97 Quality Check for Online Courses

Quality Check for Online Courses

This page can be used as a tool to help instructors ensure that their online course is high in quality. Below is an online course framework quality checklist to ensure that students are getting the most out of their online experience. There are also additional resources listed to further ensure online course quality.                                                          


  • Content for Reading & Collecting: Instructor provides methods to acquire and collect information.
  • Activities for Reflection: Instructor provides multiple methods to reflect on content & concepts.
  • Content & Activities for Visual Learning: Instructor provides methods to display content & concepts.
  • Activities for Hands-on Application: Instructor provides methods to engage with content & concepts.
  • Balanced Content & Participation: Course provides opportunities for student ownership in the learning process


  • Pre-Course Communication: Course communicates to students in advance where and when to log-on.
  • Syllabus: Instructor provides a thorough syllabus including course objectives, schedule, & expectations.
  • Learning Objectives: Instructor clearly communicates the learning objectives in the syllabus.
  • Instructor to Class Interaction: Instructor posts news/announcements on a regular basis.
  • Instructor to Student Interaction: Instructor has provided opportunities and guidelines for students to contact instructor and has set reasonable expectations for response turn-around.
  • Student to Student Interaction: Instructor has built in opportunities for students to interact.
  • Guided Learning: Instructor provides ongoing, regular support to students.


  • Check Student Learning: Instructor has incorporated multiple methods to check student learning.
  • Feedback: Instructor has built-in methods to provide regular feedback to students.


  • Consistency: Course reflects consistency in design and placement of content.
  • Accessibility: Course is accessible when using screen readers and other assistive technologies


  • Student Satisfaction: Instructor provides opportunities both during and after the course for students to give feedback about both their own personal learning experience and the course as a whole.
  • Course Review: The course content is reviewed regularly, particularly after updating content or assessments, to make sure that the learning objectives are still the main drivers of the course.

Online Distance Education Qualification

This is based on the Department of Education federal regulation, 34 CFR 600.2(a).

  • Instructor Interaction: Course must include regular and substantive interaction that is primarily initiated by the instructor.
  • Instructor Driven: The instructor drives the pace of the course, and it is largely not self-paced.
  • Authentication: The course requires proof of student identity through some form of a secure log-in (i.e. StarID used in D2L Brightspace)
  • Academic Record: The course uses a system that is able to document student activity to demonstrate regular and substantive interaction between instructor and students as well as among students. (i.e. D2L Brightspace)

Quality Matters    

What is Quality Matters? Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the design quality of online courses and online components. QM provides on-site, online, and web-based professional development opportunities. In addition, QM provides a rubric that outlines principles of effective design for teaching classes online.


Learn more about our institution’s support for Quality Matters Professional Development, and Course Certification here.

This work is adapted from the Quality Check for Online Courses by the Center for Teaching Excellence, Southern Illinois University 8/27/2013.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/.


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Maverick Learning and Educational Applied Research Nexus Copyright © 2021 by Minnesota State University, Mankato is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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