Faculty can determine if a course is ready for to open to students through pre-course evaluation. An external, objective reviewer should review the course for instructional design and content. The peer reviewer should remain in relationship, observing the course for interaction two weeks into the course, and again at midterm. The review should include constructive feedback for the instructor which can be used to make course corrections (O’Neil et al., p. 147). Pre-course evaluation techniques include:
- Peer review of content
- Peer review of design
- Ongoing peer review
Adding a faculty peer as a student in your BlackBoard course enables them to view the course from the student’s perspective, or faculty can be added as an instructor giving them permissions to modify course content and structure.
Formative evaluation throughout a course allows faculty to determine if the course delivery, structure, or instructional design need revision. For example, students may ask for a discussion forum to list technology issues and seek peer assistance. “By providing students with the opportunity to ask questions during the course, issues can be resolved quickly and students can focus on their learning” (O’Neil et al. p. 149). Suggestions for formative evaluation are:
- Pulse Check. Ask students on a regular basis where they are and how they are doing in the course and what improvements they think need to be made. Students can post on a discussion forum or send this information to you in a private email. The “I Have a Question” discussion forum is another formative evaluation tool instructors can use to identify potential problems with assignments or course design. Repetitive questions about assignments or where to locate information may indicate a problem in assignment structure or course design.
Mid-semester survey. One of the most valuable methods to gauge how well the course is progressing is through a mid-semester survey. At ASU a mid-semester evaluation can be conducted by the faculty member for the faculty member. Student responses are anonymous. As such, the CITR has worked to develop two methods by which faculty can choose to conduct mid-course evaluations that provide results directly to the faculty member. The faculty member does not need to contact any administrative or support offices in order to conduct these surveys (John Wegner, Email – “Mid Course Evaluation and Your—CITR Templates Available Online, March 1st, 2011):
For Faculty with a BlackBoard Class:
- Log on to the ASU Blackboard page
- Click on the Support tab.
- Scroll down to Mid Course Evaluation
- Follow the directions to populate the survey in Blackboard. Populating the survey in Blackboard allows your students to complete the survey. As the instructor, you will know which students have completed the survey, but all results are aggregate so you do not know what students wrote.
- It is recommended each mid-course evaluation contain the first three questions available. Faculty might consider asking students direct questions regarding the IDEA Objectives chosen for the course or the Student Learning Outcomes listed on the faculty member’s syllabus
- If you do not have a Blackboard class, but would like to conduct your mid-course evaluations in Blackboard, complete the Blackboard course request form in the Support tab.
Angelo State University requires summative evaluation. Summative evaluation data is gathered using the IDEA form. The IDEA evaluation enables students to evaluate their instructor and the course. Faculty should use the feedback to revise the course.
As Angelo State University increases its online course offerings, the IDEA form may be adapted to assess online courses. Online IDEA’s will likely be very different from face-to-face courses because the course and teaching techniques will have to be repurposed for the online medium to provide effective instruction. The Concord Consortium offers an e-learning model of nine elements which must be present for quality online education (The Concord Consortium, 2001, “The Concord Consortium e-Learning Model”):
- Asynchronous collaboration
- Explicit schedules
- Expert facilitation
- Inquiry pedagogy
- Community building
- Limited enrollment
- High-quality materials
- Purposeful virtual spaces
- Ongoing assessment