Self evaluation is common place to start when evaluating your course or your teaching. Self evaluation might take the form of journaling, self surveys, or checklists. You might evaluate whether you are meeting specific goals or objectives, your general preparedness for teaching, or how you are anticipating or reacting to common teaching challenges. The goal of self evaluation is to systematically examine your own teaching and identify areas for improvement.
Journaling on a periodic basis (weekly, after each class, etc.) can be a helpful tool for formalizing your reflection on your teaching and the progress of a class. Journaling can be as simple as taking a few minutes to jot down what went well and what didn’t after a class session or an assessment event. While journaling consider questions like “did you meet your goals?”, “where did students struggle with an activity or assignment?”, and “what might you do differently?”
Having a habit of journaling about teaching can allow for the capture of important “notes for next time” that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. Reviewing a past journal can be critical to identifying what went well and what could be improved in a course that is being redesigned.
A self survey might ask you to identify your teaching methods (lecture, discussion, project-based, etc.), how students are being assessed (exams, papers, types of assignments).
A self survey might involve examination of specifics of your course design such as:
- Alignment of your goals and objectives with your methods of assessing student learning.
- Balance of formative and summative assessments.
- Scaffolding of major assessments.
- Methods of deliver feedback.
A self survey might have broader questions such as:
- Where do students succeed or struggle in your course?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as an instructor?
Video recordings of teaching
If you teach in a classroom that is setup for video capture you might consider recording and reviewing the recording of your teaching. This method is primarily useful for examining presentation style and facilitation skills.
While reviewing the tape examine things like:
- Pace of the class session
- Tone and body language
- Do student have enough time to think through questions
- When students seem more or less engaged
- Are all students participating?
A simple checklist can be helpful for evaluating if you’ve considered the many administrative tasks involved in teaching, especially at the start of the semester when there are many small tasks to manage and complete. Checklists can be limited in the scope they evaluate but their formal structure can be helpful for focusing. Overtime you may wish to craft your own checklist that you can use semester to semester.
A checklist of common tasks or issues that could be considered in the design, development, and facilitation of a course.
- Purchase instructions for all publisher materials (homework, electronic book, etc) Have you tested all?
- Provide guidelines for communication in syllabus (i.e., post questions about content and assignments on D2L, email re: personal issues)
- Expectations about response time (i.e., 24 hours for email, weekends?) o Weekly schedule / due dates
- If co-teaching with another instructor, do you have a plan for meeting regularly as a team
- Share design and content ideas with one another.
- Overall course design (assessment strategies, course grading schema, communication model, etc.) are consistent.
- Created materials (i.e. PowerPoint slides, handouts etc.) have a consistent look and feel. Use a template that you both agree on. It should not be obvious that separate individuals created course content.
Planning Students Projects
- Plan for projects in terms of individual, groups, teams, etc.
- How will groups be formed? How will students be notified of group membership?
- Will you require 'progress reports' or specific milestone assignments?
- How will group projects be submitted? Each individual or team representative? Etc.
- Plan for peer review of individual and group projects?
- Determine if you will use publisher test banks or write your own questions
- Have you been trained on building quizzes and tests in D2L? (Contact IT for training and information)
- How many points for each question/exam?
- What are the dates?
- Are they timed?
- If online how long a window will they be available?
- Randomized questions/question order?
- Hidden until released?
- Logistical information (timing, availability, release dates, etc.) should be included with each quiz and exam
Use of Weekly ‘Organizer’ (included in the D2L Framework)
- Content is organized by week and lesson
- Information includes introduction to each section of the course for the students
- Relevant learning objectives for the week are listed
- Required activities are broken into lesson(s) and optional activities are listed separately.
- Coordinate training for setup of gradebook with IT
- Set up gradebook in D2L in advance to calculate grades
- Connect quizzes and dropboxes to gradebook
- Releasing locked/hidden items
- Manual add for all external assignments (i.e, Publisher items, observations, etc.)
Prior To Launching The Course
- Check that syllabus information is accurate and up-to-date
- Double-check tests/quizzes settings & release dates/times.
- Double-check dates for assignments and projects, etc.
- Double-check hyperlinks to publisher materials and websites
- Perform thorough quality check (cross check organizer pages with uploaded course content)
- Review your class roster to get a sense of class size and make decisions about establishing groups, if needed
- Send out an informational message including how to login, where syllabus is located, what materials are needed and how to get them, what online tools will be used during the course (to prepare students and reduce anxiety), and who to contact for technical assistance.
- Make the course available at least one week prior for student previewing.