DETA 2011distance education in changing africaAugust 3 – 5, 2011 Effective Assessment and Evaluation Strategies for Distance Education Programs. Prof. Martin Dwomoh-Tweneboah, Ph. D. Linfield College, OREGON, U.S.A Visiting Professor Catholic University of Mozambique Beira
What is Distance Education? • Distance education or distance learning, is a field of education that focuses on teaching methods and technology with the aim of delivering teaching, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional educational setting such as a classroom( Wikipedia Definition).
Components of Distance Education DistanceEducation
Mode of Delivery • Print based courses • Conferencing courses (video conferencing) • Computer-based training (CBT) • Pre-recorded audio courses (tapes, podcasts) • Radio broadcast courses • Television broadcast course • Online courses, using Learning Management Systems.
Common Misconceptions About Program Assessment • 1. The results of assessment will be used to evaluate faculty performance. • 2. Our program is working well, our students are learning; we don’t need to bother with assessment. • 3. We will assign a single faculty member to conduct the assessment. Too many opinions would only delay and hinder the process.
Common Misconceptions About Program Assessment • 4. The administration might use the results to eliminate some of the department’s programs. • 5. Assessment is a waste of time and does not benefit the students. • 6. We will come up with an assessment plan for this year and use it every year thereafter. • 7. Program assessment sounds like a good idea, but it is time-consuming and complex. Source: Program Assessment Handbook, University of Central Florida
Assessment and Evaluation Framework • A good assessment and evaluation of distance learning programs identify the vision, goals, objectives, outcomes and measures. • What do you like to do?(Vision) • What steps do you take to get there?(Goals) • What do you have to achieve for each step?(Objectives and Outcomes) • How well are you doing it? (Measures) • What and how does a program contribute to the development and growth of its students?
Five Metrics of Program Assessment • Institutional mission statement. • Students’ needs and satisfaction. • Students learning and course outcomes. • instructional technology in use. • Staff needs and support
Institutional Mission Statement • Most institutions offering distance education programs don’t include distance education in the mission statements. • The institution’s mission statement should specify the institutions’, educational philosophy, and educational objectives with respect to distance education. • The mission of the departments in charge of the various distance learning programs or courses should also identify the missions, goals and objectives of each program or course and align them to the institutional mission
Students’ Needs and Satisfaction • Does the institution have adequate student support services and apparatus to support off campus students in terms of learning, advising and career development?” • Students’ needs can be identified by getting to know them as soon as possible through the use of profiles and introductory activities. • Students’ needs can be assessed by: • 1) analyzing existing data sources • 2) conducting regular surveys • 3) studying students’ profiles • 4) interviewing community members and focus groups
Instructional Technology in Use The Bates’ ACTIONS model of quality • Access and Flexibility • Costs • Teaching and Learning • Interactivity and user friendliness • Organizational issues • Novelty • Speed The choice of technology must facilitate student learning.
Staff Needs and Support • Workload, efforts put in developing teaching materials, work being considered as part for promotion/tenure decision making. • Fundamental metrics that enable the staff to function effectively as distance education instructors: • environment • incentives • motivation, • knowledge, • skills and proficiency necessary to integrate technology in instruction and mode of delivery, • the ability to evaluate student achievements at distant sites
Conclusion • Program Assessment must be used as a feedback mechanism. • Program assessment and evaluation is not intended to be used in evaluating faculty, staff or students. • Program assessment and evaluation must be ongoing.
Conclusion • While a particular assessment method and strategy is not an “all size fits all”, the assessment methods and data collected may vary in each environment. • To foster quality assurance, there should be accreditation bodies solely responsible for distance learning. • For internationalization and cross-border acceptance, regional accreditation bodies must be set up within the various economic blocs in Sub-Saharan Africa to oversee the administration and program development of distance education programs.