Why Quality Does Matter
A look at the culture of quality for online education
April 9, 2021 | Yunhong “Tom” Tu Ed.S., M.Ed.,
Florida QM System Lead Coordinator/Instructional Designer,
Distance Learning and Student Services, Florida Virtual Campus
Students can only have the best learning experience if the online courses they are taking are of the highest quality. The stronger the design of the course, the more likely a student will have success.
To ensure courses meet that standard, colleges and universities adopt various quality standards, rubrics, and best practices for online education.
The impetus for Florida’s Quality Initiative was the Florida Board of Governors 2025 SUS Strategic Plan for Online Education, which outlined goals for improved instruction and increased educational opportunities, including that colleges and universities would create a culture of quality for online education. For that goal to be achieved, a process was developed to ensure implementation of quality standards for course design and to create a system in the Florida Virtual Campus online course catalog that identifies online courses as quality or high quality.
FLVC has expanded that effort even further through the Florida Academic Success and Quality Initiative (FLASQ), an important service that focuses on improving the quality of online courses and academic programs to provide a better learning experience for students.
This umbrella of collaboration for all Florida College System and State University System institutions as well as the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida provides access to resources, training and best practices and fosters teamwork among faculty and staff at those institutions. FLASQ includes institutions that either use Quality Matters, a nationally recognized, faculty-driven peer-review process, or other rubrics to evaluate their online and blended courses.
FLVC hosts the statewide license subscription for Quality Matters. Under the Florida Quality Matters Consortium, there are currently 31 colleges and universities that receive important cost savings and important resources by using the Quality Matters statewide subscription through FLVC.
Quality Matters assesses online courses in areas including instructional strategies and delivery methods, technology, and academic and student support services. The review process also involves a team of trained, certified peer reviewers who are all experienced online faculty.
FLVC’s overall goal is to coordinate a community of practice through FLASQ in which instructors and staff have more opportunities to access resources and training for online course quality as well as collaborating with each other to support student success across the state.