Wednesday, March 18, 2009

week 3 Summary: eLearning guidelines

Image: Soccer Practice by mill56

Isn't it great to see all the soccer players out on the playing fields at this time of year. This summary will be an overview of the main activity around the eLearning guidelines. People who did not feature in the previous summary will now get a mention. Again I am in danger of getting carried away as there are so many very interesting blog posts on this topic. It is also good to see that several of you are communicating with each other on your blogs and giving feedback. Impressive! :) The recording for the last class meeting is also available. We had a good discussion about quality and also evaluation projects, in particular, needs analysis.

As you can see from Deborah R-W's blog she has been attending an evaluation seminar for academic quality managers. It sounds fascinating. Deb you got me curious and now I can't stop! :) I did a Google search for Jane Davidson and her book: EVALUATION METHODOLOGY BASICS The Nuts and Bolts of Sound Evaluation - came up. I really like the idea of values-based evaluation which is Jane's approach. Watch for more on this in posts later on...

Elaine has been doing some serious catching up before disappearing for a short while. In her week 2 post she mentions some different methods she has used to collect data in the past when evaluating. There is further consolidation of the theme around quality, and the impact it has on student retention. This has been mentioned by several of you and clearly is a concern for all of us in the online teaching field. The week 3 post has two very relevant guidelines for the courses which Elaine is looking at re-organising in tourism, hence the need for some evaluation. I really like the ideas she has for redesigning the courses to include some authentic project work. See what you think and do give her some well deserved feedback.

Craig in has been doing some serious exploring and writing about eLearning Guidelines which are suitable for his project. In the My Guidelines post Craig has shown us how he worked through several options to find two guidelines which were most suitable. The guidelines will enable him to "monitor the quality of study material", and evaluate a "communities of practice approach to course development". This is a great example of the use of critical analysis (thinking and reasoning and evaluative judgement to solve a problem) is demonstrated in a blog post.

Craig has also posted a slideshare presentation about the Quality Matters rubric used to evaluate distance education. There are forty specific elements you can look at for some ideas. Be careful you read the copyright statement on the website before using the material as is, as unlike the eLearning Guidelines, the material is not freely available for use. Though they cannot control the ideas you might obtain from it. :) You might like to compare the Quality Matters rubric to the Wright and MacEwan criteria which Adrienne told us about in week one.

Pradeep has also been busy posting and in his first post on quality for week 2 sums it all up with the words: "..evaluation is the tool to checking quality." He also makes the point that assessments help to evaluate whether curriculum design is adequate. We do get excited when students pass at a high level and despondent when there is a high fail rate, and this certainly stimulates teachers to look at how their material is presented and to try different strategies to improve outcomes doesn't it?

In his week 3 post on guidelines, Pradeep has selected two examples and I have suggested he add the word, How, to one of them so that he has more scope for his evaluation project. SD3 - [How] do students gain knowledge relevant to employment and/or current thinking in their field? You might like to bear this in mind for the guidelines you choose.

Debra M
has written an excellent overview of her plans for evaluation and has critiqued some guidelines and her own "big picture" questions for her proposed evaluation. Several people have been leaving comments on her blog post and giving her feedback and encouragement. See what you think about Debra's ideas for making the pilot run of the new course interactive and for evaluating its success.

Kay has also been busy posting - week 3 and has chose two guidelines from the teaching area to address a lack of internal quality control procedures. Certainly a checklist for design and delivery is a helpful resource to have in eLearning. I wonder what others use? Adrienne has mentioned a resource she uses. Kay also posted her ideas around quality in her week 2 post and shows us how to connect the dots with others' posts. She mentions "specific indicators for measuring quality such as: assessment of student learning, feedback from students, peers and external reviewers and institutional accreditation procedures.

In contrast, Adrienne in her post has chosen guidelines from the student area with respect to choice, interaction and technologies. It is good to see you are back on board with a working computer.

A few people have found the cube of eLearning Guidelines a tad annoying to use. You can read their comments on Hervé [if] students are not clear about the expectations, processes, resources and outcomes of the course they are taking. From facilitator to students, it can be anyone's fault but in anycase it deprives the course of its spirit. Krishan, similar to a few of you, has found a focus on student learning around motivation and technology issues to be important with his choice of the following guidelines -TD2:Do students get clearly defined learning objectives that assist them in focussing on their learning activities? - and TD5: Have a representative sample of students tested the e-learning materials, and any necessary modifications been made?
OTARA design model
mentioned by Michelle in the comments area.
Weeks five and six: Evaluation methods, and there is two weeks holiday break from 6 to 17 April.

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