A Comparison of Instructor Evaluations for Online Courses
Online learning is growing at a rapid rate across the United States (Durrington, Berryhill & Swafford, 2006; Tabatabaei, Schrottner, & Reichgelt, 2006). However, course evaluation systems have not kept up with these changes and are often inadequate for evaluating the unique expectations and demands faced by online instructors. Typically, online instructors are evaluated using instruments designed for face-to-face classroom instruction (Mandernach, Donnelli, Dailey, Schulte, (2005). As a result, important indicators of effective teaching in an online format are not evaluated by students. Key competencies for online instruction can include instructor response rate and availability, frequency and quality of instructor presence, community building, assessment, and overall management of the course (Luck, 2001; Firch & Montambeau, 2000). Evaluation specific to online instructors is beneficial in informing online instructors of how their specific behaviors are viewed by students, providing data to administrators for faculty evaluation purposes (Tobin, 2004), and useful for planning and providing professional development opportunities (Mandernach, Donnelli, Dailey, Schulte, (2005).
This study describes the comparison of two faculty evaluations. The traditional evaluation required by the university in all classes regardless of the type of delivery (face-to-face, hybrid, online) is compared to an evaluation (Online Instructor Evaluation) designed specifically to evaluate online teaching competencies. Subjects identified the Online Instructor Evaluation as providing the most useful and relevant feedback for evaluating online instructors.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration