Using Evidence to Improve Course Designs and Learning

Now that you’ve collected and examined evidence of learning, what’s next? Answering the following sets of questions will help you determine whether, and when, you can make changes to your course design, assignments, or even whether you need to adjust your learning goals for this course. If you’re making any changes to the course based on mid-course feedback from students, make sure to communicate these changes to them, as well as to explain why you may not be changing everything they expressed dissatisfaction with. Closing the loop for both yourself and your students is the important last step of the assessment process.

Based on your findings, ask:

  • What is working in my course, or for my students?
  • What areas need tweaking or improvement?
  • What is a reasonable plan for making changes this semester?

Based on your above responses, ask: What changes to my course(s)…

  • …could be easily accomplished?
  • …might be done in one or two semesters?
  • …should be considered as long-range goals?
  • …would have the greatest positive impact on students?
  • …would require additional departmental resources (faculty, staff, money, space, or equipment)?

6 Responses to Using Evidence to Improve Course Designs and Learning

  1. Mindy McWilliams says:

    Suggestion – change the title of this page to “Using Evidence to Improve Course Designs and Learning”

    Suggested rewording of first paragraph (to be more tailored to the course context):

    Now that you’ve collected and examined evidence of learning, what is next?
    Answering the following sets of questions will help you to determine whether, and when, you can make changes to your course design, assignments, or even whether you need to adjust your learning goals for this course. If you are making any changes to the course based on mid-course feedback from students, make sure to communicate these changes to them, as well as to explain why you may not be changing everything they expressed dissatisfaction with. Closing the loop for both yourself and your students is the important last step of the assessment process.

    • Leanne McWatters says:

      Great. Substituted Mindy’s text. Old text below:

      Now that you’ve looked at the evidence and determined some findings, where do you go? It’s often helpful at this stage to document your findings, either in narrative form or by answering a set of questions, such as the set listed below, so you can discuss what these findings mean in your curriculum committee and department as well as indicate what kinds of changes you think are necessary for improvement. Documenting will also assist you in determining whether the assessment methods you have selected are the right ones for your course or whether you want to experiment with others. The analysis and conversations that take place in this step is the most important part of the assessment process.

    • Leanne McWatters says:

      changed name.

  2. Mindy McWilliams says:

    Suggested tweaks to the first list of questions:

    Based on your findings, ask:

    * What is working in my course, or for my students?

    * What areas need tweaking or improvement?
    * What is a reasonable plan for making changes this semester?

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