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UNF Online

Online Course Quality

The growing demand for online courses in higher education has sparked concerns about the quality of online education and its impact on student success. While many factors contribute to student success in online courses, the design and structure of the course is the most standardized and objective component. Just as traditional face-to-face classrooms follow construction standards, online courses now adhere to rigorous, research-based standards for quality course design and format. This leads to improved quality and accessibility of online education, reducing barriers to student success.

In line with the Florida Board of Governor's Online Education 2025 Strategic Plan, UNF Online is committed to implementing quality practices. The strategic plan sets goals to increase the number of online courses in the State University System that undergo a course design quality review.

To achieve this, UNF Online has adopted the Quality Matters (QM) standards for the review of online course design. These standards ensure that online courses are systematically built and evaluated based on rigorous, research-based criteria that prioritize learner engagement and provide students with the tools and information they need to succeed. The QM Standards specifically focus on course design and structure, rather than on course delivery or academic content, thereby ensuring high-quality online education that promotes student success.


Course Design Quality

UNF conducts quality course reviews of online courses and assigns either a Quality (Q) or High Quality (HQ) designation, both of which are based on the QM Rubric and Standards. The primary difference between the two designations is the number of course reviewers and the number of QM standards that courses must meet. Achieving a Quality designation is a notable accomplishment, indicating that an online course has successfully met rigorous, research-based standards for course design in the following areas:

  • Course Overview and Introduction
  • Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  • Assessment and Measurement
  • Instructional Materials
  • Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
  • Course Technology
  • Learner Support
  • Accessibility and Usability

Quality Online Instruction

In addition to meeting rigorous standards for quality course design, online courses at UNF are taught by instructors dedicated to excellence in online teaching. A cornerstone of UNF's quality online course initiative is the Teaching Online (TOL) Foundation Course, a four-week program that explores best practices related to pedagogy, instructor presence, student engagement, accessibility, course facilitation, and assessment in the delivery of high-quality online courses. By completing this course, UNF's online instructors are better equipped to implement innovative online teaching strategies, leading to student success.

Many of UNF's online instructors also participate in distance learning and technology-centered committees, serving in an advisory capacity to promote student success through institution-wide communication and collaboration. These committees facilitate collaboration among key stakeholders and promote ongoing improvements in the delivery and design of online courses, ultimately enhancing the quality of online education at UNF.

Continuous Improvement

Beyond quality design and excellence in online teaching, UNF online courses also undergo continuous improvements in design, delivery, and technology innovations to ensure both students and instructors have a high-quality online experience. Through a campus-wide collaborative effort, online courses are continuously being improved with new technology integrations and support services that provide students with everything they need to succeed in their online courses.

As part of UNF’s online course continuous improvement program, UNF’s Instructional Design Team is available to consult on instructional design best practices, assist in the conversion of traditional course materials to the online learning format, and provide training and development related to the practical and pedagogical skills necessary for developing and delivering interactive and engaging courses.