UTSA Academic Innovation

Quality Matters FAQs

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Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Quality MattersTM (QM) at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

What is Quality Matters (QM)?

QM is a set of standards and a peer review process based on current research and best practices in instructional design that the University of Texas at San Antonio has adopted to ensure quality in the design of its online and hybrid courses. Implementing QM across UTSA will assist in the development of a common course design language across colleges.  

What are the advantages of having a QM recognized course?  

After the course has met QM standards and is recognized by Quality MattersTM, the “QM Recognized” seal can be displayed within the course and anywhere else the course is advertised.  This indicates to the stakeholders that the course has been measured against a widely accepted national benchmark for quality assurance and has achieved recognition for high-quality design. 

What are the QM standards?

The 8 general and 44 specific standards are based on the principles of instructional design, research literature, and best practices. The 8 general standards are: 

  • Course Overview and Introduction 
  • Learning Objectives 
  • Assessment and Measurement 
  • Instructional Materials 
  • Learning Activities and Learner Interaction 
  • Course Technology 
  • Learner Support 
  • Accessibility and Usability 

What kind of reviews are required for QM?

There are several QM reviews that will be utilized by UTSA: 

  • Internal Reviews – Unofficial reviews managed by the Quality MattersTM  Coordinator (QMC); not eligible for QM recognition. 
  • Self-Review Tool – QM provides an online, interactive version of the Reviewer Worksheet for anyone with a MyQM account for individual use to review and improve his or her own courses. Results can be emailed. Self-Reviews are confidential and the Final Reports are available solely to the individual conducting the review. Automatic notifications are sent to your QM Coordinator(s) when a Self-Review is initiated or saved. These member-requested notifications are purely informational and are meant to provide visibility to your QM Coordinator(s) on the use of Self-Reviews. 
  • QM-Managed Reviews – Official course reviews that are managed by Quality MattersTM  (QM) staff in compliance with QM course review process and procedures; receives QM recognition. 
  • Subscriber–Managed Reviews – Official course reviews, managed by a QM Coordinator that adhere to the QM course review process and procedures and uses the QM CRMS; receives QM recognition. 

Tell me more about the peer review process? 

The 3 peer review team members (Master Reviewer/Team Chair, Subject Matter Expert (SME) and an external reviewer) have online teaching experience and are trained and certified by QM to conduct reviews. With faculty (Course Representative) permission, Academic Innovation staff will create guest accounts for the reviewers to log into Canvas and receive access to the copy of the course, without access to any student data.  

Per QM requirements, the entire review process may take place over a maximum period of 20 weeks.  However, it generally takes the team approximately a month to conduct the actual review of the course. 

If more than one faculty member teaches a course with the same content, do both courses have to be peer reviewed?

Courses in the same academic unit with more than one section being taught by more than one faculty will not need to be reviewed separately as long as the course is copied without modification across the sections.  In this case, the Instructional Designer or Course Developer of the original course will participate in the review. 

Do I have to meet all the standards in order to meet expectations?

No. Courses do not have to be “perfect” in that they meet every single standard.  However, courses do need to meet all essential standards and earn a minimum of 86 out of 100 points (86%). 

What happens if a course does not meet expectations?

The QM process is designed so that all courses will eventually meet expectations.  If a course does not meet expectations upon an initial review, the faculty course developer will receive detailed feedback from a team of peer reviewers and will have an opportunity to revise the course with the help of an Instructional Designer with the Academic Innovation team.  The revised course is then submitted to the Team Chair for approval. 

For more, review these additional resources: 


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