Public Health Course Earns Quality Matters Certification

Portrait of Margaret Murphy and Rebecca Andridge

The online course Design and Analysis of Studies in the Health Sciences I (PUBHBIO 6210), offered through Ohio State’s College of Public Health, was recently certified by Quality Matters (QM), an external organization that sets baseline, research-supported standards to ensure quality design for online and hybrid courses.

Courses can become QM certified if QM reviewers determine it meets standards for course design, said Ohio State Lead QM Coordinator Timothy Lombardo. Currently, nine of Ohio State’s online and hybrid courses are QM certified. The Office of Distance Education and eLearning uses the QM Rubric as part of its quality assurance process as it develops courses, as do several Ohio State colleges including the College of Public Health.

Lombardo helped walk Public Health Instructional Design Coordinator Margaret Murphy and biostatistics professor Rebecca Andridge, PhD, through the QM review process. Andridge had used the QM Rubric as a guide when she designed the course in 2014. She worked with Murphy to fill out the Course Worksheet, which the review team uses to help evaluate the course against the rubric.

“We did as much as we could on the front end as we were building the course (three or four years ago) according to the rubric,” Adridge said. “It was just going back through to make sure we hit all the standards. Then we contacted Tim to go through the formal process.”

The process of building and refining a course for QM certification isn’t too time-consuming. “Pursuing QM is not overly burdensome as long as you’ve given some thought to accessibility and how the course was built – things you should already be doing,” she said.

Though their course didn’t meet QM standards upon its first review, Murphy and Andridge were able to make the review team’s suggestions fairly easily, and the course was certified upon amendment.

“When we didn’t pass the first time I was a little surprised because this is our superstar course,” Murphy said, but all the changes the team suggested made the course stronger for students.

“It was a great accomplishment well deserved, but it’s more than a stamp. We really liked how the course looked.”

And once they heard that PUBHBIO 6210 was certified?

“It was a great accomplishment well deserved,” Murphy said, “but it’s more than a stamp. We really liked how the course looked.”

Murphy and Andridge are proud to be a part of the College of Public Health’s commitment to pursuing certification for additional courses as part of its Council on Education for Public Health accreditation and in support of Ohio State’s quality assurance goals.

“In terms of getting the stamp, it’s a marker of quality and consistency, and that’s a huge benefit to the student,” Andridge said.