Rio Grande, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College strive to create quality learning environments for students. To expand this mission, one professor has taken quality a step further in the online classroom. Dr. Sarin Williams’s online Music Appreciation course has been certified by Quality Matters, a national organization that judges the design and quality of an online course. Dr. Sarin Williams said she is thrilled her course has been recognized for certification.
“The organization looks at the online course for several different criteria regarding the design of the course, and the design has to meet their standards at or above 85 percent to be a Quality Matters Certified Course,” Dr. Sarin Williams said. “You have to teach the course twice before you can apply for certification and I’ve taught Music Appreciation online for three semesters.”
Quality Matters has several categories for scoring online classes, including reviewing the course set-up from student perspectives of usability and learnability of the course. Dr. Kent Williams, Professor of English and the Quality Matters coordinator at Rio, said he is proud of the work Dr. Sarin Williams put into the application process and is excited to see the course receive certification.
“Quality Matters is a very reputable and outstanding organization that goes to great lengths to help institutions strengthen the quality of their instruction. Sarin went through a lot of hard work and diligent effort to meet their expectations for certification,” Dr. Kent Williams said. “She did a magnificent job and invested so much time into this. Her course is exceptional and at a very high level of professional quality. We are all very proud of her for this accomplishment because it shows the university’s dedication to providing the best education to our students.”
Dr. Sarin Williams is the first professor at Rio to apply for the certification. Her Music Appreciation Course received certification with a 98 percent rating from Quality Matters and is Rio’s first certified online course. She said she was thrilled with these results.
“I was so excited to receive such a high score. Kent and I had to put in a lot of hours making sure everything was in order for the application. He was so helpful in this process and I really appreciate his input and guidance in this,” Dr. Sarin Williams said. “As much as we would have loved the full 100 percent, we knew going into this 98 percent was the highest we could receive because this type of course cannot be accessible to deaf learners. Fortunately, our classroom music appreciation courses can make these types of accommodations so we can provide everyone with a quality fine arts education.”
The online Music Appreciation course is a general education fine arts credit for non-music majors to fulfill course credit requirements for graduation. Dr. Sarin Williams said she is grateful to have her course certified because she feels it reflects the standards of all of Rio’s online courses.
“I think it speaks to the commitment Rio has for quality online learning and working toward that commitment through the national standard,” Dr. Sarin Williams said. “Quality Matters Certification is not something a course is required to have, but going through this process makes it a stronger online course. Online learning allows us to provide a modern service by bringing quality education to the students when so much of their world is already online. It’s an excellent opportunity for independent learners.”