Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Effective Teaching








Online courses have many components and dimensions. Both the form (structure) and the content (expression) are situated in an overall environment. The sum of these elements results in student outcomes and learning. In order to facilitate construction and evaluate the quality of an online course, a four-part rubric was designed to reflect:

Structure (Context, Organization, and Environment)

Content (Presentation of Information)

Processes (Relationships and Interactions)

Outcomes (Mastery of Content and Course Evaluation)

This rubric was designed to provide quantitative and qualitative standardized evaluation for faculty self-evaluation, peer evaluation, and administrator evaluation. The rubric was piloted at two universities and shown to be highly effective in eliciting effective and usable feedback for course instructors and program directors. It was concluded that a uniform rubric that can be applied to any discipline could facilitate evaluation of all online courses within a program to a set standard that can then be used for course enhancement and improvement with structured comprehensive evaluation from instructors, peers, or program directors. It was found that a well-designed course (structure), with relevant and credible information (content), as well as mechanisms for interaction and collaboration (processes), could result in enhanced student learning (outcomes).

Original Publication Citation

Ternus, M. P., Palmer, K. L., & Faulk, D. R. (2007). Benchmarking quality in online teaching and learning: A rubric for course construction and evaluation. Journal of Effective Teaching, 7(2), 51-67.