Improving online STEM courses through Quality Matters Certification
Online STEM teaching is challenging in many ways such as instructor student interaction, clarity in expectations or effectiveness in content delivery. As an effort to better understand and find possible solutions to these issues, the author applied for Quality Matters (QM) certification for a database systems course to improve online course quality. In the subsequent year, the author’s two other stem courses were QM certified. In the process of trying to obtain QM certification, the author was not only able to improve the look and feel of the online course but more importantly, also improved online course content because of applying QM rubrics and standards. The objectives in the courses also support objectives created in the department for ABET accreditation. This paper describes how QM certification helped the instructor to setup an easy to use blackboard site, clear objectives, grading rubrics and assessment methods. Specific module improvements presented in this paper include teaching software tools, video tutorials that support course objectives and grading rubrics. Comparative study results are presented showing significant learning outcome improvements. The paper aims to offer a new angle for educators to look for ways to improve STEM online teaching.