Depending on external trainings or certifications to improve online course design can be a time- and money-intensive process. To make things easier, we at Saint Paul College have developed an internal review system, combining Quality Matters standards with faculty-led peer reviews. This is an informal and systematic way to improve online learning. In our new Academic Effectiveness and Innovation Unit, founded in 2018, we are Faculty Developers, course design consultants, and Quality Matters Coordinators. We started from a limited level of awareness and interest in Quality Matters standards, and wanted to create a low-cost, high-impact way to disseminate best practices. In addition to providing funding for QM training workshops, we wanted to involve faculty in helping one another improve our courses. To meet this need, we designed the QM Internal Review Cohort. It is a five-week voluntary program mirroring the QM review process. There are pre- and postmeetings, along with feedback using the QM management system. In addition, there is a Learning Management System component guiding cohort members through the five weeks. Finally, each pair has a Quality Matters coordinator working personally with them to make sure everything is on track. While certification is the next step for cohort courses, it is not a requirement.
James Smrikarov, Keitha-Gail Martin-Kerr, Saint Paul College