Monday, August 29, 2011

Catching up

As stated in WikiEd:
Evaluation in an educational setting has been defined by several scholars. For example,
"the collection of, analysis and interpretation of information about any aspect of a programme of education or training as part of a recognised process of judging its effectiveness, its efficiency and any other outcomes it may have"(Ellington, Percival and Race, 1988).
the systematic acquisition of feedback on the use, worth and impact of some activity, program or process in relation to its intended outcomes (Naidu, 2005).
"the process of making judgements and decisions about a product and trying to understand how people use the product in order to learn" (Phillips, 2005).

Myself and two colleagues are involved in a project to devise an evaluation plan. We have chosen a course entitled 'The Conditions of the Head and Scalp'. This is a course that has already been trialled (semester one, 2011) and so our project will be a summative evaluation measuring effectiveness. The course has changed from f2f lecture delivery to being completely online. The purpose of the evaluation is to establish the effectiveness of this form of delivery and whether the format can be utilised within the context of other courses.

I have been reading various literature regarding bench marks and best practice.

Stansfield, M. et al (2009), identify a number of key issues from organisational, technological, pedagogical, student/user and financial perspective. The technological issues are an important issue in regard to any online learning in particular ensuring adequate/on-going support for both staff and students. Pedagogical issues including appropriate approaches and stimulating content for the student. Student issues underpinning best practice demonstrates the importance of clear and effective communication, including online guidance, support and feedback. Peer feedback and support was noted to be effective means of supporting and interacting with each other.

The 'Good Practice Checklist for Online Courses' (Otago Polytechnic) will be a good framework to assist the evaluation of our course.

The eLearning guidelines for new zealand are an effective checklist and prompt supporting good practice and will be a good reference for our evaluation project.

Bates and Obexer (2005) conducted an evaluation on the effectiveness of online teaching and learning strategies for aviation students. They based their evaluation on teaching and learning strategies focussing on 5 areas: Social presence, Interaction, Cognitive strategies, Collaborative learning and Learner-centeredness. The evaluation involved a multiple methods approach combining both qualitative and quantative evaluation methods. The results were interesting to read from the different aspects of the Course observation for each of the five areas, the Student perceptions, and the Instructor reflections. Areas of particular note the social presence and environnment created were very positive. The importance of ensuring timely student feedback was noted as an issue that could be improved. The instructor felt that the reasoning behind the process of the group collaborative assignment was needed, stating where some students interact more easily with the student-centred approach, others require more coaching and information. These issues highlight the importance of evaluation not only conducted at the end but earlier on to focus on any issues that can be addressed.

Stansfield M, Connolly T, Cartelli A, Jimoyiannis A, Magalhães H, and Maillet K. “The Identification of Key Issues in the Development of Sustainable e-Learning and Virtual Campus Initiatives” Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 7 Issue 2 2009, (pp155 - 164), available online at

eLearning guidelines for new zealand (2008). Retrieved 15 August, 2011 from

WikiEdProfessional eLearning guidebook/evaluatiing the impacts of eLearning/definitions of evaluation. Retrieved 29 August 2011 from

Bates, P and Obexer, R (2005). Evaluating student centred teaching and learning strategies for aviation students using a quality framework for online learning environments. Retrieved 15 August, 2011 from

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adding to my intro :)

I came to NZ from England with the challenge of taking up a teaching position 20 years ago (sounds such a long time) ....I now have an 18yr old son and 15 yr old daughter - life has not been dull.
As Beauty Therapy is such a practical subject interactive/ group activities have worked well over the years for incorporating the underpinning theory for our students.
A couple of years ago I was part of a digital literacy group which gave me a much greater understanding of the use and application of online tools available.
As a department here at MIT we had been using Blackboard and interacting on eMIT, but mainly for assessments.
The confidence I've gained has lead me to develop online videos for the students to access online outside the classroom environment, as well as give me an extra voice/pair of hands. We recently had monitors installed in our practical room which is fantastic - greater opportunities for interaction and support for the students.
The students have generally responded well to the online activities, although have needed encouragement to access the resources on eMIT and external links.
Quizlet has been an effective resource with the students, as well as the formative assessments/activities where they can have multiple attempts to ensure/check their level of understanding.
Vocabulary is always a challenge particularly with anatomy and physiology terminology, and so I have been developing a glossary - which I would like the students to add to.
This semester I have given more structure to the information on eMIT to include class notes - particularly for students who may have been absent. I have been making posting on the announcement page to help keep in touch and post reminders etc.
I introduced the concept of a class Wiki, with the students working collaboratively with new information they had to research and share.
This was fine in class, but they're not as actively involved as I would like. Hopefully with another reminder from today it should look more promising... checking together in an online class session on thursday :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Evaluation of eLearning for Effective Practice

I teach on the beauty programmes offered at MIT.
Having completed 2 other papers for the Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, I have been developing my teaching practice towards a more enhanced blended learning delivery. Implementing the changes has been very time consuming but the feedback has been rewarding. I look forward to learning more about evaluation, as this is an essential part of identifying the effectiveness of a course/programme.