Introducing Quality MattersTM

The University of Maine System has a System-wide license to Quality Matters, which means that all UMPI faculty and staff have access to individual memberships, tools, and resources. Quality Matters is a faculty-created, peer-review process with a mission to give individuals and institutions the resources they need to create quality online and blended programming.  The Quality Matters Rubrics and Standards represent the cumulation of over a decade of collaboration and research on how to support online learners (and how online students learn).  As members, we are able to access and use the Quality Matters Rubrics & guides, conduct self-reviews, access member-only pricing on professional development courses, and eventually, we will be able to apply for QM certification on courses and/or programs (an industry-standard in excellence in online course design and delivery).

The Quality Matters Self-Review

The Quality Matters Self Review process, available to all faculty, allows you a chance to self-assess your course against the QM Standards prior to requesting a more formal internal or QM-hosted review. It can be used to ensure that your online course is providing the highest quality learning experience for your students (even if you do not intend to do a formal review). When you engage in a self-review you are able to walk through each of the standards–with complete annotation of each standard and helpful recommendations for meeting those standards.

Some important points to note:

  • The QM Higher Education Rubric consists of 48 individual standards divided into 8 standards categories (this is one of the tools that informed our UMPI course evaluation tool–so some concepts may look familiar)
  • Throughout the self-review, you will notice that each standard will have point values ranging from 1 to 3
  • As you work through the self-review and determine whether or not your course meets each standard, points are assigned accordingly
  • Any standard that is not “Met”, generates an annotated list of resources, to help you make adjustments to your course.
  • In order to pass a QM review, you must:
    • Score 85% or higher of the total points, and
    • Meet all of the 3-point (“critical”) standards

Ready to get started?  Give your local QM Coordinator a ring, to help with the account set-up process.  At UMPI, the QM Coordinator is Heather Nunez-Olmstead, of the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Who may be interested in a self-review?

There are a number of reasons why you may be interested in a self-review of your online or hybrid course, utilizing the Quality Matters rubric, including:

  1. You are looking for ways to increase accessibility in your online course
  2. You or your department are looking for research-backed ways to structure your content to enhance the student experience
  3. You are already considering a re-design and would like to self-evaluate first
  4. You think that you may want to prepare a course for QM certification in the future
How to Get Started with a Self-Review

Once you have created your account on Quality Matters, you can quickly and easily start the self-review process:


The Underlying Principles of Quality Matters

The QM Rubric and evaluation process were created based on the following principles–which inform the self-review process, as well as the official certification review:


  • The Quality Matters processes are designed with the idea that all courses will eventually be able to meet the standards.
  • The review process to dependant on a commitment to ongoing improvement.


  • On research – the development of the rubric and the annotations that accompany it are based on national standards, based on research literature, and instructional current design  principles.
  • On student learning – the rubric criteria and recommendations are all anchored in improving the student experience.
  • On quality – the review sets a rigorous quality goal at the 85% level or better.


  • An ‘official’ Quality Matters review is part of a faculty-driven, peer review process.
  • The review process is designed to be diagnostic and collegial, not evaluative and judgmental.


  • The official review is based on collaboratively identified evidence found in the course rather than the personal preference of an individual reviewer.
  • The official review is flexible and not prescriptive (there are many ways to meet each standard).
  • The official review team consists of experienced, trained online instructors in partnership with the faculty.

Add QM Trainings to Your PD Wishlist?

As Quality Matters System members, we can also receive the member’s price for any Quality Matters-based training, which gives us a substantial discount.  These online trainings cover a wide range of online teaching topics, from utilizing the QM Rubrics to learning to design blended courses, to creating presence in an online course, and more!

QM's Higher Education Trainings