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Faculty Development and Instructional Design Through a Quality Matters Tool for Online and Hybrid Course Assessment

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Tools and Strategies for Teaching Online Courses

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Alyson Grace Eggleston The Citadel

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Alyson G. Eggleston is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Fine Arts, and Communications at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where she teaches STEM-focused technical writing and communication, writing-intensive courses for international students, and linguistics. She received her PhD from Purdue University in Linguistics, and she has a BA and MA in English with concentrations in TESOL and writing pedagogy from Youngstown State University. Her research and teaching interests are in technical and scientific writing pedagogy and the interaction of language and cognition. She is a member of Sigma Xi and ASEE.

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Robert J. Rabb P.E. The Citadel

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Robert Rabb is a professor and the Mechanical Engineering Department Chair at The Citadel. He previously taught mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his M.S.E. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests are in mechatronics, regenerative power, and multidisciplinary engineering.

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Institutional assessment has become increasingly important for quality assurance as course delivery methods hybridize and instructors leverage diverse online tools within Learning Management Systems (LMSs). Educators face multiple challenges while teaching variations of delivery methods in their courses. Some of the challenges are course content design, learning new technologies and LMSs, and effective communication. However, instructors, particularly junior faculty, are rarely included in detailed individual-level course assessment practices, as these evaluations are traditionally completed by program leadership. Exacerbating this, as institutional assessment cycles run every five to ten years, the time gap between assessment reports creates rife opportunity for courses and programs to become misaligned concerning learning objectives, activities, and assessment methods. This paper reports on an institution-specific assessment tool, based on Quality Matters-informed criteria, created to ensure course-level quality assurance for online, in-person, synchronous, and asynchronous course delivery styles. This formative tool functions as a dashboard and is currently being used in the School of Engineering as well across other schools at the Institution. Results of the reported self-study point to several benefits to using the formative dashboard tool, such as training junior faculty in-course assessment, development, and expectations, maintaining programmatic alignment in learning objectives, and maintaining quality and equivalence within the native institution LMS regardless of online or in-person teaching modality. Junior faculty employed this tool to improve course design and became habituated to developing measurable learning outcomes, while external evaluators and program leadership used the same tool as a summative metric of course standardization. Program leadership could easily determine differences when courses were taught by different instructors and suggest best practices for course improvement. Leadership could also see where new faculty needed assistance in developing and structuring their courses.

This formative dashboard tool also facilitates total course data capture within the native institutional LMS, ensuring that student grades, course activities, video recordings, and course engagement behavior can be analyzed and acted upon. Encouraging faculty to use the native LMS along institutional guidelines also benefits students, who quickly acclimate to standardized course structures. Student privacy is also protected when course content and interactions are housed within the LMS, an important federal criterion to meet as online courses proliferate.

Prioritizing standardization with regard to instructional design and student experience will become more important as course modalities hybridize and proliferate. This paper would appeal to new and experienced instructors, program assessors and coordinators, administration, and in general, curriculum developers.

Eggleston, A. G., & Rabb, R. J. (2021, July), Faculty Development and Instructional Design Through a Quality Matters Tool for Online and Hybrid Course Assessment Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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