I’ve built and taught online ed courses for five years. Like anything else, there are positives as well as negatives. Through the online environment, students who may have not had a chance to attend a brick-and-mortar course can enroll. I can “teach” in my pajamas. It’s a challenge, however, to re-create the classroom atmosphere in the asynchronous environment of the courses I’ve delivered. I’ve tried. But that’s not my #1 beef with online ed.
With three clicks, I can get the exact minutes and seconds that a student has been engaged in a course. I assumed (wrongly!) that if I could check the online engagements of my students, surely the university would be checking on ME. However, neither university where I teach currently has a program for evaluating exactly how much time we instructors spend on our online courses.
Which brings me to #1 beef. The image with this post represents my total course evaluations for the online course that I just finished. One student filled out the electronic evaluation. One. And what do we know about non-required evaluations? They are typically either super-duper positive or super-duper negative.
Which will that one evaluation be? I must wait to find out.
So although I logged into my course all the time, participated in discussion boards, wrote paragraphs and paragraphs of feedback, provided video feedback, built a Voxer group so we could “talk” to each other, responded to emails within a couple of hours, gave loads of options for assessment and projects…..you get the idea.
I will be “graded” for this course by one student and one student only.
Universities need to figure out a way to evaluate instructor presence and engagement in online courses that goes beyond student evaluations. I would welcome such a system. And if that weeds out lazy instructors who are merely collecting a paycheck? Even better. Our students deserve accountability from those who claim to teach them.
Until then, I’ll be evaluating myself and my courses as many ways as I can. What tools are used to evaluate YOU?