With 500 QM-certified courses and counting, the significant milestone and top ranking aligns with the Florida Board of Governors strategic plan for online education.
–By Monica Smith for FIU News
FIU Online is ranked No.1 in the nation for Quality Matters (QM) certified online courses, recognition of the high quality of the university’s online offerings.
Quality Matters is a faculty-centered, peer-reviewed process that helps examine the design of an online course through a comprehensive evaluation process, helping to ensure that students can navigate the courses more easily and with more transparency. FIU has more than 500 QM-certified online courses and is on a path to ensure that most online courses achieve the distinguished certification by 2025.
FIU is one of more than 1,500 national and international institutions that partner with Quality Matters. Each institution subscribes to the non-profit’s prestigious peer-review quality online course design certification process. Today, FIU leads the list, which includes some of the most reputable and well-known educational institutions around the globe from 26 countries and across six continents.
The Quality Matters designation joins recent U.S. News and World Report rankings that put FIU’s online bachelor’s programs in the top 50 among public universities in the nation. FIU also ranked in the top 10 among public universities for its online master’s in business programs (non-MBA), and top 50 for its online master’s criminal justice program, online master’s engineering program, and online MBA program.
“Online is the campus of the future,” said Kenneth G. Furton, FIU’s Provost and Executive Vice President. “FIU has always been committed to quality online instruction and a Quality Matters certified course is the highest recognition of online course design. We made a commitment to support our faculty in designing and redesigning courses to meet Quality Matters standards. This ranking is the result of the hard work of our faculty and our strategic efforts to ensure that all of our students receive an exceptional education.”
The key to success for FIU Online is the department’s learning and design team, which is trained in best practices in building courses with interactive technology. The team works in close collaboration with university faculty to create dynamic virtual environments that combine innovative digital tools and high quality instruction. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when the university’s courses had to suddenly go remote, the team shifted more than 4,600 courses—representing more than 2,400 faculty and 50,000 students—to the new modality.
“Our Learning Design and Innovation team has been an invaluable resource during this time, going above and beyond in partnership with our faculty,” said Lia Prevolis, interim assistant vice president of FIU Online. “Beyond leading the charge to help maintain academic continuity during the university’s emergency response to COVID, the team did not lose sight of quality and worked hard to take FIU to the No. 1 spot for QM-certified courses in the nation.”
Courses undergo a review process with faculty from outside the institution who are trained and certified in the QM process and includes a content discipline expert. Reviewers perform a broad evaluation to gauge each course’s features with 43 specific standards—from overview to usability. Courses that achieve an 85 percent level of compliance with the standards receive a “QM-Recognized” seal.
The university launched the FIU Online Panther Quality Course Design Initiative in support of the Florida Board of Governors’ online course quality standards. This initiative advances the university vision of learning-centered, evidence-based, and culturally responsive teaching. At the same time, the QM process helps fulfill the FIU Online mission to connect FIU students and lifelong learners to the highest quality online educational experience—anytime, anywhere.