Quality Matters2018-09-03T12:31:20+10:00


Western is a subscriber of Quality Matters (QM) who are leaders in quality assurance for online education. Their review process and QM Rubric are designed to help improve the quality of online and blended units.


Quality Matters (QM) Logo

Quality Matters (QM) refers to a rubric organised into general and specific standards. These are used as a guiding framework in the design of units and in reviewing how different elements of the unit work together to promote and enhance student learning.

As you work through various sections in this resource, references to Quality Matters will be provided and these standards will provide you with a benchmark for ensuring that consistent standards relating to learning activities, assessment and design of your TEL environment are maintained.

General Standard 1: Unit Overview and Introduction

An introduction to the unit and information about navigating the site and finding materials is provided.

Students are provided with guidelines for online communications and pointed to relevant University policies. They are also informed of minimum technology requirements and prerequisite knowledge expectations.

The unit commences with an appropriate self-introduction by the instructor and students are invited to introduce themselves as well.

General Standard 2: Learning Objectives (Competencies)

The unit outcomes are measurable and are clearly stated from the student’s perspective. Their relationship with activities is also made clear and they are suitable to the unit level.

General Standard 3: Assessment and Measurement

Assessments measure the learning outcomes and follow a clearly stated grading policy. They are varied but suitable to the work being assessed while students have opportunities to track their progress.

General Standard 4: Instructional Materials

Instructional materials are current and contribute to students achieving stated learning outcomes. Their purpose and usage is clearly explained with a variety of materials being used.

General Standard 5: Learning Activities and Student Interaction

Learning activities promote the achievement of the stated learning outcomes and provide opportunities for interaction.

Expectations regarding response time and assignment feedback as well as requirements for student interaction are clearly stated.

General Standard 6: Unit Technology

It is important that the course tools and technologies enhance the student learning experience and promote opportunities for student engagement, participation and active learning. The tools must also support the learning objectives and competencies related to the unit.

Ensure that your unit technology is current and up-to-date and readily available to your student cohort. Any privacy policies related to your choice of technology need to be accessible and linked from your site.

General Standard 7: Student Support

Learner support material that is made available to your students includes the following: technical support, accessibility policies and services, academic support and student support services. It is important that links to these supports are clearly available or are articulated clearly in your unit.

The course instructions that you provide should include the relevant links or text related to learner support services.

General Standard 8: Accessibility and usability

Navigating through the unit is straightforward for students and information regarding accessibility of all technologies is provided.

Learning materials are accessible to cater for all students (e.g, transcripts for video/audio formats) and the overall unit design allows for easy reading.

How are the Quality Matters applied in a TEL environment?

Smiling student

The application of Quality Matters is encouraged during all stages of the design of your TEL environment.

For example, your design should include clear signposts related to the unit information, learning guide and a clear navigational structure for the whole unit. These design considerations are associated with QM’s General Standard 1.

Other standards relate to the design of learning activities, assessment items, interactive elements, use of technology and accessibility. It is essential that unit learning activities, learning materials and assessment tasks are aligned and made clear to learners.

The standards related to the different phases of the design, development and delivery of your unit are clearly identified and you are encouraged to refer to these guidelines as you design and develop your unit.


Interested in learning more about Quality Matters? Western Sydney University has a subscription with QM and staff can access discounted courses. You can search for a course, workshop or resource on the QM website.

QM Standards

View the list of Specific Review Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition at the Quality Matters website.

View Quality Matters Specific Review Standards (PDF)

© 2018 MarylandOnline, Inc. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission from Quality Matters Rubric Standards. This document may not be copied or duplicated without written permission of Quality Matters. For more information or access to the fully annotated QM Rubric, visit qualitymatters.org or email info@qualitymatters.org