Quality Matters at Iowa State University

Below you will find the benefits of Quality Matters along with these three primary components: the rubric, the course review process, and professional development opportunities.

Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process based on best practices to measure the quality of online and blended courses.

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) consults with faculty and instructors on applying QM standards to their courses and developing new approaches in online and blended learning.

Questions? If you have questions email Darrin Jones, CELT Quality Matters Program Coordinator, or call at 515-294-5357.

Quick short links below:

Getting Started

Internal Consultation

On-Campus Quality Matters Workshops

Quality Matters Learning Community

Getting Started

Anyone at Iowa State can create an account through the Quality Matters website by submitting an Iowa State (iastate.edu) email address and creating a password.

QM offers a course standards rubric, different types of course reviews, and other types of professional development through its website and ISU’s subscription.

Some QM resources involve added costs.

Internal Consultation

For help getting started, instructional designers through CELT can consult with faculty and instructors on:

  • Applying the QM course rubric
  • Coordinating QM Self Reviews
  • Developing new online or blended courses
  • Improving current online or blended courses

Request an Iowa State Internal Consultation by contacting Darrin Jones, CELT Quality Matters Program Coordinator, or call at 515-294-5357.

The consulting component through CELT helps faculty and instructors implement QM best practices and develop courses in line with Iowa State’s commitment to excellence in teaching.

These support resources lay the groundwork for improving student learning outcomes and retention in online and blended courses.

On-Campus Quality Matters Workshops

CELT previously reimbursed 50% for all Quality Matters courses at Iowa State, but CELT now provides two on-campus Quality Matters workshops: Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) and Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR). To learn more about upcoming workshops visit the On-Campus Quality Matters Workshops website.

Quality Matters Learning Community

The Quality Matters Learning Community is designed to help Iowa State faculty and instructional designers improve their courses using the Quality Matters Standards. Members will have opportunities to hear about ways to meet the QM standards, as well as discussing best practices, experiences, and solutions to course design problems. The discussions will focus on the practical use of the Quality Matters Standards, but all are welcome to join the conversations, even if they have not previously taken any Quality Matters workshops. View and register for the upcoming meetings via the Quality Matters Learning Community web link.

QM Rubric & Reviews

A Quality Matters (QM) account provides Iowa State faculty and instructors access to the course rubric, review processes, and other professional development opportunities. The QM resources enable Iowa State to engage in benchmarking activities through a nationally recognized program used by peer institutions.

Along with the related consultation services through CELT, these tools can assist in the design, development and continual improvement of online and blended courses.

Faculty and instructors may want to include information about their QM participation in reports, teaching evaluations, and portfolios. Course certification through QM offers opportunities for national recognition.

Course Rubric

The QM rubric is a research-based peer review process that is widely adopted in higher education as a measure of online course quality. It offers weighted best practices in online instruction to improve course quality.

Visit Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Fifth Edition to download the rubric.

The rubric is helpful as a tool to consider what elements may be missing from an online or blended course or to generate suggestions for new features.


Faculty and instructors can use the Self Review materials within the QM site under “Course Review Management System” in the top navigation bar. Annotations explaining each standard in greater detail can be accessed within the Self Review tool after logging in to the QM site.

This unofficial review is a way to become more familiar with QM standards or assess a course prior to an official review. You can also do pre- and post-assessments of your courses to keep a record of improvements, and a private report can be emailed once completed.

QM-Managed Review

QM-Managed Reviews require a CELT consultation and a Self Review first. These external reviews are handled by QM staff or designees in compliance with QM Course Review Standards, take two to four months, and cost $1,000.

As part of external reviews, Iowa State faculty and instructors can earn Quality Matters Standards certification for their online or blended courses.