Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Online course peer review as a PD process (Stephen Bright at Sharefest)

Stephen Bright opened with some key questions around the case study (funded by ASCILITE). and a wonderfully visual metaphor of the twisted rope and the fibres of the rope twined together make it stronger than the whole of the parts. Stephen teaches at Bethlehem College in Tauranga.

Stephen conducted a small-scale case study with six teaching staff who had a range of eLearning experience from beginner to advanced. The purpose was to develop a framework and process for collegial review of teacher presence in online courses. It was frames in terms of PD rather than QA. The study was conducted to increase the quality and quantity of feedback that teachers get about their courses. Most of the QA stuff tends to be a check list, so re-framing it as PD was a way of making it less imposing. The teachers made their own checklist and the process it was used. Stephen recommended the Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000) eBook as a primer for eLearning and a model. He aslso used the Seven Principles for Good Practice from Chickering and Gamson (1987) around undergraduate education, engagement, and active learning. Stephen Marshall's Maturity Model was also suggested as a benchmark.

Of the seven people involved, each was given one principle each, then they met to have a brainstorm, and collated their ideas in a wiki. The final step was going through and doing a rating process (what are the must haves, and what are the nice to haves?). This resulted in primary indicators (30 - the must haves) , and secondary indicators (60 - the nice to haves).

The audience discussed how teachers could set high expectations - feedback, timeliness, exemplars, and models, and generic feedback comments in neutral spaces for example. The Collegial Appraisal process was based around a range of roles, wh8ich took about 8.5 hous of face-to-face time and 3.5 hours contributing to the wiki. They spent an average of 2 hours each on self-appraisal and 4.5 hours for 3 review meetings.

You can ' do it yourself' - you don't have to have best practice frameworks, and you end up with more ownership when the teachers develop the frameworks themselves. The framework often ends up as a good match with other benchmark models (e.g. eMM). The staff who participated felt empowered rather than evaluated, and the resulting fraework ends up being available for institutional use.

The full paper is available to download as a .pdf from the Ascilite 2008 proceedings.

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