Friday, March 13, 2009

Week Two thoughts

Why is evaluation important to you and how do you define it?

I view evaluation as a platform or tool for design, for development or for improvement. Evaluation is a way of determining what is needed, how it will fit with other developments and if something is really needed or just wanted. . Evaluation can easily be incorporated into the design stage of a project via SWOT analysis where the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are defined. Evaluation throughout development is vital to ensure that a reliable, realistic product is created.

Evaluation comes in many forms and informal talks with peers, stakeholders and industry advisors at conferences etc are just another example of ways in which we can self assess and expand our horizons.

2. What sort of evaluations mentioned on the presentation are familiar to you already and why?


These are used in the courses I teach to ensure students can actually do the physical tasks asked of them in the unit plan. Additionally, we as lecturers are observed by our peers in the classroom and given feedback on our practices.


Students are asked to fill in lecturer and programme evaluation forms each semester on each course. This enables the lecturer to take a look at themselves through others eyes.

Discussion forums

In one of my courses I use the discussion board in Blackboard to encourage collaboration amongst the students. This exercise also provides a way for me to be able to assess how the students are coping with the sometimes difficult material. I can then decide whether parts of the subject needs to be taught a different way or new resources created.

Expert Reviews

An example of expert reviews that I can think of is the external moderation of course design and material that happens on all programmes in the school I work in. Stakeholder meetings are also one way that our institute evaluates what is going on in industry and therefore which direction to take our courses.

3. Why is quality important in eLearning?

Quality in elearning is important because the product or resource has to replace (albeit
temporarily sometimes) a face to face lesson. Students will rely on that resource to provide the knowledge and answers they would generally ask of the tutor.
Providing a poor quality elearning product or resource with little or no support (teacher contact, help resources or f2f facilitation) will inevitably result in poor success rates and lower overall course participation numbers perhaps.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Hi all

I'm Heather Moran and I work at UCOL Palmerston North in the same office as Debra M, although not on the same programme. I've been working at UCOL now for ten years with the past five of them working as a Lecturer in Information Systems.

I teach face to face classes but mark assignments for our blended delivery computing programme and online business programmes on occasion.

What I know of, and about, evaluation is all down to my past experiences as a student and as a tutor. Both of these situations are very obviously different and give very differing views on the relevance of evaluation.

As a student sometimes it feels as if we are just filling in forms or posting opinions and/or ideas to fulfill some assessment criteria within the programme, rather than it being of any relevant use to us. We're given programme evaluation forms to fill in, lecturer evaluation forms to complete, unit or paper evaluations and sometimes units come with assessment criteria that requires us to leave feedback on a discussion board or some other form of chatting facility. Some of the time we are left wondering if anything said in the evaluation is even taken notice of.

As a tutor we see evaluation as a way to gauge students' interest in our papers/units, resources, and programmes. While data gathered can be useful, it is what is done with that information that is important. If we find that we are asking students and co-workers to evaluate situations/resources and then not following up with the data gathered, is it a wasted exercise? And how often are we performing these “wasted exercises?”.

So in reality (my opinion anyway) it's no wonder that some students give responses that are less than honest and authentic. Some people are not naturally outspoken or adept at giving "feedback" so evaluation to them can be a daunting task. Some people love it and relish the opportunity to leave feedback. So what is the balance? Is there a balance between giving evaluation tasks and receiving useful authentic feedback and giving evaluation tasks that result in information that is less useful? Of course there is, but how and when it is done is the key.

What I hope to get from this paper are ideas and/or tools for making evaluation authentic, realistic and relevant. I hope to share my ideas and learn with my fellow course participants the "best practice" for evaluation.