distance at fsu | Office of Distance Learning

FSU Online Quality Initiative


We are currently accepting applications for FSU quality certification. See How to Get a Course FSU-Certified below for details.


FSU's Online Quality Initiative promotes academic excellence in distance learning courses and provides a strong foundation for student success in the online learning environment. With increased support for online course design and a course certification process focused on student success, FSU is removing barriers to learner achievement in distance learning courses. Together, we’re taking "distance" further!

What Does a Quality Online Course Look Like?

FSU uses the nationally recognized Quality Matters rubric to assess the quality of its online courses. To receive a passing score and an FSU-certified quality online course designation, your course will need to meet all of the rubric’s “essential” standards, plus an additional standard involving multimedia accessibility. This will involve creating measurable course- and module-level learning objectives and aligning them with learning activities, attending to principles of universal design, developing accessible course materials, and including course elements that engage students and promote a quality learning experience.   


More student interactions

Quality Matters Standard #5 focuses on how well learning activities provide learner interaction in support of active learning.


Better student participation

Quality Matters Standard #3 focuses on assessment and how well a course connects the learner's work to the grading policy.


Technology supports learning

Quality Matters Standard #6 focuses on the inclusion of various technologies to promote learner engagement and active learning.


Higher course evaluation marks

In one study, students enrolled in Quality Matters courses gave higher marks on course evaluations than those enrolled in non-QM courses.*

FSU Course Certification

FSU reviews all online courses for alignment with quality standards. We already boast an extensive catalog of courses that demonstrate high standards of academic quality and rigor. So why go to the trouble of certifying a course for quality? Course certification helps FSU affirm that all online courses demonstrate our university’s core values for academic excellence, diversity, and student success. Regardless of the course, students can count on an experience designed to promote their success online.

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illustrated representation of steps 1-5


A certified quality course meets all essential standards for course quality, provides access to course materials in alternative formats that meet the needs of diverse learners, and involves two course reviewers.

illustrated representation of steps 1-5

High Quality

A certified high-quality course meets all essential standards for course quality, receives 85% or greater of the available points on the Quality Matters rubric, provides access to course materials in alternative formats that meet the needs of diverse learners, and involves three course reviewers.

How to Get a Course FSU-Certified

Ready to take your course to the next level? We’ll provide the training and resources you need to prepare your online course for Quality Matters review and certification. During a one- to two-semester timeframe, you’ll learn how to apply QM standards in your course, receive one-on-one guidance and support as you prepare your course for the review, and participate in an official, QM-managed review of your course. A stipend is available for instructors whose courses successfully pass QM review and achieve high-quality certification. Click or tap below for a more detailed look at what’s involved (view as PDF):

Full text transcript


Course Certification Schedule

While our goal is to certify as many courses as possible, to ensure the best outcomes for course quality and instructor experience, we accept a limited number of courses per cycle.

Fall 2022 dates coming soon ...


Ready to get started?

ODL offers training, support resources, and guidance for all instructors who design or revise a course to meet Quality Matters’ high-quality standards. After successful completion of training and course certification, instructors can expect the following acknowledgments:

  • Applying the QM Rubric Digital Credential
  • QM Course Certification Badge
  • Course Quality Report
  • Provost's Letter of Recognition

In addition to the above, instructors who successfully achieve high-quality course certification are eligible for the FSU Excellence in Online Teaching award.

*In a study published by Florida International University in July 2016 (The Benefits of Quality Matters Certification: What the Analytics Reveal), students rated their Quality Matters courses higher in every category when compared to non-Quality Matters courses. They also rated their instructors 12% higher in QM versus non-QM courses.


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