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Engaged Online Course Initiative

The Office of Online Learning & Academic Programs (OLAP) is excited to announce a new initiative aimed at developing updated standards for quality online course design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The university has joined Quality Matters (QM), a nationally recognized model for quality course design, affording us access to QM’s suite of trainings and materials to support online program development.   

Developing A Rubric

OLAP seeks to develop a proposed rubric for course design and facilitation that may serve to evaluate online courses, allowing instructors to receive a designation that meets internal benchmarking. While components of QM’s rubric may be leveraged, other rubrics or ideas may also serve to shape UTK’s goals for defining a quality course experience, such as: 

A cohort of UTK faculty and staff experienced with designing, developing, and evaluating online courses have been selected by their department to be represented in this initiative.

Meetings have begun to distinguish the standards included on UT’s internal rubric supporting quality design and delivery to enhance UTK’s online courses. Members of the Engaged Online Course Initiative include:

Tim Arment Lecturer, Architecture & Design
Ken Baker Distinguished Lecturer, Haslam College of Business 
Bob Dubois Lecturer/Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies Arts & Sciences 
David Golden Professor, Herbert College of Agriculture
Tina Goode Learning Technology Specialist, Online Learning & Academic Programs
Yujie Huang Consultant for Inclusive Teaching, Teaching and Learning Innovation
Karen Lasater Professor & Clinical Associate, Nursing
Derrick MacGillivray Instructional Designer, Nursing
Kate McClernon-Chaffin Director, Online MSSW Program, Social Work
Chika Okafor Assistant Professor, Veterinary Medicine
Heidi Stolz Professor, Director of Parenting Ed Lab Education, Health, and Human Sciences
Grace Therrell Online Learning Librarian & Assistant Professor, John C Hodges Library 

As we define and finalize the UTK Online Course Rubric, we will continue to provide updates on opportunities to engage with EOCI. Faculty interested in a Certified UT Quality Online Course badge will have an opportunity to request a review beginning in Fall 2022.

Quality Matters

Check out the video below for more information about Quality Matters.  We are excited about this collaborative process to recognize engaged learning in the digital classroom!  


A general timeline is as follows (subject to updates):

Late August – Early September 2021: Recruit faculty participation, information sessions COMPLETED

November – December 2021: Finalize first draft rubric standards  

January – March 2022: Finalize review process and test pilot to evaluate effectiveness 

April – May 2022: Allow instructors to request peer review of their respective online courses 

June – July 2022: Assign peer reviewers for initial course reviews  

August – Oct 2022: Initiate course review requests for UTK faculty 

For more information about this initiative please contact Cris Emberton at or Jennifer Gramling at