Observing Online Instruction: View of Instructors and Students

The tremendous growth of online learning has been spurred by improved student access, the increased rate of degree completion, and the growth of varied and/or professional education1 (Seaman and Allen, 2008). For long-term success in online education , institutions must establish an overall program composed of recruitment, training, scheduling, and mentoring. They also need a system for evaluating and observing faculty to ensure that course standards are maintained and courses are taught within institutional policies.

Park University has developed the faculty online observation (FOO) system that allows for an annual observation of each of the 400+ online adjunct faculty members. The FOO was developed on the basis of research in the area of evaluation and observation, to include Best Practices 2 , the Seven Principles of Effective Teaching 3 , Quality Matters, and Principles of Effective Teaching in the Online Classroom 4 . The FOO allows observers to observe the facilitation of courses and includes five major portions of classroom facilitation: building community in the classroom; discussion, facilitation, and instruction; assessment, grading, and feedback; course climate and online classroom environment; and online instructor response time.

It was important to determine the importance that faculty placed on the areas of the FOO concerning their view of facilitation topics that they are “judged” by. To determine this, the faculty members were surveyed in March – April 2010. There were 268 respondents that responded to 39 items in a Likert style questionnaire. Concerning building community in the classroom, e-mail and discussion threads were very important, as well as new learner concerns. Likewise, instructors placed a high importance on responding to e-mails in a timely manner, while not as much importance was placed on grade book comments. Instructors were not as apt to place a high importance on discussion facilitation and instruction. Only 6 of 10 felt it was very important to provide feedback on homework assignments and term papers. Fewer felt this way concerning threaded discussions, core assessments, and auto-graded assignments, and discussion board submissions’ grade book comments. These are considered critical items of observation and thus it is of some concern that faculty does not place these items as a higher priority. Seven of 10 instructors felt that instructors should grade all assignments in a timely manner, but only five of 10 felt that instructors should provide helpful, individualized, constructive feedback on all graded assignments.

by Michael T. Eskey, PhD in Online Education.

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/observing-online-instruction-view-of-instructors-and-students/

Comments are closed.