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Faculty Resources

The Office of eLearning is committed to providing faculty and online program leaders with program and course quality information as well as processes focused on improving student outcomes and program growth. Resources on this page include:

Related resources include:


Quality standards

The UM System Administrative Policies for eLearning – Quality Standards were developed as a result of collaborative effort among faculty, staff and administration systemwide and at the behest of faculty representatives across the UM System. These representatives requested clear, uniform standards that would serve to improve the quality of our students’ experience and help address federal and state laws, regulations and guidelines, as well as meet accrediting body requirements. Several representative groups were involved in the effort, including the UM System Online Faculty Advisory Committee, the eLearning Academic Council and the eLearning Oversight Committee. The latter is comprised of provosts and their delegates, the UM System Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the UM System Vice President for Finance, in accordance with the governance structure for the systemwide eLearning Initiative. 

These quality standards apply to all courses being offered online, including semester-based and self-paced, synchronous and asynchronous courses, as well as online programs (defined as >75% online courses in the program) throughout the UM System.  The quality standards are based on the nationally-recognized Quality Matters approach for online courses and programs, and incorporates aspects of the quality review processes that were historically in place at each university within the UM System.  


Program quality

Part of program quality is ensuring programs have well-defined, clear outcomes for students and that individual course outcomes, assessments and student learning objectives are well-aligned and directly support program outcomes (i.e., curricular alignment). Reporting on curricular alignment is also necessary for accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. To that end, the UM System uses Coursetune to map curricular alignment and to facilitate communication among administration, faculty and the Office of eLearning.  

  • All online programs should have their curricula mapped through Coursetune.  
  • All online programs should have a student academic plan that articulates the pathway to the program completion. For example, undergraduate degrees should have a four-year academic map.


Online course quality

Faculty are required to develop or refresh each online course either in a course development program offered by the Office of eLearning (and run by instructional designers) or in consultation with an instructional designer. All online courses will be reviewed through the Quality Course Review process, which is run through the Office of eLearning.

All new online courses must be reviewed through the Quality Course Review process before the course opens to students. 

  • The Quality Course Review process uses a standard course review form and review process to determine how courses meet the 5 Pillars of Effective Course Design standards, based on the Quality Matters rubric and initiative. 
  • Courses must meet or exceed expectations for all question items on the course review form that end with an asterisk, symbolizing the essential elements that must be met in any online course moving into the eLearning initiative.
  • Courses will be reviewed independently by two reviewers (as described below in the General Process section).
  • If both reviewers agree that the expectations for the essential items have been met, the course is considered to have “passed” Quality Course Review and to have met the quality standards.  

Reviewed 2020-05-19