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Online Course Design Quality Review

Course Design
Quality Review
Course Design
QM Peer

The Florida Board of Governor's Online Education 2025 Strategic Plan identifies several strategic goals focused on quality practices. Starting in 2019, online courses within the State University System (SUS) that complete an online course design quality review will be tagged with a Florida Online Course Design Quality Designation in the FloridaShines course catalog. The system goal is to increase the number of online courses in the SUS with a Quality designation. To support this statewide effort, online courses at UNF follow the Quality Assurance measures outlined in UNF's DL policy. Specifically, within two years of initial delivery, online courses scheduled as distance learning must obtain the Florida High Quality (HQ) course design designation and renew that indicator every five years. Courses already tagged with Quality designation remain valid until expired.

Quality Matters

UNF implements the nationally recognized Quality Matters (QM) Higher Ed. Course Design Rubric Standards for the review of online course design and systematically builds and evaluates online courses based on QM's research-based standards. The QM Standards specifically focus on course design rather than course delivery or content and assure that the structure of online courses promotes learner engagement. A founding principle that drives 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 the best practices and 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 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 and QM Promotion Resources.

Quality Matters logo

I'm excited to say that I think the QM program vastly improved my course.
- Dr. Jenny Hager

QM Peer Reviewers

Critical to UNF’s implementation of Quality Matters is the assistance of QM Peer Reviewers participating in the course design quality review process at UNF. Any full-time faculty member that completes TOL-Track A and a QM review of their own online course is eligible to register for the online QM training courses (CIRT will pay fees). QM-certified peer reviewers receive a $500 stipend for every two internal reviews completed at UNF.


View Become a QM Peer Reviewer for more information.

Quality Designations

Online Course Design Quality reviews can result in a Quality (Q) or High-Quality (HQ) designation. Both quality designations rely on the QM Rubric and Standards, but the course review process is unique to Florida. The main differences between the two quality designations are in the number of course reviewers and the number of QM standards that must be met. Both are significant accomplishments that indicate a course has met rigorous, research-based course design standards. While instructors may opt to participate in either level of review, we encourage instructors to pursue the HQ designation.


Quality Badge



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 provide alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.

High Quality Badge

High 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 provide alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.

Online Course Design Quality Review

To increase quality and accessibility, and reduce barriers to student success, faculty are encouraged to submit their online course(s) for an internal QM review to receive the HQ designation (see above). Any UNF faculty member who completed the TOL Foundation Course (TOL-TRACK A) and developed their course as part of TOL-DCD or Program Transition are eligible to receive a stipend upon completion of the online course design review process.


View the list of UNF's QM-Reviewed Courses that have completed an online course design quality review.

The Quality Review Process

See below for descriptions of each step in the Quality Review process.


Schedule a consultation with an instructional designer to discuss the criteria for a course review.



After submitting the Online Course Design Quality Review Form, two reviewers get assigned to review your course using the QM Standards and Rubric. They will assign a score based on whether the course has "Met" or "Not Met" the required number of quality review standards. The reviewers will also provide recommendations that should lead to measurable course design revisions. For the course to pass review, it must meet all 3-point essential QM standards and result in a total score of 85 out of 100 or higher. Reviewers will be enrolled in your Sandbox course to conduct the review.

Review | Feedback | Revision

Within 2-3 weeks, reviewers will submit their scoring sheets and feedback, and if the course does not "pass" on the first try, no worries, you will have as many opportunities as required to revise the course. Since you will not have direct access to the scoring sheets, your instructional designer will pass on the review score and feedback to you and ask for your input on moving forward with making the necessary revisions. Through this continuous improvement process, all courses submitted for review should eventually pass.

Course Meets Quality Expectations

For a course to pass review and earn the HQ designation, it must meet all essential QM Standards, receive at least 85% of the available points on the QM Rubric, and provide alternative means of access to all course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners (i.e., meets accessibility guidelines throughout the course).

Upon successful completion of a course review, you will receive a $2000 stipend, and the course will be listed on UNF's QM-Reviewed Courses with an HQ designation. In addition, you will be eligible for a future UNF Excellence in Online Teaching award.


Note: To ensure online courses continuously meet QM standards, instructors are encouraged to follow QM course design modification guidelines.

Course Design Refresh


Has it been five years since your course completed a course design quality review? If so, your course is eligible for a Course Design Refresh (CDR). Any course listed on UNF's QM-Reviewed Courses page is eligible for a CDR after five years or within a five-year period if course modifications have been approved by the Academic Programs Committee (APC). This policy is based on the assertion that most online courses will have likely undergone major changes within a five-year period due to technology enhancement, newer instructional materials, and changes to course design.

If certain criteria are met, the CDR process can be started earlier than five years, for example:

  • The course is set to be delivered the following semester, and starting a few months early would benefit the instructor and students.
  • The course will not be taught again for another year, putting the course at six years or more since the last QM review.

Note: To be eligible for a CDR stipend, you must be the same instructor who originally developed and completed a QM review for that course. If you are a new instructor for a particular online course for the first time, you should apply for TOL-DCD.

The Course Design Refresh Process

Online Application

To begin the course design refresh process, complete the Course Design Refresh Online Application.

Once your application has been verified, you will be contacted by a member of the instructional design team to get your course ready for another QM review. Upon successful completion of a course design refresh, you will receive a $1000 stipend and the course will be updated on UNF's QM-Reviewed Courses with an HQ designation and a new completion date.

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