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New course review system aims to give instructors more direction for online classes

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Ohio State’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning is encouraging colleges at OSU to adopt a new course review system to create more effective online courses.

This review system is called the Quality Matters rubric. It consists of checkpoints for eight quality standards, such as course overview and learning objectives. In addition to the review systems colleges already have, the rubric is used as extra academic and technological assistance.

Janice Aski, a professor in French and Italian, started to use the QM rubric this semester. She said instructors have to design online classes differently from traditional classes, but not all instructors are familiar with internet-based tools.

“The online environment is a new environment. I think it’s new for a lot of people, right? ” Aski said. “(The QM rubric) tells the instructor what are best practices for getting the most out of the interaction online with the students.”

The College of Arts and Sciences has made the QM rubric available to every instructor in the college. The use of it is recommended but not required by the university.

Before the rubric, all online classes would go through the Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee for review. But the QM rubric helps instructors directly.

The rubric helps support instructors in course building and technology review, Aski said. The QM rubric provides instructors with teaching techniques which include directions in making a more detailed syllabus, suggestions on more effective communications with students, and different course materials for different types of learners, such as visual and audio learners.     

Timothy Lombardo is ODEE’s coordinator with Quality Matters, a non-profit organization in the online education sector. He said even though each college has its own review system, there isn’t one common system that puts colleges together.

“The rubric gives (instructors) a formalized method of what to look for,” Lombardo said. “And it kind of creates that common language throughout the university.”


ODEE and Lombardo are offering online instructions, webinars and workshops to colleges that want to initiate the rubric.

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