Internet Learning Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 2014 | Page 118

Internet Learning Volume 3 Issue 1 - Spring 2014 Surveying Student Perspectives of Quality: Value of QM Rubric Items Penny Ralston-Berg A The Quality Matters (QM) Rubric is based on academic research. A national survey was conducted to compare QM Rubric item numerical rankings with student rankings of quality elements. Results of the survey are shared. Keywords: online course, quality, student perspective, QM, Quality Matters, course design elements Introduction and Background This survey builds on previous work started in 2007 at University of Wisconsin Extension (Nath & Ralston- Berg, 2008; Ralston-Berg & Nath, 2008; Ralston-Berg & Nath, 2009). The Quality Matters (QM) program offers quality assurance through a research-based rubric for online course design. From an instructional design standpoint, questions arise about the student perspective. If the QM Rubric is based on academic research initiated most often by content experts or others in academia delivering online content, do online students – consumers of those courses – have a differing perspective on what makes a quality online course? Do students agree that items presented in the QM Rubric indicate quality? Are items in the QM Rubric perceived as contributors to student success? Method Data were collected through an online survey made available through a unique URL by a contact person at each participating institution. The URLs were delivered to students via email, a link posted on a CMS home page, or in an online course announcement. Data from each institution were then compiled into a cumulative dataset. Three datasets were gathered from 2010 to 2011. Participants Participants were currently enrolled or had taken online, for-credit courses and were over 18 years of age. Information here describes cumulative results of all datasets for a total online sample of N=3,160 students from 31 institutions in 22 states. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 65+ with the largest group being 26–44-yearolds. They represented 25 areas of study and a range of online experience from 1 to 9+ courses completed. Most participants were enrolled in cohort, for-credit online courses from a four-year institution. The majority were enrolled part time (two or more courses) or full time and reported being comfortable or very comfortable with technology. Survey The instrument contained QM items from the 2008–2010 Rubric converted to student-centered language, open response A Penn State World Campus 117