Wisconsin Virtual School encourages all of their instructors to take QM professional development, especially since the school aligns their courses with QM Standards. This enables educators to deliver high-quality courses that improve learning.
Meg Graham, an instructor for Wisconsin Virtual School, has already seen the value of taking QM courses to become a QM Course Reviewer. “The courses I’ve taken through Quality Matters (K–12 Reviewer, Applying the QM Rubric K–12, and K–12 Course Design)—as well as my experience working on a QM Review team—have had a huge impact on both the online and face-to-face courses I teach,” says Meg. If you’re thinking about becoming a QM K–12 Reviewer, Meg suggests taking the professional development in order and reflecting on how the examples in the Rubric show whether the Standards are met or not met.
In addition to teaching Spanish 3 and 4 for Wisconsin Virtual School, Meg teaches Spanish courses in-person and online for WEA Academy. Looking at her courses through the QM lens helped Meg see the need to make modifications to meet certain standards. Here are a few changes Meg has made per the QM Rubric:
- Providing more step-by-step instructions to improve clarity of course structure and its purpose for students
- Developing more specific criteria of assessment strategies so students understand course/learning objectives and how they lead to success on assessments
- Including more variety in types of practice activities to meet the needs of all learners
While Meg took QM courses to get better at using the Rubric and become part of a QM Review team, she found herself really enjoying each course. She’s also happy to see how the changes she’s implemented have benefited students in her courses. Here’s what Meg has seen so far:
- A higher rate of student engagement, satisfaction, and success
- Students are more confident in the beginning of a course and ask fewer questions relating to course structure, assignments, and objectives
- Students are completing assignments on time and with higher grades than before
Meg has seen positive outcomes for learners in every course she teaches, but the course that she saw the most impact from applying the QM Rubric was Spanish for Educators, a course she teaches through WEA Academy. The Rubric enabled her to streamline the course and put everything into a user-friendly format for students. “For most of my students, this is their first online course. After using the Rubric to make changes, I saw an increase in student confidence throughout the course. Students had more trust in me and were willing to try new things,” says Meg.
Setting her course up using the same patterns for each module was also helpful for students. “Once they’ve gone through one module, students know exactly what to do and where to go,” explains Meg. And she makes assessment clear. Meg connects course objectives to assessment—and never assesses in a way they haven’t already practiced in face-to-face or online courses—so there are no surprises. “When students know what to expect and how things will work in the course, their comfort and confidence level goes up,” says Meg.
Meg still refers to the Rubric to make sure she’s on the right track. “The Rubric made things very clear to me,” says Meg. “Seeing the impact of the QM Rubric—that students were more successful because of the work I put in—made my efforts worthwhile.”