Hodges University announced today that it has adopted the Quality Matters™ (QM) initiative in order to enhance the online learning experience for its students. QM is a nationally-recognized non-profit initiative that assesses the quality of online and blended courses through a faculty-driven peer-review process.
The Quality Matters standards assure that the components of an online learning course promote learner engagement and provide students with all the tools and information they need to be successful learners. Hodges is the only institution of higher education in Southwest Florida that has made an institution-wide commitment to this process.
“With the rapid growth of online education, it is vital that we assure our students the quality that they are looking for when pursuing a degree,” said Dr. Char Wendel, Dean of Online Learning at Hodges. “In regards to course design, Quality Matters helps us on the cutting edge of online learning technology in order to assure the quality of the online educational process and meet the needs of the online student today.”
Since its first online course was delivered in 1999, Hodges University has been a leader in online learning. “Online learning has maximized the access to educational opportunities for our community,” said Wendel. “By adopting the QM initiative, we ensure that our online and blended courses employ the best practices based on the existing research literature. Course development goals are focused on the highest levels of student learning, interaction and engagement.”
The QM program will help the institution standardize course design to aid in student learning, support learner engagement in the online environment and provide faculty with a nationally recognized review process. Currently, over half of the faculty at Hodges have taken part in the QM training, with the remaining faculty members set to complete the training this fall.
Dr. Wendel also noted that, while the technology has changed, the expectations of students remain the same. “In the end, it’s all about the students and their expectations,” she says. “Online learners look for courses designed with logical, consistent and efficient navigation. They look for a readable screen design, clear instructions on how the course will be conducted and an instructor who honors response times and availability, just like the classroom setting. With the QM training, our faculty are better able to meet and even exceed the expectations of online learners which will help students meet the learning objectives as they work towards a degree.”