Thursday, January 20, 2011

Evaluating Teaching

Greetings from the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Scienc, where Lauren Kane from the Flexible Learning Unit is laading an Education Design Workshop on Evaluation.

ANU has a "Policy: Student Feedback on Teaching and Learning", "Guideline: Student Surveys on Teaching and Learning" and a system for student surveys. The standard surveys include "Student Experience of Learning & Teaching".

One interesting aspect of the discussion was the role of feedback from students during a course so changes can be made quickly, as distinct from (or not) evaluation at the end of a course for changes next time it is run. Angelo & Cross, in "Classroom Assessment Techniques" (1993) have CATs, including the Minute paper (a very short survey).

It struck me that online systems make this feedback much simpler. The Moodle Learning Management System, which ANU uses, for example, has a feedback module. Also information about student engagement can be obtained directly from the system by analysis of the use of the system. In "Academic Analytics: Indicators of Engagement" at Moodle Moot Au 2010 Colin Beer (Central Queensland University) provided an interesting analysis of information in a learning management system (LMS).

There was a discussion of how feasible it is to get regular feedback in a course and act on it. There was also a discussion of how detailed feedback should be. Rather than numeric ratings I suggested students could give a few words and a tag cloud could be generated.

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