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QM Course Design Modifications

UNF implements Quality Matters (QM) to review online course design and systematically builds and evaluates online courses based on the QM Higher Education Rubric. Online courses that complete an Online Course Design Quality Review (i.e., QM review) are awarded the statewide High Quality (HQ) designation for online course design. An HQ designation is valid for up to five years from the review completion date as indicated on UNF's QM Reviewed Courses.


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During a five-year period, most online courses typically undergo course design modifications to continuously improve subject matter content, technology integrations, and other aspects of online courses, which asserts that course design should and will change. However, to ensure online courses awarded the Florida Online Course Design Quality Designation continue to meet QM standards, course instructors are encouraged to consider the following guidelines as they modify their online courses.

Course Design Modifications

Course instructors are best suited to know how substantial the changes will be in their online courses and are encouraged to implement any course modifications necessary so long as those changes do not impact the overall design and alignment of coursework or invalidate any essential course design standards as defined in the QM Rubric and Standards


Minor modifications typically do not impact course design quality and can be implemented by the course instructor as often as necessary. Examples include but not limited to:

  • Changes to course policies
  • Updates to instructor contact information or course introductions
  • Addition of instructional materials
  • Addition of graphics, multimedia, external links, and article 
  • Modifications to assignment instructions
  • Updates that improve accessibility or usability 
  • Less than 20% of critical course design elements are modified (see list below)


Major modifications could negatively impact alignment between critical course elements and possibly invalidate the HQ designation of an online course. If more than 20% of ANY of the following QM alignment standards will be modified, these are considered major modifications, and you are encouraged to consult with an instructional designer: 

  • Course Level Objectives [QM Standard 2.1]
  • Module Level Objectives [QM Standard 2.2]
  • Assessments in the Course [QM Standard 3.1]
  • Instructional Materials [QM Standard 4.1]
  • Learning Activities (including Assignments) [QM Standard 5.1]
  • Tools used in the Course [QM Standard 6.1]


When there is a concern that significant course design modifications will impact the course as a whole, an instructional designer can ensure all critical course elements are aligned and meet QM standards. The following significant course modifications could necessitate the course instructor to resubmit their online course for another QM review:

  • Textbook adoptions that directly impact QM alignment standards. For example, a course adopts OER in place of a publisher’s textbook or course switches to using an entirely different online textbook publisher that necessitates significant changes to course design.
  • Redesigning a course due to increasing or decreasing credit hours resulting in significant changes to course alignment might require another course review.


Course Assistance 

The following support options are available to assist instructors with course modifications: 


For questions regarding QM certification, QM training, or conducting QM reviews, please contact Kevin Hulen