“The Quality Matters™ Program (www.qualitymatters.org) is a research-centered approach to quality assurance and continuous improvement for online learning. The primary components are a set of standards (or Rubric) for the design of online courses and the online components of blended courses, a peer review process for applying these standards, and related professional development for faculty. The Quality Matters Rubric…is based on recognized best practices, built on the expertise of instructional designers and experienced online teachers, and supported by distance education literature and research. The goal of the program is to enable faculty to increase student engagement, learning, and satisfaction in online courses by implementing better course design.” (p. 1, Introduction to the Quality Matters Program)
VCU and the VCU School of Nursing are members of Quality Matters. In order to view the Quality Matters rubric, please sign up for a Quality Matters account by going to the QM website and clicking the new account link that is located in the top menu.
According to the Quality Matters rubric, the course overview and introduction should contain the basic elements of the course – such as the course syllabus and information about how to navigate the course. For the complete list of what should be included in the course overview and introduction from the rubric, go to the Quality Matters website and sign up for an account.
Some School of Nursing faculty have opted to create a graphic syllabus to communicate the sequence of student learning objectives and outcomes. More information on this approach is available in the book by Linda B. Nilson: The Graphic Syllabus and Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course. ISBN: 978-0-470-18085-3
Course Overview and Introduction is the first standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Two of the nine competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.
A well-written and meaningful learning objective is an essential component in learning. An excellent article on the construction of well-written learning objectives has been created by Babbi J. Winegarden, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Educational Development and Evaluation, UCSD School of Medicine. In the article she provides a list of verbs that may be useful in writing objectives, the ABCDs of writing objectives, and how learner objectives can relate to the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains.
The ABCDs of Writing Objectives
The who. “The student will be able to…”
What a learner is expected to be able to do or the product or result of the doing. The behavior or product should be observable.
The important conditions under which the performance is to occur.
The criterion of acceptable performance. How well the learner must perform in order for the performance to be considered acceptable.
Necessary for Accreditation
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education lists Standard III as Program Quality: Curriculum and Teaching-Learning Practices. The first key element to this standard elaborates:
“Curricular objectives (e.g., course, unit, and/or level objectives or competencies as identified by the program) provide clear statements of expected learning that relate to student outcomes. Expected outcomes relate to the roles for which students are being prepared.” (p. 13)
Writing Meaningful Learning Objectives
The ability to write meaningful learning objectives is essential to learning. Here is an excellent video presentation on Writing Meaningful Learning Objectives by Michael S. Ryan, MD, Assistant Dean for Medical Education.
Learning Objectives is the second standard in the Quality Matters rubric. All of the five competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.
Assessment is an essential component in learning. In his video presentation on Writing Meaningful Learning Objectives, Michael S. Ryan, MD, Assistant Dean for Medical Education refers to assessment as an essential component in the learning cycle.
- A meaningful learning objective must be constructed.
- Instruction is presented based on that objective.
- The learner is assessed for competency and fluency of that objective.
- The cycle begins again.
An excellent presentation on assessment, including material on: why assessment, what is assessment, and how to assess is available on the University of Connecticut assessment site. The site describes outcomes assessment, the assessment learning cycle, curriculum mapping and more.
The NurseTim website has a page of webinars dedicated to Assessment & Exams. The School of Nursing subscribes to NurseTim for all adjunct faculty, full-time faculty and preceptors. For information on obtaining a login, please contact Teri Smith email@example.com.
Assessment and Measurement is the third standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Three of the five competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.[/toggle]
The instructional materials should be current and complement the learning objectives of the course. More is not always better. A course that has a multitude of instructional materials that are good, but don’t directly relate to the course objectives, can be confusing to the learner. It is best to use sites or learning objects that have been peer-reviewed or are from trusted sources on the Internet. It is imperative that any links to outside resources are checked before the course begins to make sure that the links are still available.
Instructional Materials Sources
- MERLOT – “a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community.”
- NCLEX-RN Test Questions – AACN, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence and the Khan Academy partnered to provide this free learning resource for the global classroom. More information about this initiative is available in this press release.
- Reusable Learning Objects – created by The University of Nottingham School of Health Sciences.
- Learning Objects from the VCU SON. Materials have been created for the following:
- Fluids and Electrolytes
- Ethics in Healthcare
If you are interested in partnering with our eLearning Developer, please send us an email so that we can we can schedule an appointment.
As part of NURS 488, Practicum in Clinical Management and Decision Making, students analyze a critical incident using root cause analysis. In the past, details of the incident were made available as a PDF on Blackboard because opportunities for students to participate in a real root cause analysis do not exist. In an effort to provide students with a more immersive experience related to this incident, Dr. Linda Hughes partnered with School of Nursing IT staff to develop a non-linear case study comprised of avatar-based videos that were recorded by School of Nursing faculty and staff. The opening screenshot from the module is shown below:
Instructional Materials is the fourth standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Two of the six competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.
Course activities should match the learning objectives and activities should engage the learner.
The next example is a case-based learning activity that students completed online after learning about preeclampsia. The instructor knew that the students weren’t achieving mastery competency with this learning objective in women’s health. The instructor worked with our eLearning Developer to create the online case for the students.
Course Activities and Learner Interaction is the fifth standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Three of the four competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.
There are a number of technologies at VCU that are available for you to use in conjunction with your course.
Course Technology is the sixth standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Two of the five competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.
There are a number of programs and services available to students at VCU who are primarily in online classes.
- The Division for Academic Success on the MCV Campus. If you would like to request accommodations, you must meet with the director at least four weeks before classes are scheduled to begin.
- Other resources available for students with disabilities
- VCU Student Health Services
- VCU Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Services – this page includes links to: the VCU Insider; Policies, Guidelines and Procedures and much more.
- Student eServices – use this link to access your records or to register for classes. VCU eServices is also accessible via the VCU portal.
- Online @ VCU – website for students taking courses online
- VCU Libraries Research Guide for Nursing maintained by Roy Brown
- Distance Learner’s Toolkit
- University Counseling Services
- Writing Center – available to all VCU students. There are online appointment hours available.
- VCU helpIT Center – call 804-828-2227, submit a help request or email helpIT@vcu.edu Someone can be reached by phone 24/7.
- Software Page from Technology Services
- Microsoft Windows and Office are available for download to registered VCU students.
- Student QuickStart – this web page by VCU Technology Services provides links to the helpIT Center, VCU SafeNet Wireless, Software Downloads and much more!
- Microsoft’s Safety & Security Scanner Center – this includes a link to Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Safety Scanner
- Sophos Antivirus for Mac Home Edition – this is a free antivirus program available for download from Sophos
- Get your email on your phone. Follow these instructions.
Learner Support is the seventh standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Two of the four competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.
The Division for Academic Success offers support services to students in the VCU Health Sciences schools. Their mission:
“to create inclusive and accessible learning environments and facilitate academic success through innovative services and programs in partnership with faculty, staff and students at VCU.”
Accessibility and Usability is the eighth standard in the Quality Matters rubric. Two of the five competencies in this standard must be achieved with three points in order to achieve QM certification.