COVID Transitions – MindWires Consulting

COVID Transitions – MindWires Consulting

Episode 15A: Rubric’s Cube – Intro

August 26, 2020

Earlier this month Phil asked a question on Twitter about what he perceived as a rising pushback to the growing usage of faculty training based on the Quality Matters Course Design Rubric. That question led to a rich discussion – both pro and con – on the usage of the QM rubric in the attempt to improve online teaching in Fall 2020. The QM staff requested that we help with an alternate forum for them to address some of the issues raised online.

This is the first in a special series of podcast episodes on an important topic as we try to migrate from emergency remote teaching to purposely-designed quality online education.

* 15A: Introduction of topic* 15B: Interview with Bethany Simunich and Brendy Boyd from Quality Matters* 15C: Interviews with Stephanie Moore and Jesse Stommel


Phil: Welcome to COVID Transitions, where we discuss a lot of the transition that higher education has gone through and is going through due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m Phil Hill, and I’m here with Jeanette Wiseman and Kevin Kelly. Earlier this month, we had an interesting situation where I put out what I thought was an innocuous tweet asking about why am I starting to see more pushback on Quality Matters and its usage during professional development this summer. I’m not arguing for or against it, but is there something that happened on why this is becoming more discussed out in the open?

For those who don’t know, Quality Matters is a non-profit organization that provides a rubric of course design standards and creates a replicable peer review process, the goals being: training and empowering faculty to evaluate courses against these standards; providing guidance for improving the quality of courses; and certifying the quality of online and blended [00:01:00] college courses across institutions. And boy, it seemed like the Twitter conversation tapped a vein. We got all kinds of conversations going back and forth, a lot of it quite emotional where you get the sense that there was really pent up feeling behind this issue, that this is a topic that’s really hitting people right now and then they’re starting to let it out. Twitter is not the best medium to explore topics in more depth, and we agreed with Quality Matters request to provide a different forum.

Hence the special podcast series. In this first episode, Jeanette, Kevin and I introduce the topic. In the second episode, I interviewed Bethany Simunich and Brenda Boyd from Quality Matters to hear their perspective directly and in depth. And the third episode, I interviewed Stephanie Moore from the University of New Mexico and Jessi Stommel from Hybrid Pedagogy as they provide a critical perspective, albeit with constructive criticism and suggestions. [00:02:00]

But before we do that, the first thing that struck me surprised me all of the responses we got, but I guess the general sense that I got on why this became a big topic is because of how Quality Matters is getting implemented, particularly now as a method for administrators and schools to try to get either control over online education, or to help them migrate what they think is moving from emergency remote teaching to true online education. So it’s becoming the tool to say we have to get all faculty doing quality online education. And it’s the way that it gets applied is a huge portion of why there’s a lot of frustration and emotion out there.

But to get started, did this discussion surprise both of you guys? And, you know, why do you think there was such a strong online discussion on this top...