Getting Started with Quality Matters
At one time or another, all QM Members have stood in your shoes. Whether on an individual or organizational level, they made the decision to start using the QM quality assurance system because they wanted to deliver on the promise of online learning. While the details of every QM implementation are as diverse as the QM community itself, there are several steps that can get your QM implementation off to a good start. And, if you aren’t a member yet, keeping these steps in mind will help you prepare the way as you advocate for using QM at your organization.
Congratulations on making a commitment to quality assurance for online learning. Learners and educators everywhere applaud you. Now the work begins. Here are some tips to get you started:
QM Coordinator (QMC) Training
The person assigned the role of QMC will champion your QM implementation and become a resource for all things QM. Most memberships come with two free seats for the self-paced QMC Training. There are Higher Ed and K-12 versions. It doesn’t take long and it will empower the QMC(s) with knowledge and resources for a successful QM launch. QMCs should register for this training in MyQM as soon as they have been assigned the QMC role.
Get Staff Involved
Ideally, you’ve been so excited about bringing QM to your organization that you’ve already shown key staff and faculty members the QM Overview and sent them the link to this website. Here are few more ideas to build momentum:
- Share the welcome letter received from QM
- Present the QM Overview with speaking notes to faculty and staff
- Have faculty and staff create MyQM accounts — they are all members now!
- Have faculty and staff complete the free, self-paced course “Elements of Quality Matters”
- Point out the tools and resources inside MyQM such as the Reference Library, Self Review Tool and how to access the QM Rubric
- Use Rubric Workbooks and/or Rubric Brochures for hands on demonstrations of looking for evidence of meeting Standards
Plan Your Continuous Improvement
Outline immediate goals for using the QM Rubric
Courses in development or undergoing review are prime candidates for benefiting immediately from using QM. Try picking one or two Standards as a starting point.
Chart professional development pathways
Have faculty/staff sign up for the Applying the QM Rubric workshop relevant to your membership. Prioritize areas for improvement and match them up with related workshops and courses.
Set goals for course reviews
Our Quality Assurance team can assist you with reviewing your course review options and targeting one or two courses for QM-Managed Official review. This creates a benchmark to inform your process for course design improvement. As your courses begin to meet course design Standards, you will see how QM can be applied to program quality.
Promote Your QM Membership
Announce your commitment to online learning quality assurance with a memo or press release to internal and external stakeholders. Share your process and successes through your organization’s communication and media channels. Encourage participation in the QM community.
Connect with Resources
Reach out to QM staff with any questions or concerns. We can help connect you with a QM Colleague, QM Success Stories, special interest groups, and other resources to inform your use of QM.
Making a Case for QM
Outline Your Goals
Defining and documenting departmental and organizational goals that will benefit from QM is key. Goals are always unique to an organization, but common themes are:
- Aiding the accreditation process
- Improving learner outcomes — persistence, retention, etc.
- Consistency in course design (although not necessarily course content)
- Maximizing organizational resources
- Showcasing the quality of online courses
- Creating an evidence-based process for maintaining online learning quality
Share What You Know About QM
Show the QM Overview slideshow video to colleagues and stakeholders and consider scheduling an in-person or virtual QM Overview. For those considering QM for K-12, a free overview is offered periodically — contact the K-12 Program Director for more information. You can also order Rubric brochures to provide a tangible example of a QM Rubric Standard and make sure everyone understands that QM is about quality course design, not delivery or faculty performance.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, share videos from QM Members about using QM and watch conference presentations.
Pass along research and case studies related to the use and impact of QM. See examples in the QM Community in Review reports.
Start Connecting & Planning
Building a culture of continuous improvement takes a little time. You and those you envision using the QM system will ultimately be the ones that create the supportive, collegial environment that leads to meeting quality expectations. Take the time to inventory the courses you want to review and the resources required. There are a number of ways to get a feel for how QM works:
- Attend a QM Conference
- Sign up for a QM Newsletter (Higher Ed and/or K-12 focused)
- Participate in a QM workshop for course improvement
- Start out with an Individual Membership
- Follow QM on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook