This has been a (ahem!) busy academic year so far as we all continue to develop as online faculty. While we are working to keep students active and connected to our courses, we are also attempting to improve our courses to be more complete and engaging. And through all of this, we are realizing that it really does take a lot of time and thoughtful effort to build effective and engaging online courses.
To continue honing our craft, we need to talk to peers, ask questions, share ideas, and, as I wrote about in my last post, reflect. Now, I want to add “course evaluation” to this building list of ways to keep improving our effectiveness. This may not be a groundbreaking addition to the list, and many of you probably have done this for years, but maybe there are some specific questions we should be asking in this online environment that are different than what you have asked in the past.
Asking our students some pointed questions about specific elements of our courses (course design, communication strategies, activities and assessments, organization, etc.) can provide some of the most valuable information we can get as instructors. So, as we approach the end of the semester, consider asking your students to complete an evaluation of your design. It doesn’t have to be long, and it can be built in Canvas (quiz/survey function) directly, or you could use Google Forms, which not only allows you to put the survey in Canvas, but you could also email it directly to your students.
Course elements/ideas to consider for your survey:
- Course organization: Home page/landing page. Modules. Module requirements and prerequisites.
- Communication strategies: Announcements. Messaging (message students who). Email. Texting.
- Activities and assessments: Which were effective? Not effective? Why?
- Technology: Specific tools used in the course (Canvas or third party or both).
- Community/Connectivity: Ask students if they felt connected to the course? To their peers? To you? What helped them feel that way?
So, I will ask my students a few pointed questions about elements of my class because I want to keep improving my course and my craft, and I hope you all will too!
If you have any questions about any parts of this entry, please feel free to reach out to me or go to the CTLE virtual office hours!