Online Learning at Rush University Prospering, Receives Fifth Quality Matters Certification

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Adult Learner online course offered by the Health Sciences PhD program in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University was recently certified by Quality Matters, or QM, for its course design excellence. It’s the latest recognition for the University’s growing online learning efforts.

The Health Sciences PhD online program now has five courses certified by QM, an independent, national program that uses standards grounded in research to measures and guarantee the quality of online courses. The other QM-certified Health Sciences courses at Rush are Leadership in Higher Education (certified in 2019), Issues and Trends in Health Care (2018), Methods and Evaluation (2017), and Leadership Theory (2015).

Over the past year, 953 online higher education courses in the U.S. have received QM certification. Courses maintain certification for five years unless 20 percent or more of the course framework changes, which requires a recertification application.

“I’m very proud,” says Douglas Kuperman, PhD, chair of the Department of Health Sciences at Rush and director of the PhD in Health Sciences program. “Online education can be done extremely well, and certification through Quality Matters helps validate our efforts by having a third party evaluate our courses.”

Courses are eligible for QM certification if they receive a minimum score of 85 percent, meeting a set of eight standards, including 43 specific review standards and all essential standards, that are updated periodically based on literature reviews and standards in the fields of instructional design and online learning. QM looks for quality course design in areas such as accessibility and usability for all learners, technology that fosters student and faculty interaction, and measurable learning objectives.

QM certification gives students a way to evaluate online course quality as they consider programs to apply to and helps ensure a quality learning experience for them once enrolled in a QM-certified course. The certification process is also beneficial for the instructors as they aim for continuous improvement and quality benchmarking.

“Going through the process of certification helps instructors improve their ability to construct courses,” says Kuperman, who is aiming to have two courses certified by QM each year. “It’s a learning opportunity for them, too.”

Lynette Washington, an instructional designer and the QM coordinator at Rush, helped the Department of Health Sciences navigate the quality assurance process with QM. She performs an internal review to ensure courses meet QM’s strict standards before the course is put through QM’s official review process.

“Hats off to the College of Health Sciences for putting in the effort to get these courses recognized,” Washington says. “It lets people know Rush is serious about making sure students graduate with the skills they need to be successful.”

Online learning at Rush

Along with the PhD in Health Sciences, the following College of Health Sciences programs have an online component:

  • Bachelor of Science in Imaging Sciences
  • Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Management
  • Specialist in Blood Bank Technology Certificate

In addition, the Rush University College of Nursing is the top-ranked online graduate nursing program in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Online Programs list. The following College of Nursing degree options are available online:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program
    • Nursing Leadership for RNs: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs
    • Advanced Public Health Nursing
    • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
    • Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist
    • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
    • Psychiatric -Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Transformative Leadership: Population Health
    • Transformative Leadership: Systems
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Science
    • BSN-PhD
    • Master’s-PhD

Several doctoral courses at Rush are available to students across the University’s four colleges. Learn more about programs at Rush.