The Eagle Online Excellence Initiative

Criteria & Review Process

The Quality Matters Rubric is the core of the Eagle Online Excellence (EOE) initiative. This nationally recognized rubric for course design quality reflects research-based best practices in online course design. It can be used both to guide course design for brand new courses and to review established online courses. The EOE initiative uses the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric, 6th edition (2018).

The Quality Matters Rubric includes criteria in the following course design areas:

  • Course Overview & Introduction
  • Learning Objectives
  • Assessment
  • Instructional Materials
  • Learning Activities & Learner Interaction
  • Course Technology
  • Learner Support & Accessibility

Faculty may contact the EOE team at to learn more about the review process or request a consultation for a formal course review. During the consultation, an instructional designer will evaluate the course using the EOE checklist and offer recommendations for improved course design.

To recognize the accomplishment of designing or revising a course to meet the EOE standards, an online course that successfully aligns with the standards of the EOE initiative will earn a Digital Badge of Eagle Online Excellence. There are two options for distinction available to AU faculty as part of the EOE initiative:

  • Silver (meeting all Quality Matters “essential” criteria)
  • Gold (meeting all Quality Matters criteria at a threshold of 80%).

This badge is a signal to your students and others in the AU community that your course meets the standard for a high-quality online course and follows best practices in online course design. The badge can be posted directly into a course’s syllabus, on your Blackboard or Canvas course site, and on your AU faculty profile.  


High-quality course design results in engaging and effective online learning experiences that directly impact students, faculty, and programs. By aligning courses to EOE standards, faculty support intentional design choices and think of the course from a student’s perspective. In this manner, faculty can create an evidence-based process for building, maintaining, and guaranteeing course and learning quality. When courses meet the standards set out by the EOE initiative, faculty and programs can easily showcase the consistent quality they are providing for their students online. 

For more information about how the standards in EOE and similar quality design rubrics can impact teaching and student success, please take a look at our literature review