Design Rubrics

In the infancy of technology enhanced courses and distance learning, courses were created somewhat haphazardly based on available technology and demands. Since then, researchers have battled back against the scrutiny of online classes by conducting research trying to determine the most effective ways to design and deliver content. The result of this research has led to the development of a number of quality enhancement rubrics that can be used when designing and reviewing courses. Although these rubrics were initially designed for online courses, they can be used with any technology enhanced course, whether it be a traditional course or a fully distance course.

Listed below are three of the more highly used quality enhancement rubrics. Many of the elements on these rubrics are the same, but each rubric offers subtle differences:

Quality Matters website

Focus: Course Design

Quality Matters is not just a rubric, but rather a process that once completed leads to a higher quality course. The rubric is just one piece of the overall process.

The Quality Matters rubric uses a quantitative approach to course design. Quality Matters has specified a number of criteria found in high quality courses and has given each element a designated point value. Therefore, when using the rubric, you can judge how well your course is based on the total score that is tallied up on the rubric.

More information about the Quality Matters rubric can be found at Additionally, users can download a basic copy of the rubric for individual use (you must create an account to access the rubric).

University of California – Chico Rubric for Online Instruction (ROI)

Focus: Course Design and Delivery

The ROI can be applied to any course with online elements. It represents a developmental process for online course design rather than a guide to make curriculum or technology choices. The ROI was constructed to promote course assessment based on University expectations, to guide course redesign using instructional design principles, and to recognize instructors who have developed expertise in online instruction.

The ROI was developed by a consortium of CSU, Chico educators who wished to build and share a tool to assist in the design and evaluation of online or blended courses. Through Creative Commons (CC) licensing, the ROI can be applied, adapted, or adopted to any course that uses a learning management system. Educators may use and modify any or all parts of the ROI in accordance with the terms of the CC license.