Approaches to Criteria for Application and Evaluation of Exemplary courses (Maggie Lynch)

From the literature, and a review of several different rubrics and course evaluation instruments used in evaluating online courses, I've divided the elements into 6 primary categories and an "other important" category.

I. Online Learning Community/Collaborative Presence

  1. Communication variety
  2. Opportunities for sharing and helping each other
  3. Options for going beyond the set assignment/incorporating real life experience
  4. Interaction (among learners, learner-instructor, learner-materials)
  5. Electronic collaboration mechanisms

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II. Cognitive Presence (knowledge/content)

  1. Clear learning outcomes/objectives/competencies/benchmarks
  2. Module progression (logical flow, reasonable size)
  3. Prompt feedback
  4. Time on task
  5. Active learning techniques
  6. Communication of high expectations
  7. Respect for diverse talents and ways of learning
  8. Course goals/objectives/competencies/outcomes
  9. Instructional Activities integrated with content

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III. Teaching Presence (teacher/assessment)

  1. Clear contact information
  2. Course specific resources
  3. Audience analysis
  4. Teaching strategies
  5. Feedback systems
  6. Pacing control
  7. Communication variations (synchronous/asynchronous)
  8. Connections between offline and online work are clear
  9. Progress tracking/student evaluation is clear
  10. Assignment feedback/grading enhances learning/improves performance
  11. Expectation communication
  12. Overall course management

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IV. Social Presence (learner-centered)

  1. Opportunities to build social rapport
  2. Instructional activities engage students based on their background & experience
  3. Opportunities for students to showcase application of theory to their real-world
  4. Students impact course design/assignments

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V. Media Design Presence

  1. Information presentation
  2. Interface design (navigation, consistency, easy to read, links work, fast loads)
  3. Multimedia elements
  4. Aesthetically pleasing
  5. Appropriate use of /integration with third-party software tools

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VI. Innovative Presence

  1. A variety of technology tools used to facilitate communication and learning
  2. New teaching methods applied to enhance student learning
  3. New means for interactive engagement developed
  4. A variety of multimedia elements and/or learning objects relevant to learning are used

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VII. Other Important Measures

  1. Accessibility
  2. Course Evaluation

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Questions to Consider in Establishing Criteria

  1. The selection of criteria will define a pedagogical model, are we okay with that? (i.e., lean toward constructivism vs instructivism)
  2. Do we like the category designations?
  3. Are there other elements to include within the categories?
  4. Shall we use a rubric format both for self-evaluation in the application and for judging?
  5. If we use a rubric, how many options do we want?
  6. Is there a certain percentage of Exemplary ratings that is required to be a finalist?
  7. Does one category (i.e., innovation or collaboration) outweigh other categories?
  8. Do all categories have to be present for a course to be exemplary?

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Minutes from 2-1-2008 about this topic

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