Quality Matters for Online Instruction

Quality Matters (QM) logo

What is it?

Quality Matters™ (QM) is a peer-review process for providing feedback and guidance for online course design.  According to the QM website, it originated from the MarylandOnline Consortium project in 2003. They received a grant from the US Department of Education to create a rubric and review process based on research and best practices.  In 2014, it became its own nonprofit organization.  Through a subscription service, the organization now provides training, resources, conference events, and research collaborations.  They currently have 5000 QM certified reviewers to assist subscribers with the peer review process of their online courses.

Who uses it?

QM provides specific rubrics and guidelines for the quality assurance review process for K-12, higher education, publishers, and continuing education programs that offer distance education.  QM has a new program to bring the rubric and process to students.  The QM process is specifically for hybrid and fully online courses; it’s not for web-enhanced face-to-face courses.  QM currently has 900 subscribers.  Subscription prices are adjusted to the size of your online programs.

How does it work?

A subscribing institution (or individual) requests a QM review of their course and submits an application.  QM recommends that you familiarize yourself with the rubric through the training process in advance of the review.  They also recommend that the course for review not be new—that it has been through a few semesters to work out the bugs.  A QM coordinator for your course assigns you a team of reviewers consisting of a team leader and two other certified peer reviewers, one of which is an subject matter expert.  They read your self-report about the course and review your course using the rubric and guidelines.  The rubric covers these general standards: 1. Course Overview & Introduction, 2. Learning Objectives (Competencies), 3. Assessment & Measurement, 4. Instructional Materials, 5. Course Activities & Learner Interaction, 6. Course Technology, 7. Learner Support, and 8. Accessibility & Usability.  The team contacts you with questions throughout the 4-6 week process.  Then they present you with your evaluation with time to address any major issues before finalizing the report.

What are the benefits?

Those courses that pass the review process receive recognition on the QM website.  Even if you meet the standards, the peer reviewers provide you with recommendations for further improvements.  Instructors can use this feedback for other courses they teach or debrief with colleagues about it.  This serves as an ongoing continuous improvement process.  This is something that institutions can promote to their clients and instructors can add to the curriculum vitae.  From personal experience in becoming a QM certified peer reviewer, I can attest to the benefits of knowing the best practices and accessibility requirements for online course design.  It has helped me to become a better online instructor and provided me with a wealth of knowledge for my work as an instructional designer.  I’m grateful to the Innovation in Learning Center at the University of South Alabama for training me on the QM process and providing the opportunity to become a certified peer reviewer.

SITE Conference Day 2: My Itinerary for PD

I finally decided on the presentations to attend on Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

  • 8:30 AM-9:45 AM: General Session, Paper Awards & Keynote: Larysa Nadolny Iowa State University, EPIC WIN: Designing for success with game-based learning
  • 10:15-10:45 AM in Scarbrough 1: What Features We Like When We Like Educational Games, Spencer Greenhalgh, Matthew Koehler Liz Owens Boltz
  • 10:45 AM-11:15 AM in Regency F: Establishing Presence and Community in the Online ClassroomBrianne Leigh Moore-Adams & Sarah Warnick
  • 11:50 AM-12:10 PM in Scarbrough 1:  Applying Conceptual Change Model in the Professional Development for Online FacultyLa Tonya Dyer & Liyan Song
  • 12:10-12:30 PM in Verelst: I’m Just A Blog, Yes I’m Only a Blog: Educating Teachers to Develop Students’ Skills in Digital Rhetoric Teresa Marie Kelly Barbara Green
  • 12:30 PM-1:45 PM in Harborside Center: Universal Design for Learning SIG (TEC)
  • 1:45 PM-2:45 PM in Harborside Center: Developing Google Certified Educators in Undergraduate Teacher Education, Ryan Visser &  D. Matthew Boyer
  • 1:45 PM-2:45 PM in Harborside Center: Investigating the Impact of Gamified Learning on Post-Secondary Education Student’s Ability to Self-Regulate their LearningStein Brunvand & David Hill
  • 1:45 PM-2:45 PM in Harborside Center: Use of Piktochart to Enhance Teacher Action ResearchHeather Leaman, Connie DiLucchio & Michelle Fisher
  • 3:00 PM-4:00 PM in Regency AB: Establishing STEAM Technology/Maker Labs in Colleges of Education: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons Learned, Jonathan Cohen,  Monty Jones & Shaunna Smith
  • 4:15 PM-5:15 PM in Harborside Center: Evaluation of Faculty Boot Camp Professional Development for Online Course Instruction,Barbara Duchardt,  Paula Furr, Steve Horton &  Ronald McBride
  • 5:30 PM-7:00 PM in Harborside Center: Saudi ELLs’ Digital Gameplay Habits and Effects on Second Language AcquisitionSandra Rogers (me) & Burke Johnson

SITE Conference Day 1: My Itinerary for Professional Development

I can’t wait to see all of these great presentations at the SITE conference next week!

Society of Information Technology and Teacher Ed, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016, Planner

  • 8:30 AM-9:45 AM: Welcome, General Session & Keynote, Marc Prensky, Global Future Education Foundation and Institute, “PLAN B”: Education to Improve the World
  • 10:15 AM-11:15 AM in Harborside Center: Exploring simSchool: A Simulation-Based Learning Tool for Educators, David Collum , Melanie Bishop & Timothy Delicath
  • 11:30-11:50 AM in Regency F: Best Practices for Diverse Learners: Universal Design for Learning Online & Off, Dr. Elizabeth Dalton &  Liz Berquist
  • 11:50 AM-12:10 PM in Regency F: Rubric to Evaluate Online Course Syllabi Plans for Engendering a Community of Inquiry, Sandra Rogers (me) & James Van Haneghan
  • 12:30 PM-1:45 PM in Regency D: Digital Games & Simulations (ITC) Special Interest Group Meeting
  • 1:45 PM-2:05 PM in Scarbrough 4: Avoiding Epic Losses: Steps for Integrating Meaningful Gamification into the Classroom, Lorraine Beaudin
  • 2:05-2:25 PM in Scarbrough 4: Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs),
    Selma Koc &  Ahmed Ali
  • 3:00 PM-4:00 PM in Harborside Center:  Wearables as Assistive Technology,
     Cindy Anderson & Kevin Anderson
  • 3:40 PM-4:00 PM in Scarbrough 4: Serious Games Classroom Implementation: Teacher Perspectives and Student Learning Outcomes, Monica Trevathan , Michelle Peters, Jana Willis & Linda Sansing
  • 4:15-4:35 PM in Regency E: Interactive Video Authoring: Student and Instructor Experiences, Liz Berquist & Lance Cassell
  • 4:55 PM-5:15 PM in Regency E: edTPA Videoing Made Easy: Standardizing the Process with iPads, Holley Roberts & Christopher Greer
  • 5:30 PM-6:30 PM: Welcome Reception!

Join me at SITE 2016 in Savannah, GA!

Photo of Sandra Annette Rogers
Say hello if you see me.

Two of my proposals were accepted for presentation at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference in Savannah, GA.  I’d love to connect with any of my readers who are also going to SITE. This will be my second time to attend this conference and my first time in the city of Savannah.  I can’t wait!

Here’s my current schedule for the conference: (All times are Eastern Standard Time.)

1. Brief Paper: Rubric to Evaluate Online Course Syllabi Plans for Engendering a Community of Inquiry, March 22, 2016 at 11:50- 12:10 P.M., in the Hyatt Regency F.

2.  Poster Session: Saudi ELLs’ Digital Gameplay Habits and Effects on SLA: A Case Study,  March 23, 2016 at 5:30-7:00 P.M. in the Hyatt Regency Harborside Center. See my poster below.

My Human Performance Improvement Toolbox

HPI Image for blog

Beresford and Stolovich (2012) defined human performance improvement (HPI) as three perspectives: vision, concept, and end. Vision is for individuals to succeed in areas that are valued by their organization’s stakeholders. Concept is to use the vision to accomplish the organization’s goals through successful interactions with not only the organization’s stakeholders, but also with the customers, regulatory agencies, and society. End refers to terminal behaviors, products, and other outcomes that provide a return on investment (ROI).  I’ll use Beresford and Stolovich’s perspectives on HPI in my toolbox to address the needs of an organization.

Gilbert (2007) provided HPI with a formula for worthy performances (Pw), which is Pw = Av/Bc, where Av refers to valued accomplishments and Bc refers to costly behaviors. The term “costly” can have positive and negative connotation; it references the costs involved with each performance (e.g., salaries, resources, and trainings). Gilbert’s formula is a powerful tool for better determining worthy performances.

The first step in improving a particular performance is to conduct a needs assessment (NA) to better understand the current performance in relation to the desired outcomes such as industry standards (benchmarking) coupled with the vision of an organization. A NA helps organizations identify the gap (need) between the actual and optimal performance levels of an organization. I would rely on the Aultschuld’s (2010) three-phase NA model (preassessment, NA, postassessment), as a guide for interacting with a NA team and NA committee of stakeholders. In the preassessment, my team would gather data on the topic from key informants, literature, and extant resources.

The NA team would follow up on emergent themes describing the perceived need and gather specific information via interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups on what the respondents value as possible solutions. The NA postassessment process identifies the problem succinctly. Is the gap due to a lack of incentives, knowledge, skills, or institutional support?  Training is not always the answer.  Interactions and behaviors can be improved via instructional and/or noninstructional interventions. For instance, HPI can be as simplistic as buying a better writing instrument (e.g., Dr. Grip pen) to expedite note-taking on the job. This would be a noninstructional intervention.

I’d utilize the various job aids provided in Aultschuld’s series of books to identify and address the problem in light of the organizations concepts. For example, I favor Ishikawa’s Fishbone Diagram with the bones representing the various issues within labeled categories of performance. Moreover, I’d collect solutions from stakeholders and conduct a Sork feasibility study to determine the appropriate solutions.  Given the complexity of a NA, the Aultschuld series would serve as another item in my HPI toolbox.

I created a manual of methods for problem analysis (PA) for novice instructional designers that can be used on a daily basis when a full NA is impossible.  I studied Jonassen’s typology of problems to determine the type and possible actions required.  I learned if the problem is well-structured, then a quick solution can be found because it is easily solved.  If it is ill-structured, then I should conduct a PA to get to the root of the problem. I would use Harless’ (1974) list of 14 questions for PA. I recognize his first one as being very important: Is there a problem? After a problem(s) is identified, I would use Toyoda’s Why Tree for root cause analysis; this technique keeps asking why for each response given until the root(s) is identified. Then I would use Sanders and Thiagarajan’s 6-box model to see which areas of an organization are affected by these performance problems: knowledge, information, motives, process, resources, wellness. I also learned from Jonassen’s (2004) work that we should collect our problems in a fault database.  This is something I have been doing to improve our turnaround in resolving learning management system (LMS) issues at my workplace to increase our ROI for cost, labor, and learning outcomes.

For interventions at my workplace, I use job aids, embedded performance systems, and the aforementioned idea for a fault database. I purchased Rossett and Gautier-Down’s (1991) HPI resource book, A Handbook of Job Aids.  This book provides matrices (Frames Type II) for the user to discern which job aid should be used with which type of task. I also create job aids for the workplace to facilitate teaching and learning.  For example, I create how-to guides for instructional technology software (e.g., Camtasia Studio) for instructors who are unable to attend trainings and must learn on their own.  Job aids are useful HPI tools for infrequent tasks like the occasional instructional video one might need to create for class. I have also been focusing on providing performance support mechanisms for right-time needs for students and instructors.  I noticed an overreliance on the instructional designer to answer all LMS related questions.  To provide an embedded support system, I added a webpage on our LMS to answer frequently asked questions. This has greatly reduced my cue of email requests, all the while improving the performance of those affected. In closing, for my HPI general framework, I rely on Beresford and Stolovich’s HPI perspectives of vision, concept, and end.  To put my framework into action, I rely on the works of Gilbert, Autschuld, Jonassen, Harless, Ishikawa, Sanders, Thiagarajan, and Toyoda.

References

Altschuld, J. W., & Kumar, D. D. (2010). Needs assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Beresford B., & Stolovitch, H. D. (2012). The development and evolution of human performance improvement. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.) Trends and issues in instructional design & technology (3rd ed.) (pp. 135-146). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon Pearson Education.

Harless, J. H. (1974). An analysis of front-end analysis. Improving Human Performance, 2(4), 229-244.

Jonassen, D. H. (2004). Learning to solve problems: An instructional design guide. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Rossett, A., & Gautier-Downes, J. (1991). A handbook of job aids. San Francisco: CA. Pfeiffer & Company.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Cartoon headshot of blogger, Sandra Rogers

Dear Readers,

Thank you for all of your comments and re-sharing of my blog. I’m so humbled to have such a growing readership. I hope I have created some useful content for each of you. Let me know if you have a topic of interest that I might can blog about. I also renewed my Podbean podcast and hope to interview educators, instructional designers, game designers, and innovators on learning. Let me know if you’re interested!

Since my beginnings on this blog in 2011, I tried to make it practical. In 2015, I decided to transform my blog into a scholarly one as I near the end of my doctoral program of study. I’m slowly going back to previous posts to update them to include citations and more precise advice based on research.

In 2016, I will continue to blog at least once a week to share my learning with you. Blogging is my way of reviewing information to help me remember. It also helps me to synthesize information to share with the educators I work with now. Whenever I find myself explaining something verbally, I check to see if I have a blog on it to share as a follow-up. If I don’t, I write one. My blogs have become job aids!

This is the year that I start, and hopefully complete, my dissertation on gaming for second language acquisition. I will share more on this topic once I complete the proposal.

Happy New Year!

Sandra Annette Rogers

aka Teacherrogers

Mini-lecture and Photos of Colonial Williamsburg for 5th Graders

Pine Wreath with burlap flowers from Colonial Williamsburg

The 15 images in this presentation are photos I took of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia a few winters ago.  I was amazed by the beauty of the old fashioned traditions like the image above with burlap and cotton bolls as ornamentation for the Christmas wreath.  This is one of my products on TeachersPayTeachers.

The purpose of the presentation is to give students a glimpse of colonial life. Photos include children’s toys, holiday wreaths, a bedroom, chamber pot, a kitchen, a dining room, a coal-burning furnace, a cellar, a garden maze, the Governor’s Palace (The Wythe House), the Royal Capitol, a home, wallpaper, a horse-drawn carriage, and a soldier’s drum. The PowerPoint slides include brief lecture notes.

Most school curriculum teach about the 13 colonies and the American Revolutionary  in the 5th grade, as part of history class.  Check out my store on TPT if you are interested in purchasing it.

Thanks to all of my TPT supporters for another great year!

Sandra Rogers

aka Teacherrogers

e-Learning Instructional Strategies to Teach to the Whole Person

Heart Tagxedo for blog post image

Teaching to the whole person is more important than ever.  But how can we do this in an online learning environment?  I work at a Jesuit and Catholic college where I’ve been learning about Jesuit education and Ignatian pedagogy. The principles of Ignatian pedagogy include context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation (Korth, 1993).  To address these in distance education, I’m developing an instructional design (ID) model that is a combination of learner-centered, experience-centered, activity-centered, and content-centered to fully address the whole person in online courses. Ragan, Smith, and Curda (2008) stated that a combination ID model is possible.  Not only is it possible, to include research-based best practices, it is absolutely necessary to provide diverse and rich experiences in online environments.  Otherwise, a single-mode of learning will become monotonous and decrease student motivation to learn.

Table 1 provides instructional strategies for the online environment that engender higher-order thinking (cognitive presence) for each approach.  This chart represents an initial listing to assist educators with strategy selection depending on various affordances and constraints such as time, resources, et cetera. For example, an activity-centered lesson is based on an interactive task and requires collaborative tools and student groupings. Content-centered lessons are passive tasks where the student generally only interacts with the content; the exception being discussions of content. Experience-centered-activities require a hands-on approach to developing something or serving/working with others. The learner-centered activity provides the learner with more autonomy over their pursuit of knowledge and includes metacognitive actions for self-regulation of learning; the affordances and constraints for this type of activity are highly dependent on the task.

Table 1

Cognitive Online Instructional Strategies to Teach to the Whole Person

Activity-Centered Content-Centered Experience-Centered Learner-Centered
· Analysis of case studies

· Critically review an article

· HyperInquiry team project

· Academic controversy assignment

· Develop a book trailer on topic

· WebQuest

· Pretest/Posttest

· Write a literature review

· Complete modules on topic in computer-adapted lab/program

· Write essay

· Make a presentation

· Discuss content with peers and instructor

 

  • Develop questionnaires

·Develop a personal model of topic

·Participate in a simulation

·Develop a workshop

·Develop a wiki on topic

· Develop a podcast on topic or narrated PowerPoint

· Develop a how-to guide or video tutorial on procedure

· Write a blog post on topic

· Serve others as a mentor, tutor, or volunteer on topic

· Virtual fieldtrip

· Peer-review of papers or projects

· Students create m/c questions for review

· Design a project

· Evaluate a program

· Write an autobiography of your interaction with topic

· Complete self-evaluation

· Develop a personal learning network

· Capture reflections in journal, audio, or video

· Curate digital books and articles on topic for lifelong learning

Note. I linked some of these activities to sources of my own and others. Check back soon for an update!

References

Korth, S. J. (1993). Precis of Ignatian pedagogy: A practical approach.  International Center for Jesuit Education, Rome, Italy.

Ragan, T. J., Smith, P. L., & Curda, L. K. (2008). Outcome referenced, conditions-based theories and models. In J.M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. van Merriënboer, & M. P. Driscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd ed.) (pp. 383- 399). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates/Taylor and Francis Group.

The Gingerbread Man Doesn’t Escape Common Core

Gingerbread Man with bow tie near stack of other cookies says, "Catch me if you can, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"
Students illustrate text.

In preparation for the Cyber Monday sale, I wanted to share some of my holiday-related educational products available for sale on TeachersPayTeachers.

This is an 18-page document with text from The Gingerbread Man story retold by Sandra Rogers in which students are provided space to illustrate the story to match the meaning described in the text. Twelve vocabulary words are boldface typed within the story with definitions provided on a glossary page. A vocabulary pretest is included, as well.

The end purpose is to have students read it to their parents or other students in the school. This was a popular activity I used in my first grade class during English language arts. Students were eager to learn the new words such as plump, almonds, and hay, so that they could accurately illustrate their self-made booklet. This would make an excellent literacy center independent project that they could work on for days.

Common Core State Standards: This activity correlates to the following CCSS on Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
Kindergarten: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
Grade 1: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Grade 2: #5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings. (Note: The text and drawings can serve as the storyboard for recordings.)

Directions:  You can use this material in two different ways in the English language arts or English as a second language class activities. For example, you can distribute the pages among your class and have the students illustrate the part of the story on their page. Then the teacher can compile them into a book for the class library for the students to read. On the other hand, you can use this activity as an individual assignment and have the students illustrate their very own booklet.

Thank you for shopping Teacherrogers store!  The Cyber Smile Sitewide Sale (#TPTCyberSmile) is Nov 30th & Dec 1st.

Sandra Rogers,
Instructional Designer

Check out my other K-3 illustration activity for the holiday: Santa Meets the Common Core.

8th SLanguages Annual Symposium 2015

Conference Organizer
Conference Organizer

Time: November 14, 2015 to November 15, 2015
Location: EduNation in Second Life
Organized By: Heike Philp aka Gwen Gwasi

Event Description:
8th SLanguages Annual Symposium
14-15 November 2015 (Sat/Sun)
Come and join us at SLanguages Annual Symposium, a two day online conference on language learning in virtual worlds held for the 8th time on EduNation in SecondLife.  The two main topics of the conference are machinima (cinematic productions of real-time conversations in virtual environments) on Saturday, 14 Nov 2015 starting at 12pm GMT and language learning games on Sunday, 15 Nov 2015 starting at 9am GMT.
We meet on EduNation in SecondLife, and there are tours to various virtual worlds like OpenSim, Edmondo, Kitely, Minecraft, Unity 3D etc., some of which you may want to attend via our livestream.  Here are the highlights:
– a CAMELOT symposium, an Istanbul University symposium and a Minecraft symposium
– keynotes by Stylianos Mystakidis of OpenEducationEuropa, JayJay Zifanwe of the University of Western Australia, Gord Holden on immersive technology for learning in schools, Nick Zwarts of the TiLA project
– a film festival, fire side chats, games parks, water sports fun, tours and a party with the Cheerleaders
For the provisional program, please click here
http://tinyurl.com/SLanguages2015
It is free to attend and all of the sessions are being streamed and recorded in Adobe Connect. You do not need an avatar to attend, but if you do join us in SecondLife on EduNation, and if it is your first time to do so, we are happy to assist and look forward to meeting you inworld.
Twitter hashtag: #slang15