Focus on Quality: Teaching Online

Five GRCC faculty enrolled in the Quality Matters APPQMR training over the summer. English Professor Mursalata Muhammed shares here why she took the training and what she got out of it…

Why I Took the Quality Matters Rubric – Mursalata Muhammad

Greetings colleagues –

I wanted to share with you the reasons I decided to take the Quality Matters applying the rubric training earlier this summer – which is offered through the Distance Learning department.

I’d given myself a three-year timeline for improving how I teach online – and – even though I’d taken the online hybrid course certification GRCC offers in-house, some time ago, it just simply wasn’t enough for what I needed as a teacher.

I found moving what in do in the traditional, in-seat class to an online environment overwhelming. I needed to see improvement, and earlier this year I was nearing that three-year mark for myself. I was about ready to quit – specifically teaching freshman composition EN 101 online. I have the most trouble with that specific course. So, I took the workshop and was happy with the information I received because, yes, there are nationally recognized quality standards that we should be following for our online course design, and it’s not for lack of trying here at the Community College. But this level of standards wasn’t available to me before I took the Quality Matters workshop.

What I found for me – specifically – was what I needed to know as a designer and how to design learning online. Things I do intuitively in the classroom and in one-on-one interactions with students aren’t simple for me to translate into the online environment. The Quality Matters rubric workshop gave me a set of multiple standards that helped me better articulate teaching habits that I don’t think about but just do.

The Quality Matters workshop allowed me to take a step back and to observe how one thing that I might do in the traditional class requires multiple steps when translated into the online classroom. The workshop helped me turn off my automatic pilot long enough the make better learning design decisions – this is good for teaching in any environment.

My takeaway: there are concrete actions I can employ to improve how I teach composition online. Additionally, I was able to apply many of the strategies from the workshop to my template course. I keep a working template Blackboard course for classes I teach. In this way, I was able to see improvements in course design and my teaching while taking the Quality Matters workshop.

I found the Quality Matters rubric workshop useful. If you want more information about it from me, send me an email or give me a call.


Author: Bill Knapp

Supporting the college campus community in the selection, use, and application of technology for teaching and learning since 1997. Tweets @ITBill and blogs @

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