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Center of
Online Learning

Course Improvement Grants

Columbus State University offers online courses and programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Our students hail from across the state of Georgia and internationally, often enrolling entirely online. The Center of Online Learning provides support to the faculty members who support students in their studies, hopefully all the way to graduation. For the purposes of a quality online learning experience, COOL offers course improvement grants that meet the faculty member where they are in regard to improving the learning experience in their online courses. While it is expected that most applications will receive a grant, this is not guaranteed and depends on the proposal materials submitted, chair approval of the project, as well as the availability of funding.

CSU is a subscriber to Quality Matters (QM), an internationally renowned system for improving the quality of online courses, online learning, and online teaching. Its grassroots efforts began at Maryland Online with a small group of similar-minded colleagues. Read more about Quality Matters here. In CSU's grant process, awards are given to the faculty member Course Representative in the form of not only a stipend, but with the Quality Matters seal and certification. The courses undergo a rigorous review by a discipline-based peer review team who provides recommendations for improvement. Through both the grant application and review process, CSU and QM are partners in maintaining the highest level of online educational experience possible.

Please feel free to contact CSU's Quality Matters Review Coordinator if you have any questions about the grant or the review process itself.

Read details of the review process

On this page

  • Purpose
  • Goal
  • Grant Cycle Schedule
  • Eligibility
  • Application Requirements
    • Self Review
    • Learning Objective Worksheet
    • Video Captioning Request
    • Student Impact Statement
    • Presentation Requirements
  • Application Review
  • Category A
  • Category B
  • Scoring Rubric


The purpose of the Online Course Improvement Grants is to facilitate the redesign of online and hybrid courses that will enhance the overall quality, scope, and reach of teaching and learning at Columbus State University. This is accomplished by providing financial incentives, expert instructional design assistance, and technology support to faculty.


Maximize the number of QM certified online and hybrid courses offered by CSU. The Quality Matters certification recognizes that the course meets 100% of the 23 QM Essential Standards and 85% of all QM Specific Review Standards. Review all of the QM Standards, including the 23 Essential Standards here. Or, request a printed copy of the 6th Edition QM Rubric Workbook from COOL.

Grant Cycle

The proposed timeline for 2020 is as follows:

Announcement of Request for Proposals February 10, 2020
Grant applications due April 3, 2020
Announcement of grant awards May 4, 2020
Review teams assembled May, 2020
Course Improvement Period May–August 2020
Deadline for Course Submission for Peer Review August, 2020
Course amendment work (if applicable) August–November, 2020
Reviews Complete/Grant Stipends Awarded December 2020

* NOTE: Stipends are awarded upon finalization of review and receipt of QM certification.


  1. All full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty at CSU are eligible to apply for an online course improvement grant.
  2. Faculty must successfully complete the initial Quality Matters (QM) course Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) and maintain this training inline with future QM APPQMR updates.
  3. Course must have been taught (either face-to-face or online) at least 2 times in the past 36 months.
  4. The proposer does NOT need to have taught the course previously, but preference may be given to those who have.
  5. Grants are limited to course improvements of existing online courses.

NOTE: Courses do not have to have been taught online for a determined length of time. However, the self-review required for submission and subsequent peer review is completed by evaluating a course that has been fully developed in the CSU online course system, CougarVIEW.

Application Requirements

Potential grant recipients for either the Category A or B grant must complete an application hosted in Banner. The application requires the following documentation:

  • QM Self-Review - this self review sets a baseline in determining how closely your course is in meeting QM standards prior to initiating a review. View the video on completing the Self-Review.
  • Learning Objective Worksheet (Word) - this worksheet will ensure your course meets the QM Learning Objective Alignment standards, which are part of the required 23 Essential Standards. Your course must meet ALL 23 Essential Standards to receive certification.
  • Video Captioning Acknowledgement - COOL supports faculty members by providing captions for videos. By alerting us of the need for captioning, we can reserve resources to provide them. Verify in the application the presence of video in your course and your intent to seek captioning assistance from the Center of Online Learning.
  • Proposals must include a description of the impact on on student programs, including how it contributes to your program, department, and/or student needs. This information might be supported with how frequently the course is offered, how often students enroll into the course and which semesters, which additional programs are served, and similar information. This information will be useful in determining grant awards.
  • Recipients of the Course Improvement Grant agree to present at a CSU faculty forum during the academic year (fall or spring) following receipt of QM Certification.

Submitting your Application

Complete the QM Course Review Application in Banner (under MyCSU). Applications are forwarded to chair for approval. Submission steps are as follows:

    1. Log into MyCSU
    2. Select the "Faculty" tab (left side menu)
    3. Log into Banner SIS
    4. Select the Faculty Services Tab
    5. Select Online Course Improvement Grant Application
    6. Fill out and submit


  1. Grantees may be engaged in only one active grant award at a time.
  2. Only one instance of a course (e.g., ENGL 1101) may have an active grant award at the same time.

Application Review and Grant Awards

All Course Improvement Grant requests are reviewed and recipients chosen by the Distance Learning Committee subcommittee on Course Improvement Grants. The subcommittee conducts the application review as follows:

  • Applications will be reviewed to determine the grant category. Note: if neither category criteria are met, a grant cannot be awarded.
  • QM Self-Review (PDF) - This document provides the baseline score for determining the grant category awarded.
  • Learning objective worksheet - You will be required to submit measurable learning objectives for at least one module. Learning objective alignment is found in six of the QM Essential Standards. We advise beginning this work early in the process using this form for support in the process.
  • The number of grants is typically ten (10) per calendar year. If not all qualified applications can be awarded a grant, decisions are made using the Grant Proposal Scoring Rubric.

Category A Grant

Category A grant awards are given to courses that already meet ALL 23 QM Essential Standards. The expectation is that any further revisions or recommendations suggested by the review team will be "icing on the cake," so to speak, and elevate the quality of the course even more. The grant subcommittee will consider course applications to receive a Category A grant based upon the following Self-Review results:

  • Courses that have not yet received QM certification, but meet all 23 QM Essential Standards prior to the peer review. It is incumbent upon the Course Representative that all 23 QM Essential Standards are met and that the course requires minimal updates prior to initiation of the review.

The award for this category is a $750 stipend.

Category B Grant

These courses are considered in need of significant work to meet the standards leading to QM certification. The grant subcommittee will consider course applications to receive a Category B grant based upon the following Self-Review results:

  • Courses that meet at least 75% of the QM Essential Standards.
  • Courses that received a self-review score of at least 60, but no more than 85 out of the 100 possible points.

The award for this category is a $1500 stipend.

Online Course Improvement Grant Proposal Scoring Rubric

If the number of qualified applications for a grant is greater than the maximum number of awards allows, the following scoring rubric is the review subcommittee's guide in determining priority of awards.

Criteria Score Out of Comments
Impact on student programs. 10
Comprehensive self-review identifying deficiencies and plans for improvement. 15
Proposed course changes will significantly improve the course. 15
Proposed course content curated by faculty (vs. outsourced to publisher course packs or other LMS's). 10
Total Score 50

Please feel free to contact CSU's Quality Matters Review Coordinator if you have any questions about the grant or the review process itself.