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Online Language Instructor Evaluation (from Briar)

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Briar Jamieson
26 February 2013

This is perhaps a bit different than program, content or technology evaluation but I thought that there are many teacher educators here and you might be interested in an instructor evaluation.  Instructors at our organization work through a reflective document and then compare notes with their supervisor.  We look at Professional Knowledge, Commitment to Learner Support, Online Facilitation, Team Contribution.

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Tom Reeves
2:55am 26 February 2013

Thank you for sharing this example of a comprehensive performance appraisal instrument, Briar.  How often is this type of appraisal conducted? How do the instructors perceive it? Nothing remotely like this is used at our university, at least for tenure track faculty members. Instead, each member of the faculty completes an annual report that summarizes courses taught, student ratings of instruction, research funds sought and received, publications (Publish or Perish!), service activities, honors, etc. In our department, a committee of faculty members from the different ranks then reviews these reports, and rates each faculty member with respect to Teaching, Research, and Service on a five point scale that goes roughly from “Needs Improvement” to “Meritorious.” Just as grade inflation has rendered course grades virtually meaningless (especially in graduate education), this faculty evaluation system is inflated so that like the children living in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, everyone is above average.

Briar Jamieson
3:31am 26 February 2013

New staff are given copies of their evaluation form on their first day of orientation.  There is an informal review at the three month mark, and a formal evaluation at 6 months; then annually every December the whole organization fills one out.  The reflective process starts the discussion and comments in the final document are negotiated between staff and supervisor.  The review tries to look at accomplishments and evidence.  Often staff start to collect these evidence pieces during the year to make easy work of review process.  Difficult discussions obviously do arise, but an emphasis is placed on support for improvement - professional development, mentorship,  etc.  

As mentioned in the Open Discussion, there tends to be some aversion to 'evalution'.  Definitely, people are a little nervous, even though we try to ensure there are 'no surprizes' by providing ongoing feedback.  The online teacher team needs to exchange lessons because they  deliver different sessions planned by their colleagues throughout the year.  This is an internal mechanism to ensure a fresh look at the materials, and ongoing tweaks and improvements can be added. The team is used to providing feedback on lessons and activities but when it is focused individually it is more personal and harder.

Quarterly, online instructors also receive a class observations.  I have attached this document in the links too. We really do try to support the development of our online teachers and create opportunities for those discussions.

Do you think that HE will ever change their system of evaluation of faculty? Do they need to? Or are their evaluation scales still relevant, ie. the importance of publication? funds received etc?  


(Ah...a midwestern reference I get!)

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