Quality Matters logoThe Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric, Fifth Edition, 2014 is a set of 8 General Standards and 43 Specific Review Standards used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses. The Rubric is complete with Annotations that explain the application of the Standards and the relationship between them. A scoring system and set of online tools facilitate the review by a team of Peer Reviewers.

Unique to the Rubric is the concept of alignment. This occurs when critical course components - Learning Objectives (2), Assessment and Measurement (3), Instructional Materials (4), Course Activities and Learner Interaction (5), and Course Technology (6) - work together to ensure students achieve desired learning outcomes. Specific Standards included in Alignment are indicated in the Rubric Annotations.


The Eight General Standards

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Course Activities and Learner Interaction
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility and Usability

When Do I Use the Rubric?

The Rubric is intended for use with courses that are delivered fully online or have a significant online component (hybrid and blended courses). The QM Rubric can be used as a tool for designing or evaluating one’s own course.


How do I use the Rubric?

The Quality Matters Rubric can be used in the following ways:

  • Faculty development and training programs
    • Faculty can enroll in any QM-provided workshops on the Rubric. Faculty may also get trained on “Applying the QM Rubric” since UAB has purchased a full subscription and has certified trainers. UAB is also developing customized training for our faculty using the QM Rubric.
  • External quality assurance of online courses
    • Through an official course review process (either QM-Managed or UAB-Managed), a course meeting standards may carry the QM logo that recognizes and promotes it as a course that meets national standards of quality.
  • Guidelines for online course development
    • Instructional designers may use The Rubric as the standard for course development.
  • Checklist for improvement of existing online courses
    • UAB provides Rubric access to faculty to use as a checklist to build, maintain, or review their own courses.

How Do I Obtain Access to the Rubric?

Download the Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric. This download is intended for single use only. Please do not duplicate and distribute without written permission from QM.

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