DL Course Evaluation Summaries for Spring 2002

Overall analysis of student course evaluation summaries as prepared by faculty teaching distance courses. The results were presented to DL Steering Committee members for discussion of distance program improvements, and action as needed. Action items are noted in red and continually updated.

What went well in Distance Learning Classes

  1. Like last term, almost all reported student appreciation of not having to drive to class, flexible hours, ability to balance family/class and convenience.
  2. Mix of different technologies in some classes. The DDEC will encourage use of multiple technologies in faculty training sessions.
  3. Availability of some instructors for individual help during office hours in person or online.
  4. Instructor-specific praises.

What was problematic or should be improved

  1. Some students miss face-to-face interaction.
  2. One instructor reported firewall problems with WebCT. .
  3. Some students are still not taking advantage of available WebCT training sessions, help guides, or support. The DDEC will publicize need for required student training sessions to faculty through email reminders, including but not limited to the faculty Webct listserv.
  4. Increasing difficulty in getting GSAMS sites. One instructor noted that he will only teach online now.
  5. Course specific complaints, such as assignments, projects, books, group work etc.

Planned changes for future delivery of course, based on students' feedback

  1. The most frequently cited improvement was to increase opportunities for interaction, through chat, projects, or optional face-to-face meetings.
  2. Some still reported the need to make sure that students understand the demands of taking a distance course up front. One noted that students seemed to think that an online course would be easier and were surprised that it was so time-consuming. In addition to the new online orientation site for distance at: http://www.westga.edu/~online/, instructors should make the demands of online learning clear in their syllabi.
  3. Those using Horizon Live said they would increase the number of times they use it in their courses.
  4. Have formative evaluation early in course.
  5. Course specific changes not related to distance delivery such as textbook, assignments, etc.

Biggest adjustments required for distance instructors

  1. Finding enough time to develop class, answer emails, and respond to student inquiries.

Level of student services, DDEC, and instructor support

  1. All reported good to superior for non-academic support.
  2. Instructors reported that they were supportive of students but that some needed to know upfront the unique demands of online learning.
  3. Two instructors complained that WebCT is not user-friendly and cumbersome.