DePaul University Faculty Instructional Technology Services > DOTS > Course Review

Course Review

DOTS Course Review Process

Participants in the DePaul Online Teaching Series (DOTS) program commit to develop at least one hybrid/online course after completing the program’s core activities. Although faculty members work closely with an instructional designer, the course development process is faculty-driven and unless is stated otherwise in the DOTS agreement, the final product is intellectual property of the faculty member, according to DePaul policy.

Why is there a review process for online and hybrid courses?

We established the DOTS course review process in order to confirm and improve the quality of the online/hybrid courses developed by DOTS participants. The course review is exclusively formative in nature, as its primary goal is to give faculty participants extensive feedback aimed at enhancing the design of their courses. Which courses will be reviewed? As indicated in the Course Development Agreement for DOTS, the online/ hybrid courses developed by faculty as a result of their participation of the DOTS program are subject to the review.

What is the primary focus of the review?

The review will focus primarily on the design of the course, offering observations and suggestions on, for example, how well the course is structured, how easy it is for students to navigate, whether the teaching and learning activities are well aligned with learning objectives, how appropriately the instructional strategies and technologies are being used, and the extent to which materials are made accessible for students with different learning needs.
This review process is not intended to evaluate course content, nor will it review faculty performance during the delivery of the course.

What is the primary focus of the review?
The review will focus solely on the design of the course, offering observations and suggestions on, for example, how well the course is structured, how easy it is for students to navigate, whether the teaching and learning activities are well aligned with learning objectives, how appropriately the instructional strategies and technologies are being used, and the extent to which materials are made accessible for students with different learning needs. 

This review process is not intended to evaluate course content, nor will it review faculty performance during the delivery of the course. 

What criteria will be used for the review?

Course review will be conducted using a rubric that combines Quality Matters standards with three pedagogically distinctive features of DePaul online courses. Quality Matters standards address the following eight areas:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Resources and Materials
  5. Learner Engagement
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility

Above and beyond the review of these individual areas, the review examines the alignment of the critical course components - Learning Objectives (II), Assessment and Measurement (III), Resources and Materials (IV), Learner Engagement (V), and Course Technology (VI) to assure that these elements work together and enable students to achieve the desired learning outcomes.

By adding three pedagogically distinctive features to the review, the criteria used for DOTS course review were upgraded to QM+ in 2017. These features include:

  1. Rich student experience due to high degree of personal engagement
  2. High level of instructor presence and student-instructor interaction
  3. Chicago and the world as your classroom

Who will conduct the review?

The review team for DOTS courses consists of instructional designers, teaching and learning experts, and faculty members who have been through Quality Matters course review training. Although the review doesn’t include content area, faculty from related disciplines and subject areas may be selected to participate in the review because of their discipline-specific instructional knowledge.

When will the review be conducted?

DOTS courses should be reviewed either r reviewed prior to the official offering date or after being taught for one term. Successfully passing course review is the final and a required step for DOTS completion. It is highly recommended that the instructors work with their instructional technology consultants to conduct a quality-assurance check before submitting their applications for official course review via QualityMatters.

How will the review be conducted?
The review process consists of the following steps for faculty to take:

  • Step 1: Submitting a Course Review Application
    If you have not created an account with QM, you will need to do that first. Please see the How to Create an Account user guide for instructions. Once you have your account set up you will then need to submit a course review application. Please see the How to Submit a Course Review Application user guide for instructions.
     
  • Step 2: Completing a Custom Worksheet
    After you have submitted your application you will receive an email titled "Quality Matters - MyCr Custom Worksheet Created." Please see the How to fill out the Custom Worksheet user guide for instructions on what to do once you receive this email. It is very important that you will fill out the worksheet as soon as possible because the review can't begin until the worksheet is submitted. We also strongly advise filling out the worksheet with your instructional designer.
     
  • Step 3: (Course Reviewers) Conducting the Review
    Upon receiving the custom worksheet, the QM admin will establish a review team to conduct the review. (If you are serving as a reviewer of a course, please see the How to do a Custom Review for QM+ user guide for instructions on how to review a course.)
     
  • Step 4: Receiving a Review Report
    As soon as the chair of the review team submits the final review report, you will receive an email notification with the report. Please note this email is automatically generated by the Quality Matters course-review system and it should not be considered as a final verdict on the quality of your course design. In most cases, the score may be drastically reduced because of slight design oversights or due to issues that can be fully addressed by minor revisions. 
     
  • Step 5: Conducting Course Revisions (for courses that did not pass the DePaul Internal QM Review)
    In the case that your course did not meet the standards in the first review, you will be able to see reviewer comments on the standards you did not meet and have the opportunity to make the appropriate changes to your course site. You will need to fill out a Outcome Response Form, make the appropriate changes to your course site, and then submit an Amendment Form. The revised course will be reviewed again and a new score will be issued to the items that didn’t pass the review during the first round. Please see the How to Submit your Course Revisions to QM for instructions on submitting the faculty response form and the amendment form.

What are faculty expected to do with the review report?
Faculty should carefully review the report and work with their assigned instructional designer to make revisions based on the reviewers’ feedback. After the revision process is completed, faculty may request the final course development stipend from the Associate Provost for Global Engagement and Online Learning (gbesana@depaul.edu ).

Who will access the review report?
The review is a formative, feedback-gathering process.  The report will only be made available to the faculty member and the DOTS administrator.

How long will the process be?
Depending on the availability of the reviewers, the process may take one to three weeks.