Lynch & Gaston

Quality Matters Impact on Student Outcomes in an Online Program 

Susan Lynch, University of North Carolina Charlotte
Teresa Gaston, University of North Carolina Charlotte


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of courses redesigned using Quality Matters (QM) on student learning in an online program at a large university in the southeastern United States. The QM Rubric for course design is widely used in higher education. However, research about its use in nursing education is understudied. This pilot project compared 100% online courses—two courses redesigned to meet QM standards and two traditionally designed courses by faculty. Student outcomes such as quality of online discussion forums, student end of course evaluations, and end-of-course grades, were measured and analyzed. The data analysis included descriptive statistics and parametric group comparisons. Results showed that all indicators, although not statistically significant, were more positive in the QM-redesigned courses. As online education programs continue to explode, assurance of quality in course design is a key factor in meeting student needs.

Keywords: online education, Quality Matters, distance education, student outcomes

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