Hook, Line & Sinker at Quality Matters

“Charting the Course”, “Navigating the Currents of Change”, “Set Sail on a Course Tour”, “A Voyage through QM”.

The harbor-based puns (and subsequent groaning) came hard and fast at the 6th Annual Quality Matters Conference held in Baltimore, which I was lucky enough to attend and present at in September. The conference attracts faculty, designers and administrators from across the county to learn more about Quality Matters and it is a great opportunity for CATL to learn more about the process, share our progress and network with institutions with similar goals.

With a new rubric released in August, I was excited to learn more about the research that drove the changes and about strategies to communicate those changes to faculty trained on the old rubric. QM does a great job of offering thorough training to reviewers and administrator so that we can effectively discuss the rubric with faculty. However, that thoroughness is often a little too weighty for the more casual QM participant. The conference allowed me to identify the most important changes from a faculty developer perspective and distill it into a 4 minute dorky video.

3 years into our process, we’re in that awkward teenage stage of the QM process. We have a good understanding of how to implement the rubric, vocal and enthusiastic advocates in both faculty and administration, and a set process to support instructors through redevelopment and review. However, we haven’t really started to study the impact the process is having on teaching and learning on campus. I presented a session called “Is it Working? Stop Assuming, Start Assessing” that focused on the process we’re using to build an assessment process on campus. It’s nerve-wreaking to present to 75+ QM experts, but exciting to hear their feedback, questions and comments. To see more on our presentation, check out the presentation resource page.

Finally, as with all conferences, the real joy is in meeting people, networking and learning from each other. As an introvert, conference chat can be a chore for me but I went armed with two strategies. I participated in two half-day workshops that included extensive group work that allowed me to make deeper connections with people. And Twitter. The ability to join conversations on Twitter has revolutionized the way I participate in conferences. I can pose question, comments, and suggestions in a time-frame that works for me – either real-time or after some reflection. The interaction is focused on the content, substantial and entertaining and the strategy has led to me making contacts both virtually and in person.

As with all good conferences, I returned a little QMed-out, but full of great ideas, different perspectives, and new contacts. So now I need to get my thinking cap on for puns for next year’s conference in San Antonio.

Joanne DolanJoanne Dolan
Instructional Design Coordinator,

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