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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 design 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 QM-Certified UNF faculty members in conducting online course design quality reviews. 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.


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.


Course Design Quality Review

You are encouraged to submit your online course for a course design quality review once it has been fully developed. In order to be eligible to receive the faculty stipend for completing a review of your course, you must be engaged in TOL-DCD or Program Transition. If you are unsure whether your course is ready to be submitted for review or you would like more information about the course review process, please schedule a consultation with an instructional designer.


A course design quality review proceeds as follows:

  1. Instructor submits the UNF Course Design Quality Review Form
  2. Course is reviewed by QM-certified peer reviewers.
  3. Reviewer feedback is shared with the course instructor and through a continuous improvement process the course will be modified until it meets all required standards.
  4. Upon successful completion, course instructor receives a $2000 stipend and the course is listed on UNF's QM Reviewed Courses with a High Quality (HQ) designation.
  5. Course instructor can also request to display the HQ digital badge (shown above) in their online course by submitting the Digital Badge Request Form.


Course Design Refresh

Courses listed on UNF's QM Reviewed Courses page are eligible for a course design refresh after five years, or within a five-year period if course modifications have been approved by the university Academic Programs Committee (APC). This policy is based on the assertion that within a five-year period, most online courses will have likely undergone major changes due to technology enhancement, newer instructional materials, changes to course design, etc.

How to Apply

  • To apply, faculty should complete the Course Design Refresh Form and secure their chair’s approval to offer the course in a distance learning format during the next academic year.
  • The Chair Approval Form must be signed by the academic department chair and returned to CIRT by email to or by campus mail to Tina Stanton, CIRT, 10/1120.
  • Applicants will be contacted by a member of the instructional design team within one week of a completed application.
  • Upon successful completion, course instructor receives a $1000 stipend.



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