SLN Course Quality Rubric for Formal Course Review of New Online Faculty/Courses

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1 SLN Course Quality Rubric for Formal Course Review of New Online Faculty/Courses Use this rubric produce formal written course reviews for new online faculty and their courses. ALEANDRA M. PICKETT Associate Director SUNY Learning Network State University Plaza Albany, NY T: Alejandra Subagja in Second Life Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License SUNY Learning Network

2 NEW ONLINE COURSE REVIEW RUBRIC Semester: LMS: KEY Course Code: Instructor: =Satisfactory N=Needs Improvement Date of last review: Date of this review: Reviewed by: Reviewed by: Thank you for participating in this review of your online course. The purpose of the review is to maintain the quality of our online program by checking that the highest standards in overall course quality have been met. The standards are based on research, best practices, instructional design principles and national standards for online course quality. Course review will be a continual process as we look to revise and improve the quality of our online courses. All quality courses include the following elements: Course Overview and Introduction Learning Objectives (Competencies Assessment and Measurement Resources and Materials Learner Interaction Learner Support Course Technology Accessibility Each course element falls into one of three categories of an online learning community: I. Teaching Presence II. Social Presence III. Active Learning I. Teaching Presence 1. Instructional Design and Organization a) Instructor s personal profile is complete b) Dated welcome message is provided to welcome students to the online learning community. c) The instructor has established contact information and office hours. d) Access to online student support services is provided. e) Clear explanation of course learning activities is provided. f) Updated textbook, clear technological requirements and prerequisites are provided prior to enrollment and at the beginning of the course. g) Campus Academic Integrity Policy and link to Plagiarism document is provided. h) Required course materials, software/hardware requirements, and a working link to NCCC bookstore are listed. i) Course overview, goals, and learning objectives are clearly communicated. j) A grading policy which clearly defines how students earn their grades is provided. k) Instructor and student expectations for the course are listed. l) Guidelines for online interaction and netiquette are provided. m) A course schedule is provided. n) Checklist for online student success is available. o) An explanation of course navigation is given. p) Your Next Steps document is updated. SUNY Learning Network

3 2. Direct Instruction a) Consistent formatting of fonts, colors and course materials are visually appealing on the web in the student view. b) Descriptive and consistent terminology is used for course navigation. c) Proper document types are used such as Take No Action, Written or Multipart or Small Group Assignment. d) The language in instructional materials uses appropriate grammar and spelling. e) Instructional materials assist students with technologies and strategies for learning online. f) Instructional materials communicate clearly. g) Instructional materials appeal to diverse learning styles and interests. h) Instructional materials make appropriate use of multimedia. i) Images and other multimedia are optimized for the delivery on the web and images have an alt tag (alternative text for ADA compliance). j) Instructor uses materials that appear to be within the guidelines of copyright laws. k) There are sufficient external readings and materials. l) Internal and external hyperlinks are updated and active. m) Students are referred to the HelpDesk for answers to technical questions about the LMS in a Bulletin Board document. II. Social Presence a) Students are directed to edit their Meet Your Classmates profile immediately upon starting the course. b) Student interaction with the instructor is facilitated in a variety of ways such as private folders, Talk with Professor and Question Area. c) Course materials promote collaboration among students such as small group assignments. d) The instructor encourages student-to-student communication in a variety of ways such as a Question Area or Student Lounge. e) Students are encouraged to offer each other feedback and constructive criticism through peer review (Save for Class option). III. Active Learning a) Module goals and objectives are outlined. b) Module readings, assignments and due dates are clearly stated for each module. c) Students are provided with clear instructions for how to complete and how to submit assignments. d) Students are provided with clear instructions on how to participate, expectations for their participation and how their participation will be evaluated, in online discussion forums. e) Students are instructed in methods of research (searching) and resource (content) evaluation if applicable. f) Student reflection is encouraged. (Such as the use of a web blog or reflection journal). g) Students are provided with numerous assessments such as discussion, journals, essays, tests and other assignments. h) Feedback to student assignments and questions is provided in a timely manner. i) Students are given the opportunity to provide course feedback to the instructor through survey or other method. SUNY Learning Network

4 Suggestions for Improvement or Revision Element Description Element Suggestions for Best Practices Complete all course documents as seen below in numbered Learning Modules Delete any modules and/or documents you will not use this semester Use the private notebook area for future planning and ideas (Create-z. Private Document-scroll down in course to edit the document) Facilitating Discourse is a part of Teaching Presence, all courses are improved when the instructor: tries to identify areas of agreement and disagreement on course topics. guides the class towards understanding course topics. encourages student participation in the course. helps to keep students engaged in class discussions. helps to keep students on task. SUNY Learning Network

5 Learning Module Number: 1 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments Learning Module Number: 2 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments -Student Questionnaire Learning Module Number: 3 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments Learning Module Number: 4 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments SUNY Learning Network

6 Learning Module Number: 5 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments Learning Module Number: 6 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments Learning Module Number: 7 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments Learning Module Number: 8 Module Name: Section Title Not N/A Comments Faculty Participation in Course Update and Revision Cycle DL Orientation Training session I Training session II Training session III Participated Did not participate Training session IV Training Sessions Returning Faculty Instructional Design Institute TBA Next Date of Scheduled Training SUNY Learning Network

7 Example Written Course Review for New Online Faculty Course HomePage I love how you have designed this page. It is attractive and functional. Suggestion: I would put your name right on the course homepage so they know who you are. I would even consider adding a little photo of you either on the homepage or in your intro or profile. How about a little audio welcome? I need some sort of an instruction that tells me what to do when I get to the homepage and what to do first. Usually I would put this in a newsflash right at the top of the page as your voice welcoming the students and telling them what to do and where to go as the come into the course. I recommend that you add a "newsflash area" to your homepage for this and use it in addition to course announcements. (Also you have no announcements posted for the new students. To get them accustomed to checking and using that area you should prepare one for them for the first day of class.) The newsflash right on the front page of your course establishes teaching presence and class community right on the front page and give you the ability to communicate immediately with all students in the course as they come to the homepage. To do this all you have to do is add it to the header of the home page and add some text, then just keep it updated - i.e., change it everyday. That way students feel your presence in the course when they come to the homepage every time... In this new version of WebCT you could keep an archive of the newsflashes in the announcements area or in your discussion area so students can review any they may miss or if they simply want to review them. Here is an example of a first day newsflash: Welcome NEW Summer 2007 SLN students! If you are just joining us, please start with the Welcome document and read through all the Course Information documents, complete the "your next steps" activities, and then introduce yourself in Module 1: Let's Get Started. Once you have introduced yourself, try the first discussion assignment and written assignments! 1. Course Information (CI) documents: Of course I love this layout : ) very clear complete to the point. 1. Your welcome is wonderful. Online students want to know who you are and most of them are taking an online course for the first time. Making them feel welcome, telling them about yourself and this online experience will set a tone and get them to feel at ease with you and the experience... that they can do this. That you are a real person. That they can trust you. How about adding an audio welcome? : ) I know you put the link to your school contact page but it is still a click away I can already tell that you have great instincts for online instruction. : ) 2. Review your course from the student view Check out the links that are on that horizontal nav bar at the top of the frame are they the one s you want there? In that order? You have control over this. In addition, look at those that show up under more tools. If you are not using all of them, like goals for example, get them out of there. Also, be sure they are in the order that you want. Will you be using the internal course mail system for private communication with your students? If so, I would add that to the contact info page, and I would say to contact me privately use the internal course mail feature in this course. To access the internal course mail system, click on the more tools link on the navigation bar of our course home page and locate the link to mail. I would also have an in the mail box waiting for every student. I would welcome them again to the course and tell them that they can communicate with you privately via that mechanism. This give the students the sense that they have access to you, it reassures them and presents an authentic use of an area that you intend for them to use in the course if you have something there waiting for them then they get an immediate reinforcement of it as an active area in the course, one that has a purpose and that they will then remember if and when they need to use it. You also need to tell the students to print it out and save the contact page it in a folder they need to print it so that they can have it incase they need to contact you. If the web pages are down, they will have no way to access this page for the info. Solid SUNY Learning Network

8 rationale for using the internal course mail for private mail with students is that then all the communications related to a particular course reside in that course and don t get lost in your campus . Makes it easier to manage. 3. Course Overview: give a clear picture of the course. Need content here. 4. Objectives: I would want to have a solid sense of what this course is about from this document. 5. Readings: provide details and links and instructions for getting the book and eres on this page. It is a good idea to have one page where you list out all the readings for the course, so the student can print them out and have them handy and at a glance for the whole course. Online students are literal. I think it is a good idea to have one page where you list out all the readings for the course, so the student can print them out and have them handy and at a glance for the whole course. 6. Course Learning Activities: Everything you have the students do is a learning activity. Everything you have them do should have some sort of assessment/feedback, even reading. If it is worth having them do it then it is worth giving them feedback on how they did it. Talk directly to a single individual student. Any activities you have the students do in the course are a learning activity and require explanation. Reading is a learning activity also for example. Papers, journals, web quests, offline activities all require explanation, and assessment. 7. How you will be evaluated? I will suggest that you consider providing a model for each type of written activity and details on what you expect. It is REALLY hard to know what would constitute high quality, how to succeed, or excel in the assignment without a rubric or model. Provide rubrics with the criteria of how you will evaluate their papers and discussion postings. 8. Expectations; in addition to explicitly telling the students what you expect from them, what can students expect from you? How will you interact with them? What will your role be in discussions? Or other activities in the course? 9. Course schedule: creating a detailed course schedule especially for a short format course is essential to help student be successful in the course. They need to know in detail what they are supposed to do, how, where, and when. 10. Next steps: need to detail the next steps for students. 2. Icebreaker Activities: You need to present these initial activities more clearly both in terms of presentation and instructions. 3. Presentation of content: Weekly assignments: You have a good start. I don t understand the overall logic and organization of the module or the content as a whole for the course. In part cuz the CI documentation is not complete, so I don t have enough to go on yet to fully understand your course. Having quotations to ponder is not really engaging it is like, familiarize your self with these terms or concepts you need to give them something to do/make them do something that will achieve the objective of having them ponder the quotes of the concepts behind the quotes. e.g., an activity: pick one of the quotes below and talk/write about what it means to you. Tell them what you are going to make them do, tell them what you expect explicitly, and how you will evaluate them, and then MAKE THEM DO STUFF. Then give them feedback on what they do. Strong suggestion: give your modules consistent structure. Tell them what they are going to do in the module at the beginning of each module so they have an organizer for the activities of the week. Then lay the activities out consistently. Read discuss, write, use a consistent module structure to help frame and organize the content for the students What do you want them to do with metaphors we live by in week 3??? I would suggest that in addition to labeling each week numerically, that you add some relevant title to the week to add an advance organizer and give context to the structure of the course for example Week 1. Intro to Rhetoric and the Poetics. The titles of things add instructive value to the course they give/add context, organization, and meaning in advance for the students. It is too valuable a mechanism to waste/not to use. 4. Engaging the content: I am unclear about the content and objectives and activities for this course. I don t understand how students will be presented content and how they will engage/interact in this course. SUNY Learning Network

9 5. Assessment of learning: I am unclear as to how students will be assessed in this course. My strong recommendation is to provide detailed rubrics for each of the learning activities you plan to use. Also consider providing some models of what you consider a superior, successful, high quality work/interaction in your course so students know specifically how to succeed in your course. 6. comments: This is the formula for a good online learning activity. 1. Present content 2. Direct Interaction (students interact with the content in some way - in a directed learning activity and produce something that analyses and synthesizes something concrete from that activity). 3. Assess (you give them feedback on that output, e.g., a discussion response, a paper, a report, a test, journal, etc.). What are the web resources you have posted in the course and how will they be used in this course? Don t have stuff in your course unless you have an associated activity with it, or unless you say explicitly that the links are there purely for enrichment and are not required for any activity in the course. I am concerned that there is still a great deal of work for you to do to prep this course for delivery. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way. Consider adding a culminating activity to solicit feedback for improvements to the course from your students. I saw no statements on or on plagiarism you may want to consider adding them. You can also mention somewhere in the course that not only can they use the links on your homepage, and the course map navigation, but that they can use the links listed at the top of the page that "bread crumb" navigational links at the top of every page as well. I just found the syllabus it is not enough. Why is the lorde poetry is not0001 link on the course content page? Makes no sense there. Remove anything in the course tools area from the student view that you are not using. SUNY Learning Network

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