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Online Course Design Quality Review

The Florida Board of Governor's Online Education 2025 Strategic Plan identifies several strategic goals focused on quality practices. Beginning in 2019, online courses that have completed an online course design quality review will be tagged with a Quality designation in the FloridaShines course catalog. The system goal is to increase the number of online courses in the State University System that have a Quality designation.


To work toward increasing the number of online courses with a Quality designation, CIRT facilitates two optional levels of quality course reviews designated as Quality (Q) and High Quality (HQ). Both levels use the nationally recognized, research-based Quality Matters standards for the review of online course design.

Quality Matters (QM)

Quality Matters

UNF is committed to implementing the Quality Matters (QM) standards for the review of online course design, and systematically builds and evaluates online courses based on QM's rigorous, research-based standards. The QM Standards specifically focus on course design, rather than on course delivery or academic content, and assure that the online structure of these courses promote learner engagement and provide students with tools and information they need to be successful learners. A founding principle that continues to drive QM is the need for standards to reflect current academic research on effective learning. The initial QM Standards and subsequent modifications are based on the insights of teams of experienced online instructors and instructional designers and on the best practices standards promulgated by accrediting bodies and national and international organizations. In addition, the QM Standards have been examined for consistency with the conclusions of the educational research literature regarding factors that increase learning and engagement and that improve learner retention rates. Each specific QM Standard is centered on relevant research and supported by literature from the field. For more information, visit what you need to know about QM

QM Certified Reviewers

Critical to UNF’s implementation of QM is the assistance of UNF faculty members in conducting online course design reviews. Currently, there are 15+ faculty members that have completed the necessary training and certifications to conduct course reviews based on the QM Standards. Without their support, it would be difficult to implement the QM review process, which is inherently meant to be a peer-review process. To that end, if you are a full-time faculty member and have successfully completed a quality review of your own course, and you're interested in becoming a certified QM peer reviewer to assist CIRT with conducting QM reviews, please visit the Become a QM Certified Peer Reviewer page for more information.

Online Course Design Quality Designations

The main differences between the two optional levels of online course design reviews designated as Quality (Q) and High Quality (HQ) is in the number of course reviewers and the number of QM standards met. While instructors may opt to participate in either level of review, we encourage instructors to pursue the HQ designation. Both are significant accomplishments that mean a course has been designed to meet rigorous, research-based standards of course design.



Courses designated as Quality (Q) will have been reviewed by the faculty course developer and one certified peer reviewer, met all essential QM Standards, and provided alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.

sample-hq-badge-designHigh Quality

Courses designated as High Quality (HQ) will have been reviewed by the faculty course developer and two certified peer reviewers, met all essential QM standards, received at least 85% of the available points on the QM Rubric, and provided alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.

Digital Badge

Upon successful completion of an online course design quality review, you have the option to display the digital badge (shown above) in your online course. If you would like to display the Q or HQ digital badge in your online course, please submit the Digital Badge Request Form.


View UNF's QM Reviewed Courses page for a list of courses at UNF that have successfully completed an online course design quality review


How to submit a course for review

Online courses developed through TOL-DCD or Program Transition can be submitted for a course design quality review once the course has been fully developed.


A course design quality review usually takes 3-4 weeks to complete and typically proceeds as follows:

  1. Course instructor completes the QM Rubric training (i.e., QMR module) located in the TOFD Portal
  2. Course instructor submits the UNF Course Design Quality Review Form
  3. Review is conducted by two certified peer reviewers. This is a continuous improvement process that should eventually result in a successfully completion of the review process.
  4. Course receives the High Quality (HQ) designation and is posted to UNF's QM Reviewed Courses
  5. Instructor receives the $2,000 stipend


For questions about UNF's online course design quality review process, please email