Primer for Teaching Online
9. Evaluate Your Course
An important element of online course development is the use of formative evaluation and feedback during the development phase for both course content and technical aspects. The development phase is where errors and corrections should be found rather than having students uncover errors after the course has begun. Have fellow faculty review your content to ensure relevance and continuity. Have your local distance learning department review your course for non-content issues. Get students to review your course and listen carefully to any feedback you receive.
Don’t forget to take note of student comments after the course goes online and plan your revisions accordingly. Student comments can provide a wealth of information on what worked and, more importantly, what areas need improvement. Create a log that tracks problems to pinpoint these problem areas. Once a problem area is discovered, modify the area and then test the new version on a student sample prior to the beginning of the next semester. If for some reason these problem areas cannot be redone, take time at the beginning of the semester to explain these problem areas to students. The better your evaluation process the less of a chance your students will have a frustrating online experience.
Technical reviews are detail-oriented inspections of all non-content aspects of your course. They are typically done by the campus distance learning department but can be performed by anyone who is computer literate and can follow a predetermined set of guidelines. A good technical review would include, but is certainly not limited to the following:
- Hyperlinks : Ensure that they work properly. Recheck links at the beginning of each semester.
- Graphics : Verify that they load properly and reasonably quickly using a variety of connection speeds and browsers.
- Menus : Check to see that they perform correctly and take users to the proper place.
- Font Sizes : Ensure that they are used consistently throughout the course.
- Syllabus : Should include information useful to the online student such as who to contact for technical difficulties, minimum system requirements, and the location of a tutorial to the online classroom.
- Online Web Course Design Guidelines Rubric
- Online Teaching and Learning Resource Guide, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Online Course Design Guidelines, University of Toronto
- Guide to Online Course Design and Quality Standards, public version of the Quality Matters
- Rubric for Online Instruction
- University of Washington Office of Educational Assessment
- Copy Editing Checklist, The University of Texas TeleCampus