Category: About

Change Log

Change Log

Updated the Get OSCQR links – to generate the new 4.0 online interactive rubric and dashboard – January 10, 2022. Removed and updated these links:

Updated Get OSCQR link – to download the new 4.0 self-assessment rubric – October 12, 2021.

OSCQR 4.0 (Fall 2021)

  1. Updated the wording of selected OSCQR standards to specifically address the requirements for Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI).
    • Standard 2: An orientation or overview is provided for the course overall, as well as in each module. Learners know how to navigate and what tasks are due was changed to:  Course provides an overall orientation or overview, as well as module-level overviews to make course content, activities, assignments, due dates, interactions, and assessments, predictable and easy to navigate/find.
    • Standard 3: Course includes a Course Information area that deconstructs the syllabus for learners in a clear and navigable way was changed to: Course includes a course information area and syllabus that make course expectations clear and findable.
    • Standard 29: Course offers access to a variety of engaging resources that facilitate communication and collaboration, deliver content, and support learning and engagement  was changed to: Course offers access to a variety of engaging resources to present content, support learning and collaboration, and facilitate regular and substantive interaction with the instructor.
    • Standard 38: Expectations for timely and regular feedback from the instructor are clearly stated (questions, email, assignments) was changed to: Regular and substantive instructor-to-student expectations, and predictable/scheduled interactions and feedback, are present, appropriate for the course length and structure, and are easy to find.
    • Standard 39: Expectations for interaction are clearly stated (netiquette, grade weighting, models/examples, and timing and frequency of contributions) was changed to: Expectations for all course interactions (instructor to student, student to student, student to instructor) are clearly stated and modeled in all course interaction/communication channels.
    • Standard 41: Course contains resources or activities intended to build a sense of class community, support open communication, and establish trust (at least one of the following – Icebreaker, Bulletin Board, Meet Your Classmates, Ask a Question discussion forums) was changed to: Course provides activities intended to build a sense of class community, support open communication, promote regular and substantive interaction, and establish trust (e.g., ice-breaking activities, Course Bulletin Board, planned Office Hours, and dedicated discussion forums).
    • Standard 43: Learners are encouraged to share resources and inject knowledge from diverse sources of information in their course interactions was changed to: Course provides learners with opportunities in course interactions to share resources and inject knowledge from diverse sources of information with guidance and/or standards from the instructor.
  2. Updated selected OSCQR standard webpages that can be leveraged to support RSI – OSCQR Standards 1, 6, 9, 10, 19, 30, 31, 40, 44-47 :
    1. Improved the standard description information to clarify how the standard supports RSI.
    2. Added an RSI section on selected standard webpages.
    3. Added examples and suggestions.
  3. Added an RSI webpage to the companion website to give an overall overview and information about RSI and how OSCQR supports RSI. Including subpages that:
    • List all RSI and RSI-related standards.
    • Describe how OSCQR supports RSI
    • Describe “What’s new?” with details about what changes related to RSI have been made to the OSCQR website.
    • List RSI-related citations, references and resources for more information about RSI.
  4. Edited the wording of selected standards:
    1. Standard 6: Course provides access to learner success resources (technical help, orientation, tutoring) was changed to: Course provides access to online learner success resources (technical help, support services, orientation, academic honesty, tutoring). – this standard supports RSI.
    2. Standard 8: Appropriate methods and devices for accessing and participating in the course are communicated (mobile, publisher websites, secure content, pop-ups, browser issue, microphone, webcam) was changed to: Course provides appropriate guidelines for successful participation regarding technical requirements (e.g., browser version, mobile, publisher resources, secure content, pop-ups, browser issues, microphone, webcam).
    3. Standard 35: A text equivalent for every non-text element is provided (“alt” tags, captions, transcripts, etc.) was changed to: A text equivalent for every non-text element is provided (“alt” tags, captions, transcripts, etc.), and audio description is provided for video-only content.
    4. Standard 44: Course grading policies, including consequences of late submissions, are clearly stated in the course information area or syllabus was changed to: Course grading policies, including consequences of late submissions, are clearly stated in the Course Information/ Syllabus materials. – this standard addresses RSI.
    5. Standard 45: Course includes frequent and appropriate methods to assess learners’ mastery of content was changed to: Course includes frequent, appropriate, and authentic methods to assess the learners’ mastery of content. – this standard supports RSI.
    6. Standard 47: Learners have opportunities to review their performance and assess their own learning throughout the course (pre-tests, automated self-tests, reflective assignments, etc.) was changed to: Course provides opportunities for learners to review their performance and assess their own learning throughout the course (via pre-tests, self-tests with feedback, reflective assignments, peer assessment, etc.). – this standard supports RSI.
    7. Standard 49: Learners have easy access to a well designed and up-to-date gradebook was changed to: Learners have easy access to a well-designed and up-to-date gradebook.
    8. Standard 50: Learners have multiple opportunities to provide descriptive feedback on course design, course content, course experience, and ease of online technology was changed to: Course includes the opportunity for learners to provide descriptive feedback on their experience in the online course, the course design, content, user experience, and technology.
  5. Reviewed and updated selected OSCQR standard webpages to clarify and improve explanations and examples – Standards 4, 5, 8, 24, 35, 42, 49, 50.
  6. Added this change log.


  • Rebranded from Open SUNY to SUNY Online (visible on the .pdf).
  • Replaced the word Student, with Learner throughout the standards.
  • Updated the links to the companion OSCQR website from to to reflect a url domain ownership change.
  • Added links, content, and navigation to the OSCQR website:
    • Get OSCQR page- with all the options to access OSCQR. Including video help resources.
    • Implementation page – including resources from the workshop, video playlist, and diigo link roll of resources.
    • Research page and link rolls to track OSCQT-related research, and research supporting specific OSCQR standards.
    • Awards page, with the awards to date.
      • OSCQR in the news link roll.
    • Added Community page – including community resources, community-generated resources, and disclaimer on community generated resources.
    • Addedd online course design resources.
      • Added link to the OSCQR-informed Remote Online Teaching Checklist (COVID19 resource).
    • Added Training page including: workshops, experience, reviewer network and badges.
  • Updated standard 8 with recommended additions to support the mobile standards. June 27, 2019. (in consultation with Sally Baldwin, Boise State University)
  • Updated standard 35 with ” audio descriptions should be provided for any video-only content.” May 11, 2020. (per Tonka Jokelova/ESC).
  • Fixed broken links/updated links periodically.

There were no substantive changes to any standards.

If you are using OSCQR 3.0, you should update to 3.1. The links to the OSCQR website for additional resources, information, ideas are incorrect in OSCQR version 3.0.


  • Collapsed instructional design and accessibility standards into 50 integrated standards in 6 groupings.
  • Launched the comprehensive OSCQR companion website of explanations, examples, information, resources and ideas to improve standards, including the ability to comment and provide suggestions.


  • 74  standards: 37 instructional design standards (in 24 groupings) and 37 accessibility standards (in 9 groupings).
  • These were two separate rubrics and processes.
  • Initial rudimentary list of suggestions and ideas to improve standards.


37 instructional design standards in 24 groupings.

OSCQR is Unique

OSCQR is Unique

The OSCQR Rubric is unique and differs from other online course quality rubrics in several ways:

  • The rubric is flexible and extensible. It can be customized. Standards can be added, edited, and /or eliminated.
  • It is not restricted to mature online courses. The Rubric can be used formatively with new online faculty to help guide, inform and influence the design of their new online courses.
  • It is non-evaluative. Conceptually the rubric and process approach course review and refresh as a professional development exercise, to guide faculty in their understanding of improving course design from an effective practices perspective, rather than as a course evaluation, certification, or quality assurance procedure.
  • A course review with the OSCQR Rubric produces an Action Plan that is framed from the perspective of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model, to help reviewers assess and target opportunities to improve the course’s social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence, in addition to the overall online course educational experience. This Action Plan is:
    • Automatically generated by the interactive version of course review rubric,
    • presents the aggregated recommendations for course design improvements based on the review,
    • Assists in prioritization decisions for course revisions based on the estimated time to make those improvements.
  • It substantively addresses accessibility. The OSCQR Rubric integrates accessibility standards based on the recommendations of SUNY’s Office of General Counsel in their 2013 memo, “Accessibility Considerations in the wake of SUNY’s Online Initiatives.” The rubric has been reviewed by members of the FACT2 Accessibility Task Force, and address the legal considerations required to be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, New York State Enterprise IT Policy NYS-P08-005, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • OSCQR integrates accessibility into the process, and encourages online faculty and instructional designers to use the rubric as part of the formative online course design process, not just as a summative review. In this manner, accessibility can be addressed from the very beginning of the online course design and faculty development process.
  • There is no license fee for use of the .pdf version of the rubric. It is shared with a creative Creative Commons license: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US. Because the OSCQR Rubric is licensed under Creative Commons, and the Dashboard is licensed under LGPL, the entire process can be shared, used by anyone with no cost, and can be customized to address individual campus environments.
  • The rubric provides examples and suggestions (and citations) for course design improvements for each standard that can be selected from a menu of options by each reviewer to supplement reviewer feedback.

The Rubric is flexible and designed to be used in a variety of course quality assurance approaches.

  • By instructors and instructional designers in faculty development and course design professional development activities to inform and influence the design of new online courses.
  • By an individual instructor to self-assess and prioritize design improvements; to continuously review, revise and improve the instructional design of their existing online courses.
  • By an instructional designer to conduct a formal course review of an online course as part of an online course quality review process at the program, department, or institutional level.
  • As a peer review process, by a team of instructors interested in a peer-review model of online course review and continuous improvement (the teams can be made up of inter or intra disciplinary teams).
  • In a collaborative team model made up of a group of at least 3 people approaching the course review process from their own various specialized perspectives, i.e., instructional designer, course author, and external reviews that might include other subject matter experts (faculty), online librarian, student, instructional technologist, multimedia designer, other faculty.
The OSCQR Process

The OSCQR Process

The OSCQR Process provides a Framework and Dashboard that supports a campus-tailored and scalable approach to improving the instructional design of online or blended courses.

    • The Framework includes:
      1. A Course Review that results in an Action Plan to improve the design of the online course.
      2. The Course Refresh prioritizes and targets specific improvements suggested in the Action Plan  for improvements.
      3. A Learning Review that identifies and determines the next set of improvements for continuous online course quality improvement.

oscqr process illustration showing circular process of course review and refresh, course delivery support, and continuous improvement



OSCQR provides a process, an online dashboard, and interactive rubric to systematically review and refresh the instructional design and accessibility of online and blended courses, as well as complete online degree programs. We invite collaboration and feedback on the use of OSCQR and  input and suggestions from the community.

Working with multi institutional teams of SUNY online instructional designers, librarians, distance learning directors, and technologists, the OSCQR team started with the Chico rubric, 20 years of SLN research-informed best online practices, the SUNY office of general counsel’s memorandum on accessibility considerations, and conducted a gap analysis with Quality Matters, iNACOL, and the Blackboard exemplary courses. The resulting rubric was also informed by the Community of Inquiry model (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 2000), The 7 Principles for Good practice in Undergraduate Education (Chickering & Gamson, 1987), The Adult Learner (Malcom Knowles, 1973), Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom et al., 1956) and How People Learn (Bransford et al., 1999), and mapped to the Open SUNY fundamental competencies for online teaching



Our goal is to ensure that all online courses meet quality instructional design and accessibility standards, and are regularly and systematically reviewed, refreshed, and improved to reflect campus guidelines and research-based online effective practices.

SUNY Online, in collaboration with campuses throughout the SUNY system, developed an online course design rubric and process that addresses the instructional design and accessibility of an online course. The rubric is openly licensed for anyone to use and adapt. The aim of the OSCQR SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric and Process is to support continuous improvements to the quality and accessibility of online courses, while also providing an approach to collect data that can be used to inform faculty development and support large-scale online course design review and refresh efforts systematically and consistently.

OSCQR Version Development Timeline, History & the SUNY Online/ OLC Partnership.
OSCQR Version Development Timeline, History & the SUNY Online/ OLC Partnership.

Work on the design of the new Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE) was initiated in August 2013, as one aspect of the the new Open SUNY set of initiatives envisioned by (now former) Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s bold strategic “system-ness” effort to take online education to the next level of scale at SUNY. Open SUNY+ was conceived and implemented as a set of  SUNY fully online degree programs specifically identified to meet New York State workforce development needs, and selected to receive certain centrally-provided supports and services and provide certain programmatic “signature elements” to qualify for the “+” designation, such as an online student “concierge, ” and early alerts system, and meeting online course quality standards, etc. OSCQR was developed as the focus of the Open SUNY COTE “Course Supports” work stream. To best meet the unique needs, scale, and context of the Open SUNY+ initiative, and taking the SUNY Learning Network’s long history, success, and expertise in supporting online course quality and online faculty development, it was decided to build an online interactive online course quality rubric, dashboard, and process, rather than adopting an existing product/model. OSCQR was designed with input from campus stakeholders, and its design was refined as it was implemented by the cohorts of pilot testers and users in the first 2 Waves of the Open SUNY+ programs. A full list of acknowledgements and participants can be found here. OSCQR was intentionally designed to be flexible, extensible, non-evaluative, and openly licensed. It was not conceived as an online course quality measure, or evaluation tool, it is intended as an online instructional design and faculty development resource and process to support the varied continuous improvement efforts of online instructional designers and online faculty in online course design and accessibility. How OSCQR uniquely differs from other tools is detailed here.

OLC Quality Scorecards



In November 2016, a partnership was formed between Open SUNY (now SUNY Online) and the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). OLC adopted OSCQR as their  Course Design Review online quality scorecard to provide a course-level online quality process, tools, and resources for the systematic review, refresh, and continuous improvement of online courses. This allowed us the opportunity to share OSCQR with the broader OLC community and to partner with them on the next generation of the digital interactive OSCQR rubric and dashboard.

  • OLC OSCQR Self-Assessment (.PDF) Rubric Downloads
    • From Feb 2019 to Feb 17, 2021 there were 6,432 downloads.
      • 121 countries
      • 50 US States, DC, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.
      • Representing 3,782 institutions, organizations, & individuals
    • From February 2021 to January 2022 there have been 2,005 downloads from:
      • 77 countries
      • 50 US states & DC
      • Representing 1,485 institutions, organizations, & individuals
  • OLC ID4 OSCQR course.
    Numbers of individuals who have been trained to use OSCQR by OLC via their Online Instructional Designer Certificate program (which was also adopted from SUNY).

    • From August 1, 2019 to August 1, 2020, 107 people have successfully completed the ID4 course (117 total people participated in ID4, including completes and incompletes).
    • From February 2021 to January 2022, 214 people have successfully completed the ID4 course.
    • Overall total ID4 completions from inception through:
      • February 2021: 522
      • January 2022: 736