2009 Canadian e-Learning Conference Program

Overcoming the Limitations of “Course Evaluation Surveys”: How CMS Tracking Data Can Inform Teaching Practice and Course Design

Session Title: Overcoming the Limitations of “Course Evaluation Surveys”: How CMS Tracking Data Can Inform Teaching Practice and Course Design

Time & Date: 2:00 P.M. – 2:55 P.M., Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Location: Rm. 182, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC)

Session Description: A recent blog post by Professor Terry Anderson, Director of the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research at Athabasca University, highlights current difficulties in collecting meaningful data to allow evaluation of design and instruction of online courses. In particular, Anderson draws attention to the low student response rate for both online and hard-copy “course evaluation” survey instruments. As higher education institutions increasingly embrace quality assurance models and seek greater accountability, there is a corresponding increasing emphasis on obtaining data that allow meaningful evaluation of teaching and learning. However, poor student response rates to traditional surveys obviously have a negative impact on the validity of data thus collected, and raise questions about overall cost s versus benefits of survey approaches.

Meanwhile, high adoption rates of online technologies in education institutions have made available new approaches to course evaluation that can inform teaching practice and improve student learning. We will describe current collaborative research in universities in Australia and Canada in which we are investigating new – and potentially more meaningful – approaches to evaluating the student learning experience measured through engagement, sense of community and academic performance. Our research builds on the extraction of course management system (CMS) data tracking student online activity and interactions, and explores its relationship to effective teaching practice, effective learning strategies and student success in courses. This session will engage participants in a discussion about how these data can be mined and interpreted by individual instructors to supplement student surveys or replace them altogether.

Anderson, T. (2008). Online Student Course Evaluations.

Conference Stream: Research

Session Format: Paper Jam

Co-Presenter: Leah Macfadyen

Co-Presenter Bio: Leah P. Macfadyen is a Research Associate in the Science Centre for Learning and Teaching (Skylight) in the Faculty of Science at The University of British Columbia. Her research interests include teaching and learning with technology, science education and international education.

Co-Presenter: Shane Dawson

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