Ashford University First to Receive Quality Matters™ Institutional Recognition

SAN DIEGO, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashford University is the first university in the nation to receive full institutional recognition for its institution level implementation plan from The Quality Matters™ program for the university's commitment to online course quality.

Ashford University offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in subjects ranging from business administration to sociology. Quality Matters' original format was for a course-by-course recognition, so earlier this year Ashford University submitted and received recognition for two communication courses.

Recently, Quality Matters announced a new form of institutional recognition for universities willing to make a commitment to implement the Quality Matters standards at a program or institutional level. Ashford University submitted an implementation plan that met all qualifications for institutional-level recognition. This is a rigorous implementation plan to certify all new and existing courses in the stringent, standards-based review process.

"We are honored to receive such an important distinction from Quality Matters," Ashford University Provost Dr. Elizabeth Tice said. "Third party validation is important, because it shows we are doing good work and serves as a benchmark for all others to measure against. We take our curriculum very seriously and passed with high marks.

"While the program is relatively new, we believe that Quality Matters will eventually become the industry-wide standard designed to recognize the quality of online courses," Dr. Tice explained.

According to Quality Matters, for any individual course to be recognized it, "must have met a set of 40 specific elements distributed across eight broad standards." These eight standards include course overview and introduction, learning objectives, assessment and measurement, resources and materials, learner engagement, course technology, learner support and accessibility.

In addition, a team of three peer reviewers, including at least one independent peer reviewer, is trained to use the Quality Matters Rubric to review the quality of each online course. To receive the recognition, a course must demonstrate all essential review elements and receive a combined total score of 68 out of 80 possible points, or a minimum score of 85 percent.

Receiving the Quality Matters distinction has the following advantages for Ashford University and its faculty and the students:

  • Improved student learning outcomes and retention;
  • Adoption of a systematic and comprehensive continuous quality assurance process that includes faculty training, course development, and course revisions that are aligned with accreditation standards;
  • Opportunity to engage in benchmarking activities with peer institutions;
  • Ongoing faculty professional development;
  • Increased efficiency in using institutional resources.

"Ashford University is committed to implementing the Quality Matters standards for the design of online courses and is systematically building and evaluating its courses based on these rigorous, research-based standards," Dr. Tice said. "The Quality Matters standards ensure that the online components of these courses promote learner engagement and provide students with the tools and information they require to be successful learners."

Further information regarding Quality Matters may be found at www.qualitymatters.org.

For more information about Ashford University, please visit www.ashford.edu. Enrollment advisors may be reached at 1-800-877-1192.

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is a coeducational institution regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with programs in education, business, accounting, criminal and social justice, computer animation and graphic design, and other areas. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a range of student activities and athletics, at its Clinton campus. Online degree programs are available in education, organizational management, business administration, and psychology. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable on-campus and online programs, with tuition fees among the lowest in the U.S. compared to other private institutions. Its tagline is: "Higher Education Made Affordable"(SM). For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu or contact Shari Rodriguez, director of Public Relations, at 858.513-9240 x2513.

About The Quality Matters Program

The Quality Matters™ program is a faculty-centered peer course review Quality Assurance process. Review criteria are linked to external standards; criteria and process are supported through instructional design principles; and the process is vetted by faculty experts. The goals of the program are to increase student retention, learning and satisfaction in online courses by implementing better course design. Quality Matters is sponsored by Maryland Online and has been adopted by hundreds of higher education institutions across 35 states and Canada.

    Contact: Shari Rodriguez, Director of Public Relations
    858.513.9240 x2513 [email protected]
    or
    Ana Tackett, Mullen Public Relations
    602.222.4343 [email protected]

SOURCE: Ashford University

Web site: http://www.ashford.edu/