Fostering Quality Through a Focus on Faculty

QM-certified course banner for Christ Church College course COM 110

TCC views QM Official Course Review as an important professional development component.

The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences (TCC) began its journey with Quality Matters in 2012. At that time, the TCC team was developing the College’s first online offering — an RN to BSN program. While excited about the new venture, the team also knew that transitioning from face-to-face courses to online courses would be challenging for faculty. That’s where QM came into play. “Using the QM Rubric as a roadmap, we created both an institutional course template and a master course system to support our faculty through this transition,” shared Tammy Waldron, TCC’s Senior Instructional Designer. “It takes a lot of time and effort to create quality online courses. The institutional template lessens the cognitive load and helps faculty focus on the course content. The master course system eases the burden on faculty because they don’t have to create courses each semester. Instead, faculty work together to make iterative improvements to each course.”

Professional development opportunities were also provided as faculty moved to the online teaching environment. As Tammy explained, all full-time online faculty at TCC are required to complete either the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop or the Improving Your Online Course workshop within the first year of employment. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with faculty maintaining a 100% completion rate since the program began in 2012. Adjunct faculty also have the opportunity to participate in the workshops. While participation is not required, Tammy reported that many adjuncts take advantage of the offer.

Another component of TCC’s plan is course reviews. “A QM Course Review is a rigorous and valuable process that provides further professional development for our faculty,” Tammy said. 

Faculty members agree that the process is very beneficial:

“When it came time for COM 110 to be evaluated by Quality Matters reviewers external to the College, I felt pretty prepared… Regardless of [my] preparations, I did naturally feel a little nervous about exposing myself to the potential [of not meeting Standards] — I’d never shown my course to colleagues outside of TCC before…, but I forged ahead, regardless (with Tammy’s positivity and support). And I’m so glad I did! All feedback was collegial, respectful, thorough, and thoughtful… Expectedly, the reviewers also provided concrete feedback about the ways the course might be improved...  I feel proud of every change that I made to the course as a result of the review, actually. It’s gratifying to make improvements and know that students are going to reap the benefits…I would recommend the QM review process to anyone. Even those teaching face-to-face courses have something to learn from the QM Rubric. (In fact, I don’t think I was even teaching online yet when I first took the QM course.) The preparation for review was a great learning experience, and the process was easy.”
— Dr. Meghan Hollowell, Dean of College Support Services

 

“I must admit, I was nervous going into the QM Review Process. While I had gained a lot from my experiences in previous QM workshops, I was nervous about those items translating in a review of a course that I had designed… I’m still surprised by how much I have learned throughout the QM Review Process!”
— Alyssa Ryan, Assistant Professor, Arts and Sciences

 

“As I reflect on the review process, I realize it was not scary or intimidating at all. My review team was amazing and made sure my first review was a positive learning experience. The feedback I received from them in the final report was 29 pages long! I am excited to take the recommendations that they took the time to write to make the course even better. ” 
— Dr. Melanie Raby, Assistant Professor, Arts and Sciences

 

“Preparing my PSY 110:  Lifespan Development course for a Quality Matters review was the kind of deep work that helps me grow as a professor.  Because the Rubric is based on standards, I knew the specific goals I was aiming for. The process required lots of work but it wasn’t frustrating… From my experience, Quality Matters is the kind of essential reflection, best-practices, and review from expert educators that truly improves teaching and learning. This Lifespan Development course now provides a better learning experience at TCC and I have a more clear and organized way of approaching online course design.”
— Dr. Rob Kallmeyer, Associate Professor, Arts and Sciences

 

TCC recognizes the effort that faculty put into the process and celebrates their commitment in several ways. When a course receives the QM Certification Mark, a college-wide email is sent to share the news. The certificate is then framed, and the certification mark is added to the faculty’s course as well as to his or her office nameplate. Faculty are also invited to write about their QM experience, which is then posted to the College’s website and Facebook page.

The focus on faculty is ongoing but the benefit is clear. “The investment and support for QM at TCC is two-fold, on an institutional- and faculty-level,” explained Tammy. “Together we have accomplished a quality online program while enriching our faculty – it is a win-win!” The institution and its faculty aren’t the only ones winning either. Tammy continued, “Our students benefit when our faculty move through the process of officially reviewing their courses. Course alignment and expectations become more explicit and clear and the layout becomes more purposeful and meaningful throughout the course.”

As TCC moves forward in its QM journey, students will play a bigger role. Tammy shared that the College plans to teach students explicitly about QM and gather their experiences. They are also going to take a closer look at student data before and after QM course certification. 

Tammy and the team at TCC were inspired to take this journey thanks, in part, to their affiliation with the QM Ohio Consortium. “We owe all our success with QM to our Ohio Consortium,” Tammy heralded. “I became aware of QM, and deepened my knowledge tremendously, through Consortium activities — QMC monthly webinars, meet-ups, serving on reviews through our barter system, facilitating trainings, and our annual member meeting. Building relationships with the amazing people across our state and learning what they are doing well at their institutions prepared me to create policies, procedures and practices that will work well at my institution. We are all unique, but we can all learn from and support each other.”

Now, Tammy wants to share her experience in hopes of inspiring others. “My advice,” said Tammy, “is to get your faculty involved as much as possible and celebrate their success. It takes a lot of work and effort to create quality courses! Show your faculty that you value their efforts to go through the QM official peer review process. If possible, tie QM Course Certification into rank and promotion and/or priority course offerings at your institution.” One more piece of advice — ask faculty to share their success stories. As Tammy explained, through sharing, others will quickly learn about the valuable experiences QM offers and the success that comes from their efforts at the institution and student-level.

Date Published