Quality Initiatives


CDL supports instructors through a variety of quality initiatives using the UNM Online Course Standard rubric. This rubric provides a framework for online course design, and serves as a guide for instructors in developing new online courses and in self-assessing existing online courses. Its guidelines will also assist deans, chairs, and distance learning coordinators in developing and improving online course design and instruction in their programs.

The standards behind the rubric were originally guided by ideas from the Provost’s UNM Faculty Online Standards Task Force (2005 – 2009). The Online Course Advisory Council later built on this foundation to develop a rubric that was approved by UNM Faculty Senate Teaching Enhancement Committee in 2013, and recently revised for clarity in 2019. The Rubric provides a framework for online course design based on the University of New Mexico’s online course standards, evidence-based practices for teaching and learning, federal compliance for online courses, and national standards for quality online course delivery (including Practices for Verification of Student Identity and Quality Matters Standards).

There are several quality initiatives that incorporate the Online Course Standards Rubric: New and Redesigned Online Courses, Accelerated Learning Course Reviews, Golden Paw Certification, and Quality Matters.

Online Course Advisory Council Golden Paw Certification

The Golden Paw certification recognizes instructors whose courses have surpassed the highest standards of the Online Course Standards Rubric. Each Fall and Spring semester the Center for Digital Learning will put out a call for applications inviting eligible instructors to nominate their course for a Golden Paw review. To learn more, visit the OCAC Best Practice Initiative page.

Quality Matters

UNM is subscribed to the Quality Matters (QM) Program, a leading online education quality assurance program. QM is a peer-based review and certification program that also provides guidelines for best practices for online course development. To learn more, visit the Quality Matters page.