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Quality Matters Rubric Standards

The Quality Framework at UNT Dallas is a growing initiative to address the shared concern and need for online course quality. This initiative is based upon the Quality Matters™ review process. The approach assures quality through training and guidance on how to develop and continuously improve our distance education courses to improve student learning.


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Quality Matters Rubric is a set of 8 general standards and 41 specific 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 among them.  A scoring system and set of online tools facilitate the evaluation by a team of reviewers. 


Standard 1: Course Overview and Introduction 

The overall design of the course is made clear to the student at the beginning of the course. The course introduction sets the tone for the course, lets students know what to expect, and provides guidance to ensure they get off to a good start.

Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components. 

Students are introduced to the purpose and structure of the course.

Etiquette expectations for online discussions, email, and other forms of communication are stated clearly.

Standard 2: Learning Objectives (Competencies) 

Learning objectives are measurable and are clearly stated. The learning objectives establish a foundation upon which the rest of the course is based. 

Standard 3: Assessment and Measurement 

Assessment strategies are designed to evaluate student progress by reference to stated learning objectives; to measure the effectiveness of student learning; and to be integral to the learning process. Assessment is implemented in a manner that not only allows the instructor a broad perspective on the students’ mastery of the content, but also allows students to measure their own learning throughout the course.

The types of assessments selected measure the stated learning objectives and are consistent with course activities and resources.

Standard 4: Instructional Materials 

Instructional materials are sufficiently comprehensive to achieve stated course objectives and learning outcomes. The instructional materials form the core of the course, and these standards respect the instructor’s prerogative in selecting them. The focus of this standard is on supporting the course objectives and competencies, rather than on qualitative judgments about the materials. 

Standard 5: Learner Interaction and Engagement 

Forms of interaction incorporated in the course motivate students and promote learning. Engaging students to become active learners contributes to the learning process and to student persistence. 

Standard 6: Course Technology 

Course navigation and technology support student engagement and ensure access to course components. The technology enabling the various course components facilitates the student’s learning experience and is easy to use, rather than impeding the student’s progress. 

Standard 7: Learner Support 

The course facilitates student access to institutional support services essential to student success. In the learner support standard, four different kinds of support services are addressed: technical support, accessibility support, academic services support, and student services support. 

Standard 8: Accessibility 

The course demonstrates a commitment to accessibility for all students. The accessibility standard incorporates the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and is consistent with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

For more information visit https://www.qualitymatters.org/rubric.



Principles of Good Practice

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board commends and encourages the development of online courses and programs that enhance access to higher education throughout the state of Texas. The Coordinating Board works closely with Texas colleges and universities as well as with ICUT (Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas) to ensure the high quality of distance education. To that end, UNT Dallas is required to certify that their distance education programs are in compliance with the Principles of Good Practice.


Compliance with SACS 

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools guidelines for Online learning programs are listed at the following document: “Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs".