Unit 3 E-Lecture

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Pin.gifE-Lecture, Unit 3:

Gagne (2005) explains in Principles of Instructional Design that the evaluation process of instructional design is a critical step for designers of instruction who will want to know if their topics, courses, and total instructional systems meet learning needs and whether learning objectives have been met. In the asynchronous course environment, this evaluation is typically done by assessing the student’s discussion posts.

Edelstein and Edwards (2002) note in their article, Building Learning Communities Through Threaded Discussions [1], that no single method for assessment is considered ideal. They recommend using several methods within a course “to provide a summative evaluation of a student's knowledge, ability and participation.” They provide an example of assessment of discussion threads in online learning: “A facilitator will be evaluating a student's performance throughout the entire discussion process with attention toward the quality of interaction between the facilitator/student and student/student(s)."

Assessing students’ discussions in the online environment both encourages participation and helps improve the quality of discussion. As a guide, instructors should set specific assessment criteria and make it available early in the course. Several categories for objective scoring are included in the rubric. The categories chosen are reflective of areas which should be considered by facilitators as having significance to the overall structural design of effective learning communities. Edelstein and Edwards (2002) present five tenets for evaluating discussion posts:

•Promptness and Initiative: student’s ability to participate in threaded discussions in a timely fashion which demonstrates self-motivation. It permits commentary on whether or not the student is actively and consistently engaging in the course content.

•Delivery of Post: addresses the student’s attention to detail in terms being grammatically correct with rare misspellings. •Relevance of Post: permits an objective assessment of the student’s ability to post topics that are relevant to the original discussion with acknowledgement of references if provided. It addresses the student who stays on topic as well as the student who appears to disengage from the course content.

•Expression Within the Post: addresses the issue of how well opinions are expressed and how ideas or comments are presented. This category also allows the facilitator to acknowledge the different writing/expression styles of the students.

•Contribution to the Learning Community: speaks to the assessment of whether or not the student makes an effort to further the development of a collaborative learning experience. It provides distinction between the student who seems relatively indifferent to the building process of a LC and the student who strives to reinforce the LC as the course develops (Edelstein and Edwards, 2002).


Arr.GIF Return to Unit 3: Assessment and Evaluation

Arr.GIF Facilitating Effective Online Discourse Home Page