I. Distance and Distributed Education Center / UWG Online Course Evaluations and Evaluation Summaries prepared by DE Faculty:
In order to strengthen UWG’s distance and distributed learning programs, separate evaluations have been developed for distance courses. These evaluations specifically address issues to ensure that the technology used is appropriate, and that students are satisfied with their learning experiences. Each term a Student Evaluation is distributed to all students enrolled in distance learning courses. The evaluation is made available online to those enrolled in web-based courses. Fall 2003 and prior, paper copies were distributed to those enrolled in GSAMS courses. The evaluations were developed by the Distance Learning Administrator and a team of faculty experienced in distance teaching. Evaluation results, including a compilation of student comments, are reported to each department chair, and then forwarded to the respective faculty.
Approved by the UWG Faculty Senate for Fall 2001, all distance faculty are sent a form along with the results of their distance course surveys (see table Ic. below). The Evaluation Summary for Distance Courses form asks that the faculty provide written documentation (now implemented in an online CourseEval survey) reflecting on their DE course evaluation results and how the students' feedback will be used for improvement. The Distance and Distributed Education Center retains copies of all evaluations. Data collected is used to help determine which courses need to be offered, the effectiveness of the interaction, and how training and support services can be improved.
Our university’s selected online course delivery tool, CourseDen - Desire2Learn (formerly called WebCT), also allows for formative assessment and evaluation by the instructor, who can track student usage patterns. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning compiles data enabling comparisons of grades and retention rates of distance courses to campus classes.
I.a. GSAMS (2-way videoconferencing) - Course Evaluation Data *stopped after 2003
I.b. CourseDen / WebCT (online) - Distance Education Student Satisfaction Survey Data
I.c. Distributed Education (all distance technologies) - Course Evaluation Summaries
II. Campus-wide Student Evaluations
Courses offered through Distance Education are also evaluated by a campus-wide "Student Evaluations Instrument" (see SEI here). The form ask students to evaluate all disciplines on a systematic basis regarding course strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvements. It is the instructor's responsibility to either conduct the SEI in a face-to-face session or to request that the DDEC post the SEI in the alternate online format.
III. eCore Assessments are conducted and data maintained, by the central University System of Georgia's GeorgiaVIEW Office.
UWG is one of only four host institutions for the University System of Georgia's eCore program. The eCore® are core curriculum classes taught on the Web. Core classes are typically classes required during the first two years of a college degree. Not all core curriculum classes will be available as eCore®. See this USG website for specific details on the eCore program.
UWG's eCore Enrollment, by semester, for Fall 2000 through Fall 2006 is available here: link unavailable.
Data from eCore ™ Student Services Questionnaire & Data from eCore ™ Student Profile Survey is available here: link unavailable.
IV. Distance Students Focus Groups & Random Phone Surveys
Beginning Spring 2002, the Distance & Distributed Ed Center conducted bi-annual focus groups comprised of randomly selected focus groups. Students were given the option to travel to campus for an interview or participate via e-mail. Random phone surveys of distance students are sometimes conducted, in lieu of focus groups.
The purpose of the focus groups and phone surveys is to evaluate the current satisfaction of distance students with student services and development services, and to discover what improvements should be made to promote a greater sense of community and belonging. Results from these focus groups and phone surveys will be used to improve the DE courses at UWG.
Spring 2002 Distance Students Focus Group Results (PDF- 19.6KB)
Spring 2003 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 31.8KB)
Spring 2004 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 30.9KB)
Spring 2005 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 31KB)
Spring 2006 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 27.4KB)
Spring 2008 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 30.8KB)
Spring 2010 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 33.4KB)
Spring 2011 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 32.9KB)
Spring 2012 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 33.5KB)
Spring 2014 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 43.6KB)
Spring 2015 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 256KB)
Spring 2016 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 348KB)
Spring 2017 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 342KB)
V. Faculty Distance Learning Assessment
A "Faculty Distance Learning Assessment," was distributed to UWG faculty early fall 1998 semester to measure faculty acceptance of distance education and to determine what factors motivate and inhibit distance participation. Faculty who had used WebCT for distance teaching were significantly more positive than those who had only used GSAMS. The primary factors inhibiting faculty participation in distance teaching were concern for course quality and workload. Motivating factors tended to more often be intrinsic (challenge, desire to keep up) for those who had distance teaching experience and extrinsic (release time, monetary reward) for those who had not. Results were use to determine how the DDE Center could improve the quality of support services for DE faculty. See the Faculty Attitudes Toward Distance Education at the University of West Georgia (PDF- 36.3KB).
VI. Helpdesk Assessment
The DDEC began using Remedy, a help-desk tracker, in January 2003, to enable us to identify patterns of support needs, including peak times, common problems, as well as satisfaction with support services. In Jan 2012, the department improved it's ablility to track, assign, and escalate helpcall tickets, by investing in a new helpdesk system called Numara Footprints.
All telephone and email support calls from faculty and students received by distance learning are logged into the system. When a ticket is closed, the customer receives a satisfaction survey via email.
Summary of Helpdesk Assessment for Spring 2003: January 6, 2003 through April 22,
2003 (PDF- 14.1)
Summary of Helpdesk Assessment for Fall 2003 through Summer 2004 (PDF- 20.6KB)
Most Recent Summary of Helpdesk Assessment (Webpage)
VII. Quality Assurance Procedures
- All courses and support for distance and distributed education at UWG will comply with the standards of the Southern Regional Electronic Campus, SACS-COC, and the BOR.
- Distance courses, either credit, or non-credit must have comparable student learning as programs on campus. All distance courses must be complete and coherent, with provisions for appropriate interaction among faculty and students, and appropriate course supervision.
- Responsibility for assuring compliance with standards falls under the auspices of the Insitutional Distance Education Administrator, Dr. Melanie Clay (IDEA).
- Formal evaluation of student satisfaction and perceived learning in DE courses is conducted each term by the DDE. Periodic (annual or semi-annual) evaluation of faculty satisfaction and training is conducted by the DDE.
- An annual review and updating of standards and goals is conducted each summer by the DDE staff.
- From 1996 - 2006, the Distance & Distribted Education Steering Committee met at least four times per year to discuss distance planning and policies that impact the university as a whole. The group was composed of 22 members which include the DDE staff and various campus faculty and staff involved with current distance education issues. Members included the DDE staff (Melanie Clay, Janet Gubbins, Christy Talley and Stacey Rowland); department faculty/program chairs (Will Lloyd, Elizabeth Bennett, Barbara McKenzie, Mary O'Neill, John Fuller, Ara Volkan, Tom Padgett, Micheal Crafton); Library representative (Carol Goodson, Shirley Lankford); central ITS representatives (Kathy Kral, Mike Russell, Brian McCrary); college IT representatives (Diane Williamson, Matthew Clay) , Director of Institutional Research and Planning (Andrew Luna), Special Program Staff (Paul Smith) and Director (Donald Wagner). Other members were invited to join transient sub-groups as issues arise. From 2006 on, the individual academic departments have assumed responsibility for quality assurance. In 2010, the VPAAs office briefly convened a UWG VPAA Online Learning Taskforce, for the purpose of writing and presenting an Online Taskforce White Paper to Faculty Senate's endorsement. The paper was endorsed by Faculty Senate on November 2, 2011.
VIII. DDEC Standards Arising From Evaluation Feedback, Faculty Study, and DE Workgroup Issues
- Scheduling for the now defunct UWG GSAMS rooms was the responsibility of the distance education staff.
- Priority for GSAMS rooms was given to credit courses, then non-credit courses, then school meetings, and then other business.
- All GSAMS meetings required the presence of a distance staff member or facilitator. Exceptions require the approval of the distance education coordinator.
- The Distance Education/Wagner Honors Computer Lab is maintained and staffed by the Distance Education Center. Priority for use of the room will be for helpdesk calls, distance training purposes, followed by Honors Student academic use.
- Schedule for all physical facilities is maintained and available on a public Google Calendar.
- A helpline is available for students who need assistance with technical problems, registration, advisement, or other information related to distance and distributed courses.
- Online resources for students will include a CourseDen tutorial, an online handbook for distance students, and schedules of upcoming distance courses.
- Other services for distance students are coordinated, evaluated, and revised with the registrar, the bookstore, admissions, and other campus services.
- All advising, informational and registration materials clearly and accurately represent the nature and technical skills necessary for each distance course.
- All messages received on telephone helpline are returned within 24 hours (Monday through Friday).
- Telephone helpers will respond in a calm and courteous manner.
- If unable to solve problem, ask for student/faculty e-mail address and phone number. Either research problem or refer to appropriate department. Follow up within 7 days to make sure that problem is solved.
- Reports of all "new" problems and solutions will be forwarded to Distance Education director.
- The telephone helpline is available to faculty.
- All faculty support is conducted in a courteous, customer-oriented manner.
- Faculty receive full course development assistance as requested during their first term of teaching via the internet.
- Certificates of recognition are awarded to outstanding distance faculty at the end of each term.
- An end-of-the term report, recognizing distance faculty efforts and specific achievements, is emailed to distance faculty, their department heads, deans, and vpaa at end of each term.
- A distance library is maintained in the Distance Education Center with books, periodicals, training videos, and periodicals available for checkout by staff and faculty.
- All courses and support for distance education at UWG will comply by the standards of the Southern Regional Electronic Campus, SACS-COCm and other applicable policies.
- Distance courses, either credit or non-credit, must have comparable student learning as programs on-campus. All distance courses must be coherent and complete, with provisions for appropriate interaction among faculty and students, and appropriate course supervision.
- Responsibility for providing data to help academic departments assure compliance with standards falls under the auspices of the distance education Director.
- An annual review, evaluation, and updating of standards, goals, and progress will be conducted annual each August by distance staff.
- All full-time and part-time staff will submit monthly progress and planning reports to distance education director via email by last day of month.
- The distance learning steering committee, composed of distance staff and various campus faculty and staff, will meet at least two times per year to discuss distance policies and planning that impact university as a whole.
- Student assistants will provide technical support for all videoconferencing classes, professional development webinars, and online courses using CourseDen.
- Before beginning helpdesk work, SAs will have completed at least 2 hours of training (including fax, computer, and softboard); and an online CourseDen tutorial.
- An experienced SA will monitor the beginning SA during his or her first one-on-one session with an instructor or student.
- All SAs are expected to attend periodic meetings, training sessions, and other events representing UWG distance education.
- A campus newsletter (now an online blog) including updates and distance faculty profiles will be distributed by each quarter.
- All web site information will be reviewed on first Monday of each month.
- Responses to outside inquiries regarding UWG distance education will be made by phone, e-mail, or postal mail within 7 days.
- A file of all publicity and newspaper articles will be maintained in distance education library.
- Full-time distance staff will write at least two articles per year for release as press releases, juried articles, or conference presentations.
- All online faculty must receive at least 2 hours of personal training prior to beginning any type of online course; academic departments are responsible for ensuring compliance.
- First-time online faculty will receive support in course development (in DL lab) as needed.
- Veteran faculty will receive support through additional hands-on training sessions.
- A distance education orientation for new faculty is conducted each September.
- A database of all distance and distributed courses, dates, department, enrollments, and evaluation results is updated each term and resides on the Honors House server. A backup copy will also be maintained and online summaries available publicly on the web.
- Course evaluation data (distance courses) will be kept for one year. Summaries will reside herein.
Additional record-keeping, operating procedures, data, assessment, and compliance documentation is available on the UWG Online Help Desk page (though access may be limited).
UWG|Online (a.k.a. UWG Distance & Distributed Education Center)
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton, Georgia 30118
Last Updated: October 4, 2017
Links Updated: 10/31/2017
By Jason Milam