Quality Matters Standard 4
Instructional Materials

Specific Review Standards

4.1 The instructional materials contribute to the achievement of the stated learning objectives or competencies.

4.2 The relationship between the use of instructional materials in the course and completing learning activities is clearly explained.

4.3 The course models the academic integrity expected of learners by providing both source references and permissions for use of instructional materials.

4.4 The instructional materials represent up-to-date theory and practice in the discipline.

4.5 A variety of instructional materials is used in the course.


Designing Instructional Materials

  •  Explain the purpose of instructional materials so students understand why and how to use the materials (4.2)
  •  For each module, the sequence of instructional materials and learning activities is obvious (4.2)
  •  If students will be finding their own resources, provide guidelines for how students should evaluate and select resources (4.3)
  •  Provide appropriate academic citations for instructional materials (4.3)
  •  Instructional materials are current and represent up-to-date practice in the field, or are historical or seminal to the discipline (4.4)
  •  The instructional materials represents diverse perspectives (4.5)
  •  The instructional materials offers student choice and multiple modalities (4.5)
  •  If offered, optional materials are clearly marked and relevance to learning activities clearly explained (4.2)

Alignment

Learning objectives form the foundation of your course and should drive your selection of materials, assessments, activities, and technology tools. Keep in mind that module learning objectives should support the course level objectives.

Alignment occurs when course components are consistent with your learning objectives, so that materials, activities, and assessments work together to ensure that learners are achieving the stated outcomes.

Instructional materials should be specifically chosen to help learners meet the course and module level learning objectives, providing the best opportunity to learn what is expected of them in the most direct way possible.


Toolkit

  • Discover or curate content first, and then identify gaps before creating new content.
  • Group instructional materials with associated learning activities and assessments.
  • Provide and clearly mark optional materials for pre-requisites or extended learning.
  • Explain the purpose of instructional materials so students understand why and how to use the materials.
  • Ensure that the sequence of instructional materials and learning activities for each module is obvious.
  • If students will be finding their own resources, provide guidelines for how they should evaluate and select them.
  • Model good citation practices by providing appropriate academic citations for instructional materials.
  • Make sure that instructional materials are current and represent up-to-date practice in the field, or are historical or seminal to the discipline.
  • When possible, select instructional materials that represent diverse perspectives.
  • Provide instructional materials that offer student choice and multiple modalities.
  • Clearly mark any optional materials and explain their relevance to learning activities.

Next Steps

Learning activities and interaction are a core component of a well-designed online course. See Course Quality Checklist and Toolkit 5 – Learning Activities and Learner Interaction for strategies to help you meet this standard.

See our other Course Quality Checklists for more information:

 

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The University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies | Adapted from Northern Illinois University Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning 6/27/2020 | © 2014 New Mexico State University Board of Regents | Quality Matters https://www.qmprogram.org | Revised 4/14/2021

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