Center and speak with Ms. Usha Venkat at uvenkat@alamo.edu or via phone 210-486-0782