QM Professional Development Pathways

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Continuous improvement isn’t just for courses — it’s for faculty and staff too! Through QM professional development, instructors, instructional designers, administrators, and more can strengthen their skills, develop new ones and gain QM expertise. But how do you know who should take what and when? Our professional development team is here to help!

Q: If I am a new QMC — or a QMC who isn’t sure about what professional development pathway to recommend to faculty and staff — what advice can you offer?

A: QM Coordinators (QMCs) should start by completing the QM Coordinator Training (QMCT) — an online, self-paced, open enrollment training that helps QMCs consider their professional development options. QMCs are able to register for the QMCT through MyQM.
If a QMC is still unsure of what professional development pathway to recommend to faculty and staff, they should outline the institution’s quality assurance plan as well as faculty and staff goals. Then, they can determine which professional development opportunities fit the plan and goals. For example, if the main focus is on improving online delivery, the Teaching Online: An Introduction to Online Delivery, the K-12 Introduction to Teaching Online or the Teaching Online Certificate would be the most appropriate place to start.
We also encourage QMCs to take the appropriate Rubric workshop — Applying the Quality Matters Rubric for the higher education community or the Applying the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric for the K-12 community. That should be followed by the relevant reviewer course — either the Higher Ed Peer Reviewer Course or the K-12 Reviewer Course. This series of professional development will help QMCs develop a solid understanding of QM’s principles and gain important insight into the work of QM-Certified Peer Reviewers.

Q: How can we assess our professional development needs?

A: One way to assess professional development needs is to begin with Internal Reviews. Internal Reviews conducted in the Course Review Management System (CRMS) generate course review data reports. These reports can help institutions benchmark their courses and identify areas for improvement. For example, if a majority of courses are struggling to meet General Standard 8, the Addressing Accessibility and Usability workshop would be a good place to start. Course review data is also available to QM Coordinators conducting official reviews for QM Certification.
Another way to assess professional development needs is to survey faculty and staff. A survey will help institutions pinpoint topics that their team members are interested in learning more about.

Q: What is the recommended Quality Matters professional development pathway for instructional designers?

A: Instructional designers (IDs) bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the QM implementations on their campus. To build on that knowledge and incorporate QM-specific principles, we recommend IDs take:
  1. Applying the Quality Matters Rubric or Applying the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric
  2. Higher Ed Peer Reviewer Course or K-12 Reviewer Course
  3. Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) or Designing Your Online Course (DYOC). The IYOC can be helpful in improving courses so they can meet QM Essential Standards and the DYOC can be helpful in streamlining the development of new online courses.
For a more in-depth look at each General Standard, IDs should also consider the following workshops:
  1. Design That Welcomes Your Learners
  2. Connecting Learning Objectives and Assessments
  3. Using Instructional Materials and Technology to Promote Learner Engagement
  4. Addressing Accessibility and Usability

Q: What is the recommended Quality Matters professional development pathway for instructors?

A: For instructors, please review our online Professional Development Decision Tree. It provides pathways for those who currently teach online and those who want to. Additionally, regardless of experience, current and future online faculty should take our flagship workshop — Applying the Quality Matters Rubric or Applying the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric — to familiarize themselves with QM Standards and principles. The Improving Your Online Course is a great option for instructors who want to take a closer look at their own course.
Online instructors can take their skills to the next level with QM’s Teaching Online Certificate (TOC). The seven TOC workshops align with the Online Instructor Skill Set (OISS) and provide instructors with a way to demonstrate their knowledge mastery of teaching online. Instructors will receive a QM Digital Credential upon successful completion of each workshop. The QM Teaching Online Certificate is awarded after earning all seven QM Digital Credentials.

Q: What is the recommended Quality Matters professional development pathway for administrators?

A: We developed a half-day workshop — Planning for Quality Assurance With QM — that provides administrators and others charged with implementing QM at their institutions with the information they need to design and execute a QM implementation strategy that supports institutional and online program goals. This workshop is offered at QM conferences. If an administrator is unable to attend a QM Conference, we recommend the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric or Applying the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric workshops as a good starting point.

Q: Which professional development should we recommend to assist with improving courses in general?

A: The Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) workshop is perfect for those interested in improving their online course. During the workshop, participants use QM’s Essential Specific Review Standards to review one of their courses and identify areas for improvement. Participants will also develop a course improvement plan for prioritizing changes. The IYOC is also available as a dedicated session for both Higher Ed and K-12. The K-12 community will also find the Designing an Engaging and Active Learning Environment workshop helpful.

Q: Which professional development should we recommend to assist with preparing courses for QM Certification through an Official QM-Managed or Subscriber-Managed Review?

A: To prepare for official reviews, we recommend the following workshops:
  1. Applying the Quality Matters Rubric or Applying the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric
  2. Improving Your Online Course
  3. Any Standards-based workshop, including Design That Welcomes Your Learners, Connecting Learning Objectives and Assessments, Using Instructional Materials and Technology to Promote Learner Engagement, and Addressing Accessibility and Usability
Many members also find it helpful to take the Higher Ed Peer Reviewer Course or the K-12 Reviewer Course to gain a better understanding of how reviews work.

Q: If someone is looking to differentiate themselves professionally, how can QM professional development help?

A: QM professional development provides education professionals with many opportunities to gain and strengthen skills that enhance their professional abilities. QM courses that lead to certified roles such as QM-Certified Reviewer can be particularly impactful and can help individuals stand out professionally. QM-Certified roles get noticed on resumés and LinkedIn profiles. In fact, many job postings specifically require QM experience.
QM’s Teaching Online Certificate is also a differentiator, assisting online instructors in demonstrating their advanced instructional skills and experience.
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