TSC online courses earn internationally recognized distinction

Two Texas Southmost College government online courses earned the Quality Matters certification.

As the fastest growing community college in the state, Texas Southmost College offers an affordable, quality education for students across Texas with in-person and online classes.

To distinguish its online courses from others, TSC is taking them to the next level with Quality Matters (QM) certifications – a globally recognized symbol of quality.

A QM certification is an internationally recognized symbol of online and blended course design quality. The certification represents TSC’s ongoing commitment to creating learning environments that provide learners with a clear pathway to success.

The first two TSC online courses to earn this distinction are GOVT 2305 – Federal Government and GOVT 2306 – Texas Government.

“Our goal is for every online learner to find success and be fully prepared to reach their educational goals,” said Elsa Gonzalez, TSC Government instructor. “The Quality Matters certification highlights our commitment to learners and, just as importantly, to their success.”

The GOVT 2305 and 2306 certifications are a result of TSC’s Instructional Specialist and QM Coordinator Ignacio Martinez’s dedication to continuous improvement and the innovative work Gonzalez implements in her courses.

Martinez and Gonzalez started the QM process in May with an internal review before submitting courses for a rigorous QM official external peer review in July.

“When a course meets QM standards internally, it’s more likely to meet QM standards during an official review, so we knew these two government courses were ready,” said Martinez. “The Quality Matters official review provides the opportunity to reflect on our courses and examine them from the learner perspective.”

The courses were reviewed based on a QM rubric that includes a set of eight general standards and 42 specific review standards used to evaluate the design of online and hybrid courses.

For both online government classes, critical course components related to learner experience such as accessibility, learner engagement and assessments were reviewed.

“It was a nerve-racking process, especially as the first instructor to undergo this type of review. I wanted everything to go as planned,” said Gonzalez. “It was an exciting moment when we earned our first QM marks, and with this our students can rest assured that they are receiving a high-quality online course with implemented advanced technology and access to various resources that will ensure success.”

Martinez said this is only the beginning. TSC will work diligently to get all other online courses ready for external QM review processes and to earn the QM certified designation.

As a longtime QM member, TSC is part of a community of more than 1,200 organizations that focuses on continuously improving online learning for those it serves.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with and learning from others in the community as we seek to positively impact the online-learner experience for our TSC students,” said Martinez.

TSC students are able to earn an associate degree in general studies as well as take courses in the General Education Core Curriculum online.

Registration for spring 2021 is underway. Classes begin Jan. 18.