Preparing for a QM Course Review

Preparing for a QM Course Review


When should a course be submitted for a Quality Matters course review?

Quality Matters course reviews are designed for mature courses that have been taught previously and/or for courses that are fully developed online (including hybrid formats) such that reviewers can see all evaluated components.

The following checklist can help determine if a course is ready to be submitted for review:

  • Has the course representative and/or course developer had time to review the Continuing and Professional Education Rubric and make modifications before the review? Courses that are prepared for a Quality Matters review have better outcomes and get more out of the review process.
  • Are the course-level outcomes specified and are there module/unit objectives for each of the course modules/units? The lack of course-level outcomes and module/unit-level objectives is among the most frequently missed standards.
  • If the course includes a discussion board, are all discussion board questions or topics posted for review? Learner responses (stripped of identifying information) and instructor/facilitator responses/feedback are helpful if provided but not necessary as the QM review does not evaluate course delivery.
  • If the course uses e-mail in any part of the instruction, is this information made available to the review team? Examples of such e-mail exchanges should be provided to the review team during its course review.
  • Are all course activities, including all audio-visual components, available to the review team? Sometimes instructors or facilitators make assignments "not available" after a specified "due date." All such assignments will need to be available to the review team.
  • Are all assessment tools available for review by the team? The review team will need access to quizzes, exams, and tests. Access to the grade book, if any, would be beneficial to the review team; reviews are set-up for the "learner/course taker" view.
  • Can the review team see and experience the course as a learner/course taker would?

What kind of course access does the review team need?

Because the review team will be reviewing the course from the learner’s perspective, team members should be provided learner-level access. Instructor/Facilitator-level or design-level access is usually not necessary and is inappropriate and strongly discouraged in a live course. If it is necessary to provide this increased level of access, Quality Matters recommends using a course shell rather than a live course. The most recent archive of the course under review, with steps taken to ensure course taker privacy rights, is a common way to provide access to the review team.

How do I submit a course for review?

The first step, after ensuring the course is ready, is to submit a Course Review Application. Once this is completed, the selected Institution Representative will be able to view the status of the review at all times through the Course Review Management System. The process includes the following steps that are completed sequentially:


  • Once the application is submitted in the Course Review Management System (CRMS), the review coordinator will send the course instructor directions to complete the online Course Developer Worksheet.  The CRMS will notify the participants for required actions as the review progresses.
  • The Course Developer or Course Representative must provide the review team with appropriate access to the course. (Please note that this information is not provided to Quality Matters).

Review Period

  • The review is scheduled for a 4-6 week review period, which includes approximately 3 weeks of actual review time in addition to pre- and post-review conference calls.
  • Once the final report is reviewed, the team chair will submit the final report and the Course Developer and Course Representative of the course will be notified of the outcome.


  • The Course Developer notifies QM of his intentions through the Course Developer Response Form - to have the course recognized if it met standards or to submit an amendment if it did not. The developer is notified of the date the amendment is due (within 20 weeks of the start date of the course review).
  • The Course Developer completes the online Amendment Form indicating the changes made in the course.
  • The team chair reviews and approves the changes to the course. The institution is invoiced and reviewers paid once the final report is submitted.
  • Once standards are met, Quality Matters recognition is provided to the Course Developer and the course is listed in the QM online registry.