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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 a 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 course design quality 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
Quality
Designations
Course Design
Quality Review
Course Design
Refresh
QM-Reviewed
Courses
QM-Certified
Peer Reviewers

Quality Matters

UNF implements the Quality Matters (QM) 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 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 and QM Promotion Resources.

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

QM-Certified Peer Reviewers

Critical to UNF’s implementation of Quality Matters is the assistance of QM-Certified Peer Reviewers that participate in the course design quality review process at UNF. Any full-time faculty member that has successfully completed a quality review of their own course is eligible to register for QM's peer reviewer training courses (CIRT will pay fees) to become a QM-Certified Peer Reviewer. Visit the Become a QM-Certified Peer Reviewer webpage for more information.

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Quality Designations

The main differences between the two optional levels of course 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.


View list of UNF's QM-Reviewed Courses that have successfully completed a course design quality review.

Quality Badge

Quality

 

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.

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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 review and receive the HQ designation (see above). Any UNF faculty member may submit his/her course for review; however, only those who have 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 successful completion of the course review process.

Schedule a consultation with an instructional designer if you would like more information about the QM review process or are unsure whether your course meets the criteria for a course review.

The Quality Review Process


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

Course

After submitting the Course Design Quality Review Form, two reviewers will be assigned to review your course using the QM Standards and Rubric and 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. In order 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

In order 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.

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Course Design Refresh

Has it been five years since your course successfully 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 within a five-year period, most online courses will have likely undergone major changes due to technology enhancement, newer instructional materials, and changes to course design.

The CDR process can be started earlier than five years if certain criteria are met. Here are some circumstances in which a course might be considered for a CDR early:

  • Course is set to be delivered the following semester and starting a few months early would benefit the instructor and students.
  • Course will not be taught again for another year, which would put the course at six years or more since it was last reviewed.

Note: In order to be eligible for a CDR stipend, you must be the same instructor that originally developed that course. If you are a new instructor for that particular course, you should apply for TOL-DCD.

The Course Design Refresh Process


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Online Application

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

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Chair Approval Form

Next, download the Chair Approval Form, have it signed by the academic department chair, and return your form to CIRT by email: cirtlab@unf.edu, or campus mail to Tina Stanton, CIRT, 10/1120.


Once your application has been verified, you will be contacted by a member of the instructional design team to start the process of getting your online course ready for another course design quality review (same process described above).


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 a new completion date and HQ designation.

For questions about UNF's online course design quality review process, contact kevin.hulen@unf.edu

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