OSU Quality Matters Spotlight: Catherine P. Montalto, Ph.D.

Catherine P. Montalto, Ph.D.: Associate Professor. College of Education and Human Ecology Department of Human SciencesPicture of Catherine Montalto

What motivated you to get involved with Quality Matters (QM)?

“The primary factor that motivated me to get involved with Quality Matters was the potential to enhance student learning in a 100% online delivered course. In a 100% online delivered course, the instructional materials need to not only deliver the subject matter content to the students, but to also help the students use the instructional materials in order to be prepared for course assessment, and to ultimately meet the course learning objectives. When students understand how the parts of the online delivered course fit together, and are guided in the use of instructional materials, students learning is enhanced. Quality Matters helped me to develop instructional materials that meet these criteria.”

Why is QM important to you?

“Student learning and capacity building guide my scholarship and are very important to me. QM is a recognized body of knowledge and practice focused on design and delivery of instructional materials that produce defined and measureable student learning. As a teacher, the QM standards helped me focus on important course components and hone the components for clarity and effective use by the students.”

What is some advice you would give someone wanting to get involved with QM?

“The advice I would give someone who wanted to get involved with QM is to “do it”! From my experience as an instructor who submitted a course for QM Review, I appreciate the expertise of the members of the team that reviewed my course and provided suggestions and recommendations for improvement. In order for courses to be reviewed, good reviewers are needed, so if you are interested in becoming a QM reviewer, “do it”! I would also encourage instructors to use the Quality Matters standards to guide the development or revision of online courses in order to enhance student learning. From my perspective as an instructor, the changes I made to my course via the QM review process have improved the course navigation which better connects students with the content and the learning objectives.”

How do you see QM impacting students?

“Quality Matters focuses on clearly linking (or aligning) the course learning objectives with the instructional materials, learning activities, and assessment. When students are able to see how all the parts of a course are related, they are more likely to utilize the course components as intended and to achieve the course learning objectives – yielding student learning.”

How do you see QM impacting instructors?

“Most instructors “know” how the parts of the course are related, but Quality Matters makes these relationships explicit and provides instructors with an opportunity to carefully and clearly delineate these relationships. In this explicit process, instructors may discover missing components, or uncover unintended redundancy, and these weaknesses can be eliminated during the course revision process, resulting in a stronger, more cohesive course.”

How do you see QM impacting OSU?

“As Quality Matters continues to gain momentum at Ohio State and more courses become QM certified, Ohio State’s reputation as a provider of high quality online education will grow. The expanding QM community at Ohio State will generate more QM certified courses thus producing increased student learning.”

How do you see QM growing at OSU?

“Workshops and presentations on QM have increased knowledge and understanding of QM, and, in turn, have fueled interest in QM. Additionally, as more OSU personnel go through QM training and/or submit courses for QM review, word of mouth will also contribute to the growth of QM.”

Why is QM important for OSU?

“QM provides a “signal” of quality of online delivered courses, which can contribute to Ohio State’s reputation as a provider of high quality online education. QM provides recommendations for course design and delivery that enhance student learning which ultimately contributes to a quality educational experience for our students.”

Why is QM is important for Higher Education?

“QM is important for Higher Education because QM contributes to quality educational experiences for students — an important metric by which the value of higher education is assessed.”

What was the course review process like for you?

“Overall the course review process was constructive and educational. The course review process provided me with an opportunity to carefully and explicitly focus on the connections between the learning objectives of the course and all of the essential course components. Areas of omission or redundancy were identified and corrected in the process of preparing for the QM review. By following the QM standards, I was able to make changes in the course so that the course was more easily and efficiently navigated by the students.”

What were some of the challenges with the Course Review?

“The biggest challenge I faced with the course review was becoming familiar with and really understanding the QM terminology and the important distinctions between the QM Standards. The professional staff at Ohio State was very helpful in answering questions and providing examples that enabled me to grasp important concepts. Another challenge was simply protecting my time so that I could concentrate on completion of the detailed course worksheet for the QM review.”

What is some advice you would give someone wanting to go through his or her first QM review?

“My advice to someone wanting to go through a QM review is to work closely with the professional staff at Ohio State. I was fortunate to work with four members of the Educational Technology professional staff in my college over the course of my QM experience. My experience started with converting a face-to-face course to a 100% online delivered course. The development of the online course was guided by the QM standards. Once the online course was in place, I submitted the course for an informal QM review. The recommendations and suggestions from the informal review were incorporated into my course. Finally, the course was submitted for an official QM review, and the recommendations and suggestions from the official review were incorporated into the course. At every step in the process I worked closely with one or more members of the professional staff. The professional staff were excellent sounding boards and advisors”

What is one thing that you learned during this review that you hope to use in your future courses?

“The QM review reinforced the importance of clearly delineating relationships between learning objectives, instructional materials, learning activities, and assessment as the fundamental building blocks of a course. This is not a place to cut corners — take whatever time is necessary to clearly and explicitly delineate these relationships, and then developing the rest of the course will follow naturally.”

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at lombardo.89@osu.edu to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

The ODEE Quality Matters blog can be found at the ODEE Quality Matters Blog