Published on October 16, 2019 by Sarah Cain  

Samford University’s Theory & Philosophy of Nursing and Disaster Preparedness and Response online courses recently earned the Quality Matters (QM) Certification mark, the internationally recognized symbol of online and blended course design quality. The two courses are the first of Samford’s online offerings to undergo the rigorous review process after months of preparation by Maria Ledbetter,  assistant professor in Samford’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing and Lisa Baker, Department of Social Work professor and chair, and instructional designer Taylor Kendrick. 

“The Quality Matters Official Review provided the opportunity to reflect and improve on this course by examining it from the learner perspective,” Baker said.

To receive QM certification, a competitive peer review process uses internationally-recognized standards and best practices to examine critical course components related to the learner experience and ultimately learner success.

Samford’s involvement with QM began after seeing a solution to how the university could consistently recreate its world-class educational experience for remote students while ensuring quality in course design. In addition to the official review QM offers, Samford also developed its own unique two additional levels of approval measured against standards set by QM.

“This milestone achievement represents Samford University’s ongoing commitment to creating learning environments that provide learners with a clear pathway to success,” Marci Johns, associate provost for Accreditation, Online & Professional Studies said. “It could not be achieved without the dedication to continuous improvement and the innovative work of Maria, Lisa and Taylor.”

Johns hopes to see more courses submitted for official review.

“Our goal is to support faculty in the development process and increase our total number of certified courses through the remainder of the academic year,” she said.  “We’ll be offering additional professional development series to encourage participation from faculty who are interested in moving to the next level of online course recognition.”

Samford’s courses are now listed on the QM directory of certified courses.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.