18 and counting: IU Southeast builds momentum in Quality Matters-certified online courses

27th February 2019

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Last week Dr. Robin Morgan, professor of psychology, earned official Quality Matters certification for her online course, Behavioral Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence (PSY-P 425).

That means IU Southeast now boasts 18 QM-certified online courses.

QM is the gold standard of quality assurance for online education. During the certification process, a course is reviewed by a team of three faculty members with current experience in teaching online, including a subject matter expert. The review team utilizes the QM Rubric for Higher Education, which includes 42 specific review standards. In order to be successful, the course must meet all 23 essential standards and earn 85% of the total possible points.

QM certification benefits students, who are assured that their online course meets the basic best practices for course design.

Ironically, Morgan was initially hesitant about, maybe even resistant to, the idea of online education. She wondered how the interaction in the online environment could be as good as that in face-to-face classrooms.

She came to see that it’s all a matter of how courses are designed. That led her on a relentless pursuit of quality.

“In many ways, more of my students interact with me online, where it’s required, than in my face-to-face classes, where students who didn’t want to interact could more easily hide,” Morgan said. “And I have more information about how well my students are ‘getting it’ online than I ever did in the face-to-face context.”

As director of the Institute for Learning and Teaching Excellence (ILTE), Morgan worked with Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Uric Dufrene to spearhead training for online course design culminating in QM certification. Crucial to the success of IU Southeast in this area has been Morgan’s initial recognition that the process needs to be collaborative and multi-pronged in order to move quickly. There are 17 peer reviewers on campus. ILTE also introduced QM standards into all training for the development of hybrid and online courses. Finally, ILTE created a campus internal review process that prepares courses for official certification.

“We wanted people to be successful when they submitted for official QM certification,” Morgan said. “Thus far, we’ve been very successful.”

Current QM-certified courses at IU Southeast are:

  • AFRO-A 169: Introduction to African American Literature
  • BUS-A 311: Intermediate Accounting I
  • BUS-J 401: Administrative Policy
  • BUS-K 201: Computers in Business
  • EDUC-H 520: Education and Social Issues
  • EDUC-P 507: Assessment in Schools
  • FINA-A 101: Ancient and Medieval Art
  • FINA-A 102: Renaissance to Modern Art
  • INFO-I 202: Social Informatics
  • JOUR-J 301: Social Media Strategies
  • MATH-A 118: Finite Mathematics for the Social and Biological Sciences
  • NURS-S 472: A Multi-System Approach to Health of the Community
  • PHIL-P 140: Introduction to Ethics
  • PSY-P 101: Introduction to Psychology I
  • PSY-P 102: Introduction to Psychology II
  • PSY-P 430: Sleep and Dreams
  • PSY-P 457: Critical Investigations in Paranormal Phenomena

For Morgan, 18 courses is impressive, but just a beginning.

“How can you not commit to creating courses built on what research has shown leads to the greatest learning for students?” Morgan said. “We teach with one mission–to help students learn.”

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