Quality Standards

Ensuring quality is paramount when considering online education. The Office of Online Learning continues to work toward establishing the necessary policies, procedures, and guidelines needed for the University of Georgia to remain compliant with SACS and competitive in a highly competitive, global market of online education.

General Standards in the Quality Matters Rubric

1) Course Overview and Introduction
2) Learning Objectives
3) Assessment and Measurement
4) Instructional Materials
5) Learner Engagement and Interaction
6) Course Technology
7) Learner Support
8) Accessibility

Quality Review


The Quality Review for distance learning provides a measure of quality assurance for online courses in order to serve the needs of UGA student population. The quality review is directed to program-units and colleges that wish to share online courses with other institutions of higher learning or with students taking online courses via the Office of Online Learning at UGA.

What is the Quality Review?

Quality Review is a set of standards and procedures sponsored by MarylandOnline, Inc. on any other certified organization of quality standards. The OOL will use 8 standards set by Quality Matters to perform the quality review for online courses. Quality Matters is a nationally recognized organization for its method of quality assurance and continuous improvement in online education. It is a faculty-centered peer review process. It is designed to ensure and certify the quality of online courses.

For more information about Quality Matters, visit QM at www.qualitymatters.org 

Accessibility & Compliance


UGA is committed to the success of all learners and strives to foster an inclusive and accessible online environment. Ensuring equal access to electronic and information technology is a critical part of this goal. Creating accessible online learning through Section 508 compliance is also the law.

In the case of developing an online course, accessibility means developing content so that it can be used by:

  • students who are blind or visually impaired
  • students with mobility impairments
  • students with hearing impairments
  • students with cognitive or visual processing difficulties

Make Your Course Accessible

The learning management system (LMS) has many accessibility features built into the system.

Learn more at Desire2Learn’s Accessibility Resources for Instructors.

As the instructor, you are responsible for providing high-quality content that avoids technical accessibility problems. The following checklists will help you make sure your documents are formatted correctly.

To see an example of accessible multimedia, visit the UGA Horticulture page and check out the embedded video.

Learn more about accessibility at the USG Accessibility Tutorial.

The tutorial is comprised of 10 modules that offer information, instructional techniques and practice labs on how to make the most common needs in distance education accessible for individuals with disabilities and enhance the usability of online materials for all students.

Access E-Learning is a tutorial of the Georgia Tech Research on Accessible Distance Education (GRADE) project at Georgia Tech.

Syllabus Statement​

UGA online is committed to the success of all learners, and we strive to create an inclusive and accessible online environment. In collaboration with the Disability Resource Center, we work with students who have documented disabilities to access reasonable accommodations and academic supports.

For more information or to speak with a Disability coordinator, call the Disability Resource Center at (706) 542-8719, TTY only phone (706) 542-8778.

Accessibility Resources

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 requires that web-based information and data be equally accessible to individuals with and without disabilities. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has determined that institutions under the Board of Regents fall within the scope of Section 508. Web designers and web content providers must ensure 508-compliance of their content prior to making it available via the worldwide web.

UGA EITS: Web Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities



Building an online course often means assembling materials from different sources. It is important to ensure that you consider copyright compliance when compiling these resources.

Questions to ask yourself when selecting content:

Is it under copyright?

Works of the federal government and works created before 1923 are in the public domain and free for you to use. Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something.  However, once the ideas or concepts are put in a  fixed in a medium of expression – including digital media - they are subject to copyright. Most works are most likely owned by someone, even if they are not marked with the © symbol. Learn more about copyright at copyright.gov

Does it qualify for the TEACH Act?

The Teach Act, Section 110(2) Of The Copyright Act, allows the use of copyrighted works without requesting permission in cases where the use is comparable to classroom use. The requirements for retaining the classroom character are limiting the portions to what you would typically use in face-to-face instruction and making those available to enrolled students only. It covers distance education as well as face-to-face teaching which has an online, web enhanced, transmitted or broadcast component.

TEACH Act Checklist 

Regents Guide to the TEACH Act

Does it fall under Fair Use?

Fair Use, Section 107 of Copyright Law, is an exception that allows for use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. Fair Use is determined by examining four factors: 1. the purpose and character of the use; 2. the nature of the work used; 3. the amount and sustainability of the portion used; 4. the effect of the use on the market or value of the work. Fair Use is not always clear or easily determined.

Simply acknowledging the source of copyrighted works does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Regents Information on the Fair Use Exception 

Fair Use Checklist

Do you need to obtain permission?

If the work you wish to use falls under copyright and does not meet TEACH or Fair Use guidelines, you will have to obtain permission.

For questions concerning copyright/fair use law and the Board of Regents' guidelines, contact Tim Kelly, Legal Affairs Office, via email or phone at (706) 542-0006.

Creative Commons Search

Need to find photos, music, video, text or other educational material for your course? A standard web search will yield results, but that content is copyright protected unless otherwise specified by the creator. Copyright applies automatically to any work the moment it is created. Creative Commons Search helps you locate materials that are in the public domain and are free to use with “no rights reserved” and works that are free to use with “some rights reserved.” Just be sure to note which type of Creative Commons license is associated with the content you wish to incorporate and you are ready to use it in your course materials.

The Creative Commons website contains more information about public domain and Creative Commons licensing.

For more information about USG’s policies and resources to support your understanding of copyright and fair use, visit the Center for Teaching and Learning’s copyright page.