Course quality standards for iCourses

Beginning Summer 2023, all new iCourses must meet quality standards prior to course launch.The Instructional Designer Sr. in the Dean's Office, Joan, will review new iCourses using this worksheet, which includes the Essential ASU quality standards and the Quality Matters (QM standards): 

All faculty and IDs are welcome to use the worksheet to evaluate how well a new or existing online course meets the standards. 

The standards are also detailed below.

Essential ASU quality standards

The College Dean's Office Instructional Design team has established the following essential course quality standards for iCourses. These standards are based upon the ASU Online standards and the ASU ID community's expertise in online course design.

  • The course is built in Canvas, and the designated department template is applied: ASU Online Canvas template, The College Canvas template, or unit template. This is evidenced by the inclusion of the following menu links:
    • Home, Announcements, Syllabus, Modules, Grades, Resources, Accessibility, ASU Course Policies, Time in AZ
    • All other menu links that are not pertinent to students in this course are hidden
  • The Syllabus page includes the required syllabus criteria:

    • Course & faculty information, learning objectives, text and other required materials, course access, computer and technology requirements, student success, grading and procedure, submitting assignments, late or missed assignments, communication with the instructor, ASU course policies, generative AI policy, academic integrity policy and copyright, accessibility statements, and syllabus disclaimer

  • Course includes multiple instructor/faculty-recorded videos (mini-lectures, demonstrations, interviews) to engage students. 

    • Met: There are some instructor-created videos that align with the learning activities and course content.

    • Exemplary: There is a Meet Your Instructor and/or Course overview video in Module 0 AND each module includes instructor-recorded videos to enhance the learning of key concepts AND

      • videos are captioned AND

      • videos are generally not longer than 10-15 minutes each AND

      •  videos have clear audio and lighting, and a non-distracting background

  • Written course content and assignment instructions are clear and succinct.

    • Exemplary: All instructions are written in actionable steps; each step begins with an active verb. Example: "Write a 250-word summary. Include the following items [...]. Submit your summary as a Word attachment or Google Doc link."

  • Course content is organized into weekly modules or units  and facilitates sequential student navigation.

    • Met: Each module contains all items students must do each week: objectives, learning materials, activities, and assignments.

    • Exemplary: Canvas item titles are descriptively labeled based on the activity, such as “Module 1: Assignment - Mitosis Worksheet” instead of “Module 1: Worksheet”, “Mitosis” or “Module 1: Mitosis"

  • Course is organized and optimized for student success with an appropriate course workload in the scheduled time frame.

    • Met: The total approximate coursework load is 45 hours per credit, i.e. 135 coursework hours for a 3-credit course, to meet ABOR requirements AND

      • Modules in the course are consistent in terms of both timespan and total student workload

    • Exemplary: Time estimates are provided for activities AND

      • A guide or checklist for all assignments is provided to help students plan and track their progress 

  • Course includes Instructor guide or “Notes for future instructors” document.

    • Instructor guide notes should be provided for future instructors who may be assigned to teach the course and may include to-dos, for the instructor and may include answer keys, clarification of which elements should or should not be modified by whomever teaches the course and other helpful tips should another instructor teach the course.

Quality Matters (QM) Standards

ASU looks to Quality Matters (QM) as the authority on course quality. QM established a rubric of course quality standards that are research-based and grounded in best practices. 

What are the QM quality standards? The QM rubric standards are "the keys to achieving the goals of ensuring quality for learners — and for you to deliver on your promise to them." (

The General Standards of the Quality Matters Rubric are: 

  • Course Overview and Introduction
  • Learning Objectives
  • Assessment and Measurement (Assignments)
  • Instructional/ Learning Materials
  • Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
  • Course Technology
  • Learner Support
  • Accessibility and Usability

ASU Online Faculty Expectations website - See the Design Standards checklist for the QM standards that EdPlus has determined are the most essential in o-courses. Alternatively, you can complete this course quality self-check

By following our four-step process, design, build, review, and teach, your course should meet these quality standards!