FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING AND FOR THE EVALUATION OF ASYNCHRONOUS INTERNET CLASSES
Valdosta State University
Many questions are being raised as to proper Web-based class sizes, teaching loads, quality-learning limits, etc., in light of new technologies in learning over the Internet. Indeed, if 'seat time', physical classroom size and student numbers seem to be concepts not wholly applicable---and clearly not literally applicable---in the cyberspace medium, just how are schools and departments going to address these questions properly and responsibly? After all, teaching loads and faculty assignments are still being made; the salient issue is how to approach these concerns in the new medium. Furthermore, colleges and universities are asking how to evaluate and assess proper teaching performance in technology-delivered classes over the Internet. How is such teaching to be evaluated as well? My attempt here is to sketch a model for both endeavors: approaching class-assignments and class-assessments.
The framework model I outline here is built around the notion that course outcomes, clearly defined around precise, measurable activities and time involved to accomplish such activities, regarding professor coursework engagement-time required, can assist university departments in their formulation of responsible teaching loads and class size limits. Formulations will vary with respect to a faculty member's work load, relative to individual teaching, service, and research commitments, but to help in the assessment of proper teaching and learning outcomes, special attention should be paid to to the quality-assumptions regarding the necessary time spent in Internet class delivery in pursuit of the outcomes assumed. In other words, in attempting to arrive at a teaching load, for example, one might ask: Given the relative work assigned to teaching, service and research, what is the proper amount of class time taken to accomplish the learning outcomes for the course to be taught? And is this professor properly prepared to teach such an online course? To these ends, the following model was developed, which should serve as a framework for discussing proper class size, teaching loads, and faculty teaching preparedness.
Course assessment and evaluative review will consider the following:
Does the course design clearly reflect and demonstrate the following practices, and does the professor demonstrate a commitment to, and an ability to, perform the following activities?
1. Encourage contact between students and faculty as an ongoing interchange.
2. Develop cooperation and collaboration among students.
3. Use active learning techniques involving questions/answers and interactive dialogue to promote critical exchanges.
4. Give prompt, ongoing feedback to student dialogue and questions.
5. Emphasize timely deadlines, tasks, due dates.
6. Communicate clear expectations, outcomes, assignments, and values.
7. Respect and encourage diverse talents and ways of learning and approaching problems.
(Framework enhanced by "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education," by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson, AAHE Bulletin (March, 1987).)