Sunday, December 7, 2008


The fall semester is drawing to a close and students are taking final exams that evaluate their learning. However, what methods do you have to evaluate your success as an instructor?

Your institution may deliver student surveys. This anonymous and direct communication from students is valuable and launches some of my best ideas, but sometimes these results are very skewed by a couple unhappy students. I also consider performance on assignments and the number of questions I may have had regarding some of them. If students really struggled with something, then I need to go back to the drawing board on that concept. I also include a couple checking-in type discussions for feedback. I ask in the middle of the semester “How’s it going,” so that I can hear from students about what is working or not for them and share some ideas of how they could get the most out of the course materials. Another discussion at the end of the semester asks “What did you think”. Here students are encouraged to provide their thoughts about assignments, discussions, workload, and digital content. I thank each of them, positive or negative, and again get some of my best ideas directly from them.

Getting student feedback is important, but you should also consider using some rubrics for course design to evaluate your courses. CCCOnline gives faculty a self-evaluation list to consider. It asks a series of yes/no questions to help faculty carry on their inner-dialogue any time of the year. Other rubrics are more formal such as the Blackboard Greenhouse Project and Quality Matters. For more, you might also check out the De Anza College page for Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning and Best Practices in Online Teaching at Connexions.

We usually get a little extra time between fall and spring semesters, so no matter what, take a break over the holidays and then take time evaluate your course and online teaching.

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