by Robert Stockman, Wilmette Institute Director
Forming a Course Assessment Team is the latest step the Wilmette Institute has taken to continually review and improve courses after they are finished and to recommend changes to make them more effective and learner-friendly the next time they are offered.
The team, appointed in January, includes two Wilmette Institute staff members, Dr. Robert Stockman, the Director, and Dr. Justin Scoggin, the Chief Academic Officer. The Assessment Team will also include two faculty who will serve six-month terms. This will allow a large number of faculty to participate in the process. Faculty Alex Blakeson and Jean Parker are serving on the team for the first half of 2022.
The Assessment Team’s work begins after a course ends. At that point, it has access to the following:
1. Statistics about the level of student activity 15, 30, and 60 days into the course
2. Student comments in the Course Evaluation Survey
3. Activity and course completion data
4. Instructor self-assessment comments
The Team reviews the four documents and drafts a report, often including suggestions for how the course could be improved. The report and the suggestions are then shared with the faculty so that they can implement them the next time the course is scheduled. The Chief Academic Office and his assistants will also review the comments and suggestions with the faculty before the revised course is due to be offered again.
The Course Assessment Team meets once or twice a month, depending on how many courses need to be reviewed, and is always looking for ways to improve its process as well. Continuous reflection and improvement is central to the Wilmette Institute’s institutional culture and are an important part of its efforts to be accredited by a distance education accrediting organization.