Student Achievement Assessment Committee
Off Campus Programs
Learning or Service Outcome assessed this year
In Summer 2004, Off-Campus Programs, in collaboration with the College of Education and Human Development, started the “Summer Academy for Educators”, a program that provides educators the opportunity to take graduate professional development classes in a compressed schedule format during the first summer session. In order to improve the Academy, we have been surveying the participants since the first year (see last year’s Summary of Assessment Accomplishment). In 2005-06, however, we decided to also survey the instructors in the program in order to get their feedback to find out: a) the challenges/advantages of the compressed schedule; b) how we could improve the Academy from the faculty’s perspective.
At the end of the second 2005 summer session, the Summer Academy planning committee met and designed a short faculty survey in order to find out:
- Their perception of the challenges and advantages for students taking their specific courses in a compressed schedule.
- Some of their own challenges and advantages in teaching a class in a compressed schedule.
- Whether they would teach in the Academy again and if the answer was negative, why not.
- Their suggestions to help us improve the Academy.
The one page survey was sent to the six instructors teaching the seven classes in the academy (one instructor taught two classes). They were asked to return it to the planning committee at the end of their classes. Four of the six instructors returned the survey.
Inference from Assessment
The responses indicated that:
a. Instructors’ perspective of the advantages for participants: Students like the fact that they could choose from a series of one (as opposed to only 3) credit hour classes; the compressed schedule, which helped participants to focus on the class at hand and built a positive rapport with the instructor.
Instructors’ perspectives of the disadvantages for participants: Fatigue due to the intensive schedule; little time to prepare for readings; difficulty in assigning homework because of the compressed time.
b. Advantages for instructors teaching the class: the compressed schedule (personal reason); getting to know the participants really well; the flow of the curriculum in a one week schedule (little time for distraction); students’ excellent work due to the intense focus.
Challenges for instructors teaching the class: preparing a class that takes a full day; creating learning situations that involve more student participation and not only instructor’s lecture; lack of participants’ technology skills for the technology classes; no time to present a final project or work.
c. Two of the instructors would teach again in the Academy and two were not sure (one explained that it was a matter of her own personal schedule)
d. Suggestions to improve the Academy included: to send students information ahead of time; to be more specific about content of technology classes.
Based on the responses we received, we decided that for summer 2006, we would introduce the following changes:
- To be more specific about the content of technology classes in our printed literature.
- Schedule a meeting with all the 2006 Summer Academy instructors for early May 2006 to share some of last year’s instructors’ challenges and to discuss how to address them; to inform them of the steps we decided to take to integrate the suggestions listed in the surveys; to go over some “housekeeping” items about which we received a number of questions during the summer 2005 Academy (for example: grade rosters for flexibly scheduled classes, material printing, parking permits for part time faculty, etc.); and, finally, to get feedback about any new services we would need to provide to help them have a positive experience in the Academy and minimize the challenges expressed by last year’s instructors.
- Inform instructors that the planning committee decided to send a packet to participants prior to the beginning of the Academy with several pieces of information (academic and “housekeeping”), including how to access Blackboard to check pre-class assignments and/or readings as assigned by their instructors.
- Emphasize to instructors that they could assign projects to be e-mailed or mailed to them after the class was over, since grades are due at the end of the summer session.
- To invite the chair of the department to which most classes belonged to talk about the topic of compressed schedule and academic excellence.
The planning committee did meet with this year’s Academy instructors and department chair in early May in what we considered a very productive meeting. We received excellent suggestions as to additional information to include in the packet sent to participants a month before the academy started, were able to make instructors’ comfortable in sending materials to participants prior to the beginning of classes/assigning work post-Academy if they felt the need to, and were pro-active in answering their questions.
We have already sent the same survey to this year’s instructors and will be getting the results next week. It will be important to us to compare this year’s to last year’s results and to continue to evaluate our administrative support to instructors and students in order to improve the Summer Academy for Educators.