As a faculty member, making a difference in the lives of your students through quality education is most important. Several factors affect the quality of an online or blended course: course design, course delivery, the learning management platform, and more. However, individual course design sets the standard that affects the overall success of achieving the highest quality in online and blended learning programs. 

Quality Matters (QM) is an aspirational and voluntary standard of online and blended/hybrid course quality. It is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer-review process used to ensure the quality of online and blended course design. The QM program includes a rubric designed to certify the quality of an online or blended course. The QM standard incorporates research and best practices of online teaching and learning methods. This standard promotes more meaningful student-instructor interaction and course content engagement. 

Nationally, the QM rubric is used by faculty and course designers as a guide for course design and course revision. Whereas the peer-review process of applying that rubric to an established online course is designed to ensure that course expectations are clearly communicated and that student learning is assessed based on those expectations. 

Although the use of QM is not currently required at JMU, we do encourage faculty to find out more at or contact Sarah Cheverton at or (540)568-5321.

Benefits of QM

QM Course Review Rubric 7th Edition (2023)

  • Consists of 8 general standards - 44 specific standards
  • Developed based on research in the field of instructional design and online learning
  • Freely available to JMU faculty (per JMU QM Membership)

Professional Development 

QM Course Design, Review and Certification


  • Why should I use Quality Matters or any other review process?
    • The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) requires that students are provided quality online courses. Data obtained from an official course review and certification process can guide the overall quality for an entire program. Program certifications demonstrate our commitment to providing and maintaining excellence and quality in our courses. 
  • Who will review my course for QM certification approval?
    • Courses are reviewed by a team that consists of at least 3 QM certified collegial peers. For the official QM certification review there will be one Master Reviewer, one Subject Matter expert, and one Peer Reviewer. A QM certified course review requires one reviewer to be external of JMU. You decide who will be on your review team for each level and category. 
  • How frequently does my course have to be reviewed/recertified again?
    • The QM recertification policy stipulates that a QM certified course is reviewed every 5 years unless substantial changes of 20% or more are made to the class. 
  • What is a passing score for course certification?
    • Each reviewer determines whether specific standards are "Met" or "Not Met" and reasons for their decisions are provided. Improvement suggestions are required for all "Not Met" decisions and recommended for "Met" decisions. 85% "Met" is considered sufficient for certification. 

What is the next step to get started?



Our commitment to quality in Online Learning

JMU is committed to adhering to the highest possible standards in education, whether online or in person. 

This means:

  • Providing our faculty with measurement tools that help them assess and fine tune online courses
  • Faculty professional development courses and certification opportunities
  • Assist faculty to deliver content and assessment in ways that enhance student learning and student engagement

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