In most situations you will probably be evaluating your online unit in the context of overall unit evaluation. Information on evaluation at the unit/course level is to be found on the Teaching & Learning website (see Evaluation). Information here is largely about evaluation of the online component within your unit.
Evaluation in this context is about finding out how effective your online initiative has been (in relation to the goals/objectives you set), and how the online unit might be improved. Benchmarking (against set objectives and standards) and quality improvement are the two main purposes of evaluation.
As for all evaluation activities, the key questions are:
Evaluation is not just something that happens in the delivery phase; it occurs in some form (informal, formal) at all stages in the design, development and delivery cycle. Evaluation is thus an integral part of the quality assurance process.
The UTAS Exemplary Standards for online units provide a set of 'best practice' standards or benchmarks that cover most aspects of online teaching and learning, as well as support and training matters.
Various other benchmarks and checklists are available to assist you in evaluating the quality of educational design in your online unit - see resources below.
You may wish to seek student feedback on your online unit through SETL. There is a reasonably extensive range of items in the Unit Questionnaire Item Bank that deal with online teaching and learning (under 'Flexible delivery'). See the SETL website for further information.
Check out Conventional wisdom in evaluation for further advice on the 'what, why, how and when' of evaluation.
Authorised by the Associate Director, Service Delivery & Support
8 February, 2011