Malinda Blair O’Leary is first in the College to receive designation
After the rigorous peer review process, Assistant Professor Malinda Blair O’Leary became the College of Arts and Sciences’ first instructor to have their online course certified by Quality Matters.
Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-based program that seeks to provide an international standard for online learning in academic, government, and education-related organizations.
O’Leary, who teaches Spanish and who is also the foreign language student teacher supervisor in the UAB School of Education, says her goals for seeking the certification were simple and straightforward.
“I chose to pursue it because I wanted to strengthen the evidence for claims that students are getting a first class education in our department and at UAB,” says O’Leary. She believes that with the tools and resources available, properly constructed online courses can be just as enriching, accessible, and interactive as a traditional course.
The certification process requires the instructor commit a significant amount of time and provide a team of QM reviewers with access to their course and all of its supplementary resources. The $1,000 process is funded by the department, but the dedication to excellence falls on the instructor.
“I think [the students] will find that a course certified by Quality Matters is organized, well-planned, cleanly implemented, consistent, and approachable,” says O’Leary. “It means that students are participating in a professionally vetted course and that the instructor has not just taken a traditional lecture and put it online, but he or she has gone through a very thoughtful and meticulous process to ensure that the online experience is as rich as the campus experience.”
O’Leary is the recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Teacher (Post-Secondary) Award from the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers.
For more information on Quality Matters and the certification process, visit their website at: https://www.qualitymatters.org/