Sacramento State Online Course Services

The Online Course Services at Sacramento State is supported through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and in partnership with Information Resources & Technology (IRT). The CTL provides professional development in the form of faculty learning community programs, the Summer Teaching Institute, the Summer Course Compression Grant program (in collaboration with the College of Continuing Education), New Faculty Orientation, and minigrant programs that fund pedagogy enhancement, learning analytics, assessment, and technology projects. Quality Matters™ (QM™) essential standards such as Accessibility and Alignment are intentionally integrated into each of these programs. 

Program Goals:

  1. Increase the number of faculty who are QM trained as practitioners and mentors.
  2. Use action research and data analytics to measure student learning, improve student success, and contribute to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in online learning environments.
  3. Establish an institutional support structure for the development, redesign, review, and QM certification of online and hybrid courses.

We emphasize student success as the focus in our online course services and quality assurance efforts.

Goal #1




In addition to the QM and QLT workshops offered by the Chancellor's Office, we offered Faculty Learning Communities that embedded Quality Matters workshops ( APPQMR, IYOC, and PRC). These FLCs were facilitated by Sac State's QM certified facilitators and mentors. Through these FLCs, faculty received dedicated mentorship and support within the context of our institution.  


Sample Faculty Statements Reflecting On-Going Support and Motivation for QM Trainings:

"With the help of all the wonderful training offered over the last two years, I have been chipping away at attempting to refine this course that I love so dearly.  Trying hard to make it more robust and accessible.  Wow did I learn a lot this go-around!  I am so passionate about the content of this class but I get tripped up in the delivery.  I received so much guidance and reminders as to why simplicity = clarity.  This has been a bit mind blowing for me. Here I thought my frippery was fabulous but it was actually confusing and unnecessary. I have now honed in on measurable course and modules objectives big time and am really enjoying this keener focus on my curriculum - clarity!   I am also trying to embrace the simplicity or 'more is less' path.  It's hard to do!"

"Since April 2020, this course has been delivered using an online model. Prior to April 2020, there was no online component to the course, it was delivered through face-to-face instruction only. Following the transition to online teaching/learning, I found there were some advantages and opportunities for improved learning using an online model (compared to face-to-face instruction) for students. I have since invested time (through CTL courses) in learning and applying methods that exploit the advantages of the online learning environment to create a course that in some ways may be superior to the instructional style that I used through face-to-face instruction. The QM standards, therefore, seemed to be the next best progression in the evolution of this course. Viewing the QM standards as best practice for online teaching, my intent was to use the standards set by this body to further improve the teaching and learning in this course. Further, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Sacramento State is an accredited program, and thus the curriculum must reflect the standards established by CAPTE, the accrediting body of physical therapy programs in the United States. For this reason, if my intent is to continue delivering this course through an online module, a QM certification to the course may provide justification to the continued quality of the course despite the change in the mode of delivery of the content."

"I redesigned this course to be offered in a fully online mode in Spring 2019 as a "2019 Summer Online Course Development Grant" recipient and have taught the course online since. Since then I have participated in many Faculty Learning Communities, including Quality Matters (QM) Peer-Review Course; Summer Leadership Program: Use Technologies and Criteria-Based Outcome Assessment to Transform Post-COVID Education, Diversity, and Student Success; Road to Success Taking Your Online Course to the Next Level; Teach ON!-line Summer Camp; Data Analytics: Data and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Faculty Professional Development Online! The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE); The STEM Zone: Exploring and Applying Learning Research; and Hybrid and Online Faculty Learning Community (Technology and Teaching: Canvas and Beyond). In each of these FLCs, I worked on a certain aspect of the course. I believe the QM certification can be recognition and acknowledgement of all the efforts that have gone into the improvement and perfection of this course. The comparison of student performance in the face-to-face and fully online classes indicated that not only the drop, fail, or withdrawal (DFW) rate was not meaningfully impacted by the mode of delivery but also the students’ final GPA in the  course improved in the online modality."


Sample Re-designs with QM Standards:

QM SRS 2.3 Psychology 103 - Perception by Dr. Sarah Strand: Learning objectives or competencies are stated clearly, are written from the learner's perspective, and are prominently located in the course.

QM SRS 2.4 NUFD 9: Food Safety and Sanitation by Dr. Skyler Wie: The relationship between learning objectives or competencies and learning activities is clearly stated.

A course map and a numbering system were used in the course.  The course map shows how the course objectives are articulated with the module objectives and connected to the learning activities.


SRS 8.1 PT 614 Neuroscience for Physical Therapists by Dr. Brian Moore: Course navigation facilitates use. 

This video which provides a review of the organization of course instructional material can be found on the overview and syllabus page.

Experts at Sac State:

Increased Number of Peer Reviewers: We added 10 additional faculty from a variety of disciplines to complete the QM Peer Reviewer Courses and can serve on internal and/or formal reviews. These faculty can also serve as subject matter experts. 

Increased Number of QM Facilitators: We supported a QA team member in completing the QMC and CRM certifications so that we have continuity in leadership. This faculty will serve as a QA co-lead in the next academic year. In addition, we have 2 faculty who completed several QM facilitator certifications: Accelerated DYOC Online Certification, Accelerated IYOC Face to Face Certification, APPQMR Online Certification, and the DYOC Online Facilitator Certification. Our QM facilitators and mentors support QA efforts at the CSU level and serve as reviewers for CSU and other institutions.

Goal #2


In Spring 2022, we began a descriptive qualitative study about faculty perspectives on how QM training has changed the way they teach online or hybrid courses. The study received IRB approval.

Research Question: What is the perspective of faculty on how QM training has changed the way they teach online or hybrid courses?


  • Conducted interviews and focus groups with open-ended questions. N = 8
  • Recruited faculty who participated in trainings for online teaching (QM, QLT, ACUE) via email and snowball sampling.
  • Data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously
  • Responses were transcribed verbatim. 
  • Analysis consisted of reading and re-reading transcripts for in-vivo and open codes, developed into themes.



Challenges encountered during the study:

1. Limited participation

          • Continue faculty interviews this summer if possible

        • Decided to focus on faculty this year and gather data on student perspectives next year

2. Majority of participants from one college

          • Matches current participation in QA programs 

        • Goal next year to reach out to more colleges

Future Steps:

1. Continue with data analysis

2. Recruit students next year

3. Preliminary findings aligned with our future PD grant goals - more PD on accessibility and student engagement and working with administration on policy changes 

Goal #3

We use a 3-tier approach to meet the needs of faculty at various levels of readiness and have increased the number of institutional experts for online teaching and courses undergoing internal and formal reviews. We continue to market our services and support through campus announcements, word-of-mouth, webpages, professional development workshops and FLCs, and our relationships with colleagues throughout campus. 

Course Reviews:  As noted, our Internal and formal course review processes provide mentorship and support for course certifications. We highlighted QM standards such as alignment and accessibility in our FLCs to increase awareness about essential components and promote successful reviews. Professional development funding was awarded to faculty who had met standards for internal and formal reviews. Since Fall 2019, we have increased the number of certified courses from 2 to 17. We anticipate continued growth in this area as we have created a pipeline through our FLC that focused on preparing faculty for course reviews. We currently have 3 courses that will undergo internal reviews during summer 2022.

QM Certified Courses: 

COMS 106: Digital Media Creation Dr. Diego Bonilla
NURS 170: Foundations in Evidence-Based Nursing Practice
Dr. Michelle Dang
NURS 173: Theoretical Foundations for Leadership and Management
Dr. Tara Sharpp
SWRK 126: Theories of Criminal Behavior (6-week version)
Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.
SWRK 126: Theories of Criminal Behavior (15-week version) Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.
SWRK 102: Crosscultural Theory and Practice: Issues of Race, Gender and Class (6-week version)
Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.
SWRK 102: Crosscultural Theory and Practice: Issues of Race, Gender and Class (15-week version)
Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.
FASH 30: Fashion and Human Environment
Dr. Dong Shen
NURS 171: Transitional Concepts: The Baccalaureate Nurse
Dr. Bronwyn Fields
NURS 178: Culminating Project Dr. Christie Smart
NURS 165: Hospice and Palliative Nursing Care (6-week version) Dr. Tara Sharpp
NURS 165: Hospice and Palliative Nursing Care (15-week version)
Dr. Tara Sharpp
NURS 160: Human Sexuality Dr. Michelle Dang
PSYC 4: Navigating Psychology: The Majors and Careers Dr. Sharon Furtak
SWRK 150: Social Welfare in America (6-week version) Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.
SWRK 150: Social Welfare in America (15-week version)
Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.
SWRK 202: Social Work and Diverse Populations Dr. Santos Torres, Jr.

We continue to strengthen our collaborations with IRT and explore professional development opportunities. In Spring 2022, we offered a workshop specifically focused on QM Standard 8 - Accessibility and Usability.

Workshop Facilitator: Corinne Rowland ( QA Mentor and Universal Design for Learning Lead, IRT)

Description: Quality Matters Standard 8 Specific Review Standards (SRS) address the accessibility and useability of course materials and the necessary information to provide students. This interactive presentation will explore accessibility tools, support materials, and services available through Sacramento State to help you develop accessible and usable course materials. 

Session Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore Quality Matters' rubric standards for accessibility and usability.  
  2. Use the Ally tool to check for accessibility in a Canvas course.  
  3. Identify tools that can be used to meet accessibility standards.  
  4. Recognize how and where to access Sacramento State support services for accessibility



California Community Colleges Online Teaching Conference, June 29 - July 1, 2022, Long Beach


Authors: Michelle Dang, Deborah George, Crystal Sims, and Debra Welkley

Presenter: Deborah George

Abstract: An important goal of the California State University (CSU) system is to increase accessibility in educational opportunities and graduation rates through online education. As part of this goal, a collaboration occurred between two departments at Sacramento State (the Center for Teaching and Learning and the College of Continuing Education) to support faculty in developing fully online courses for summer sessions, with a focus on high demand and general education courses. This presentation describes the process of compressing a 15-week regular semester course into a 6-week summer course using a template and a backward design approach. The team created an auto-populated spreadsheet to help faculty address critical alignment components. The worksheet contains the following components: 1) Course learning objectives; 2) Module learning objectives; 3) Assessments; and 4) Learning Materials and Tools. The template served as an evolving document throughout the course of the program as faculty analyzed their courses, one component at a time, following Backward Design Principles. The final deliverable was a comprehensive course alignment worksheet and a course template that reflected essential standards for high quality online course design including accessibility standards. We received positive feedback from faculty about the effectiveness of the template in helping them address course alignment and compress their courses for summer sessions. We will share the template, our process in its implementation, and demonstrate the feasibility of its use for other programs and institutions.

Session Outcomes:

  • Recognize principles of backward design.
  • Describe essential components of course alignment.
  • Discuss advantages to using a template in creating course alignment.

OCS Leadership & Team 
Go Hornets!

(left to right)
Dr. Michelle Dang, faculty co-lead and mentor
Dr. Mark Rodriguez, faculty co-lead and mentor
Dr. Corinne Rowland, mentor and accessibility & instructional technology consultant
Dr. Debra Welkley, faculty mentor
Dr. Bronwyn Fields, faculty mentor
Deborah George, mentor and instructional designer
Dr. Tara Sharpp, faculty mentor

CTL Leadership

Dr. Lynn Tashiro, Director