Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weeks 5 & 6

Over these two weeks we have been asked to look at different evaluation models, presented by Professor Tom Reeves. As I only teach F2F I have been struggling with the getting my head around the whole evaluation concept. After last nights class meeting, I think things have suddenly become clearer and I can see a way forward, great when everything starts to click.

The outline of my project is that I will carry out a needs assessment (or needs analysis, front end analysis) on a third year paper I teach as part of the Hotel major of the Bachelor of Applied Management degree. As lecturers, we have been asked to consider delivering these Level 7 papers more 'flexibly', however, that does not mean at this stage that they have to be totally online. Students at present can access powerpoint slides, readings and link via Blackboard.

The first stage and way of introduction and background to the project will be a review of some of the information that we have been given as lecturers, this will form the basis to conduct a needs assessment, which will evaluate the viability of putting the course online, the opportunity to engage with students in what they want and also discuss with experts in the field on eLearning.
I have suggested in my previous post that I will use the eclectic-mixed methods pragmatic approach and I still believe that it will work well in this context.

I have revisited the eLearning guidelines, which are a wonderful tool and revised my chosen guidelines to:

TD1 - Is the use of e-learning appropriate to the intended learning outcome? - this will be crucial to answer to ensure that the proposed eLearning fits with the learning outcomes of the paper.

ST1 - Do you have a way to identify needs and respond to them - if I am to move towards more a more flexible delivery approach, I want a better understanding from the outset of what students would like from this type of delivery, I believe that it is crucial to ensure connectivity between the students, their learning and lecturer.

Although, limited to only two guidelines, I would also like to consider the following guideline:
TO10 - Is good elearning practice available to staff in a way they can adopt and adapt in their own work? - in some ways, that is the reason that I have enrolled onto to this course, as I want to learn and understand some of the issues with elearning.

I have also started to consider the adoption of multiple methods evaluation (Mark and Shortland, 1987 as cited in Reeves & Hedberg, 2003) as an appropriate model, I believe that this will ensure that the final product will work well and through surveys (or focus groups - undecided after last nights discussion what will work best and considering the credibility of student answers ) of students, interviews with an elearning expert (and maybe further discussion with staff outside of my school area) and review of strategic plan documentation. This triangulation should give a reasonable indication and support for the outcomes and success of adopting flexible options to a F2F course.

I am still trying to find/digest some articles that fit with my project, so will post that part when I have that information. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Reeves, T. C., & Hedberg, J. C. (2003). Interactive Learning Systems Evaluation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.


  1. Rachel this is a very thoughtful and detailed post. I can see your ideas forming towards a very useful evaluation project. The guidelines you have chosen are very relevant. My feeling is that you could use data collection methods which involve academic staff or an educational designer plus look at the organisational strategic plan - perhaps leave students out of it at this stage. They could be mentioned in the plan but not necessarily sampled. So your project does not get too big. Though you could investigate the support available for students for elearning. we should talk about your ideas once you have got something more formed. You are certainly heading in the right direction.

  2. Hi Rachel, I think it is very important to include TO10. You will find a host of useful ideas and ways to teach online from colleagues and designers - a bit like doing another teaching degree really ;).

    As Bronwyn said, the support for students is very important too.