LCCC becomes Quality Matters members to improve online learning

CHEYENNE, Wyoming – Laramie County Community College, in a commitment to ensuring it is delivering outstanding online courses, has joined Quality Matters (QM), an international leader for quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. 

QM is a nonprofit developed in 2015 that provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and hybrid learning, identifying evidence-based practices on what online learning should look like. As a QM member, LCCC has adopted a rubric with 42 rigorous standards of quality that help faculty design courses so students’ cognitive load can be focused on the content they are learning. A peer review system will allow faculty to continually make improvements to online offerings. QM membership will also allow LCCC to provide faculty with tools, such as ongoing training, to refine courses so they meet current research-supported standards in teaching. 

“The faculty at LCCC are committed to providing not just adequate online courses, but quality online courses that are easy for students to navigate and find information,” said Sue Torney, Speech Language Pathology Assistant Program director and Online Task Force co-chair. “We needed a rubric to assess our courses so that we can consistently have high-quality online course offerings for our students. We want to be a college that has a reputation for outstanding online course options for students.” 

In Fall 2021, LCCC established the Online Task Force, consisting of 15 faculty members who teach online or hybrid courses, to look at how the college can improve online learning. The task force has worked to design a common course layout based on QM standards that will address areas previously identified by LCCC students and the Higher Learning Commission. QM membership will move LCCC toward goals identified in its Strategic Plan 2030, helping provide more complete opportunities to serve the region, allowing the college to engage more individuals and increasing inclusion of people from all backgrounds and circumstances. 

“QM is about continuous improvement, and provides tools and direction to move that continuous improvement forward,” said Zac Roehrs, LCCC biology instructor and Online Task Force co-chair. 

Following its beginning in Spring 2022, the benefits of LCCC’s QM membership can already be seen, but it will take more time to implement and adopt changes across campus, Roehrs said.  

“I think a good chunk of online courses will already start to see improvements in the next year,” he said. “I think real success will be achieved when these practices are more widely adopted by all faculty (where appropriate) and we have developed a peer support and review process on our campus.”

LCCC offers a wide range of online courses and degrees. Go to www.lccc.wy.edu/academics/online/ for more information about LCCC’s online and hybrid learning options.