Texas Tech University

Instructional Design Tips

Starting From the End: Course Evaluation

by Van Thanh Phan and eLearning ID Team

It is the end of the semester. Before you pack up for vacation, we hope you will spend a little time to reflect on your course quality to enhance your online teaching methods and students' learning experiences.

An evaluation can include your reflection on your own teaching activities. You can make a list of your successes or failures and solutions to fix the negative factors. We suggest the following questions to guide your self-evaluation:

  • What are the most significant achievements in terms of teaching methodology and technology implementations?
  • What are the failures?
    • Were exam questions keyed with incorrect answers?
    • Were too many dates scattered throughout the course, causing student confusion?
    • Did you end up having to clarify assignment instructions?
    • Were students confused on how to access particular content?
    • Was the group project unproductive?
    • Was your Bb Collaborate session effective?
    • What instructions could you provide students ahead of time to prepare?
    • Are any questions on the exam analytics queued as being too hard or too easy?
    • Was the Grade Center what you expected?
  • What are the solutions to the failures?

If you need more specific resources about which elements to assess, you can refer to the following resources:

You may also investigate students' perceptions about the quality of the course with similar criteria you use for your self-evaluation. Surveys and interviews are two common methods to collect student responses. After collecting responses, you can plan on how to analyze them, thus improving your course and methods.

Some questions you could use to prompt student responses:

  • What features of this course did you find most helpful?
  • What actions on the part of the instructor did you find most helpful?
  • How can this course be improved?

We also recommend the institutional survey for examining students' perceptions. You could even adapt or create more questions pertaining to the particular aspects of the course.

Please note that for any changes you plan to make, be sure to have a development shell to work with. You can copy your live course into this shell without disturbing the student data. Then make any changes to improve the course, and copy the improved version into the live course shell for next semester it is offered.

The eLearning ID team is available to help you identify course redesign strategies to correct issues or miscues that occurred in the past semester. Contact us if you need further assistance.