This is the fifth and final week of instruction in the Blendkit program. This week we were introduced to the various types of instruments for evaluation that exist, and the limitations that exist employing any one type of evaluation. In order to get a fuller picture of the quality of the educational experience that an instructor’s blended course is providing a blend of evaluation tools is needed: self-assessment, student summative feedback, and peer or administrative feedback. Although this may require more time for the instructor, it is essential, especially in the first incarnation of a blended course, to pursue a quality blended learning environment. To keep this goal a focus of the design of my blended learning course I will employ these three assessment strategies.
First, self-assessment and writing personal teaching goals for both the f2f and the online environments is a good idea. It reminds me of reflective teaching practice that I learned to utilize during my MA TESOL program. In my opinion it is the online portion of a blended online course where the instructor needs to be the most vigilant, and active, to ensure that students feel supported and that the instructor is present. I think there is a danger that, because the online environment encourages learner autonomy, instructors might say, “Well, I created the environment, now it’s up to them to engage with it.” The old horse water metaphor. However if feedback on assignments is not prompt and the instructor does not engage in discussions (without dominating) students will disengage or define it as busy work, and not participate earnestly.
The second aspect of quality assurance in blended learning lies in summative feedback provided by students. Our institution provides opportunities for student feedback after the midterm and final exams, but these are focused on f2f interactions. I will encourage students to comment on the online portion of the course at that time, and will provide an online survey or discussion forum on the learning management system as well. Questions would be directed at learners’ perception of relevance of online assignments to course goals, ease of site use, and clarity of assignment instructions.
The final part of this evaluation process would be to get some outside perspective from a colleague or administrator, ideally someone with experience designing or implementing blended learning. Luckily there are several faculty members who are experienced in this area in my department. I will provide a rubric to one of these faculty members and administrative access to the LMS where my course resides so that they can see students’ levels of participantion as well as settings on quizzes and assignments. Finally, I will ask to do a similar evaluation of their blended learning course. I have found great value in observing staff members’ classes and discussing their design choices, so I am sure there would be similar benefit in observation of the online environment they design for learners.
This final step, evaluation, in most design models like ADDIE, ensure that your design process is iterative and that the designer works to constantly improve the E-learning environment for learners so that the content and assignments are clearly described and understood by learners and that they match course learning objectives. I look forward to implementing this final step and learning what steps I can take to improve my course design