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Marie Janes, Associate Lecturer, Health Information Administration
On the benefits of Quality Matters training
Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-driven, peer review process for certifying the quality of online and blended course design. Marie Janes, Associate Lecturer of Health Information Administration, has taught online courses at The University of Toledo for over 10 years and recently became a QM Certified Peer Reviewer. Marie recently sat down with us down with us to discuss the benefits of QM training, and how instructional designers helped with that process.
What prompted your interest in the Quality Matters program?
One day I saw an email from an instructional designer that contained information on the quality of online courses. It started me thinking about how I first learned how to build an online course back in 2003. After winning the Ohio Learning Network Emerging Needs Grant in Fall 2002, Peter You was assigned to the project of designing all the HIM courses for the new online Health Information Administration program. Back then, Peter was in the process of earning his doctoral degree and I was asked to build the program from scratch, since the University had just receive approval from the Ohio Board of Regents. Together, we made quite a team.
As the instructional designer, Peter provided the insight and instruction on how to build an online course, while I brought my experience and expertise for the course materials. There were no formal training sessions back in those days. We simply did our research and built the courses to meet the accreditation standards of the Commission for Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) Education. We accomplished building all 13 courses in a year and a half--because it had to be done in order to accept the grant requirements. I could not have been prouder of our work and I knew we did a good job because of the evaluations received from the students.
How have QM standards helped you in designing your online courses?
The QM standards helped reassure me that even though I had limited time to build an entire online program, with leadership from an instructional designer, we incorporated many of the standards supported by Quality Matters. As an example, students are provided with objectives and these are explained in lecture and PowerPoint presentations, with actual hands-on activities. In addition, the testing uses the appropriate type of assessment tool in order to evaluate learning outcomes.
What surprised you the most about the Quality Matters program?
I was surprised to see they were also using Blooms Taxonomy for objectives. I have been using Bloom's since my previous employment with BGSU Firelands College's Health Information Technology program (1986-1999).
Which QM standard has been most effective in improving student outcomes in your online courses? How so?
The standards that I believe help me the most are those related to alignment. It's easy to get carried away with the course content and materials, only to realize there’s a disconnect between expectations for learning and learning outcomes/assessments.
You recently underwent training to become a Quality Matters Certified Peer Reviewer. What sparked your interest in this opportunity?
I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to take the course at first, but then the "student" inside me remembered the Nike slogan...Just Do It! So, I signed up and took the course.
What advice do you have for faculty who want to learn more about Quality Matters?
Anyone teaching online will benefit from a one day Quality Matters course, such as the one Peter You facilitated in November. Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned instructor, the session provides a valuable learning experience. Faculty will discover there numerous ways to present and improve courses.
As for taking the online 2-week workshop, I believe this is for individuals who enjoy performing audits and helping others improve the quality of their courses. We are fortunate that the University and the State helped make this opportunity available. In these tough economic times, it's nice to be provided with a reduced cost continuing education opportunity. At some point, I hope to put my training to the test!
To learn more about the Quality Matters Program, or to explore how QM rubric standards can help to improve the design and development online and blended courses, contact your instructional designer.