Rethinking and Reframing Online Learning Environment Course Evaluations, to More Appropriately Reflect an Assessment of Course Design, Cognitive Scaffolding and Instructional Competence: Virtual Learning Expectations, Capability and Competence within Online Learning Professional Standards

By Caroline M. Crawford.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Higher education is going through a crisis, not only due to the quality concerns associated with for-profit, business-focused universities and the inherent concerns related to the Ivory Tower mentality that must be shattered, but the Information Age has introduced yet another level of concern that must be directly and successfully addressed. Traditional, face-to-face learning environments have well documented course evaluations that are completed by the course learners, so as to endeavor towards assessing the success of instructors within the traditional classroom environment. Yet within the newer online and virtual learning environment framework, the traditional course evaluation tool does not reflect the necessary skills to support the online learner. As the saying suggests, the traditional course evaluation tool is “necessary but not sufficient”. Therefore, the question remains: how might one address the online and virtual learning environment’s need for learner-based course evaluations? To address these concerns, an analysis of the current associated professional standards must occur. From this analysis, a framework through which to move forward with transform and repair online and virtual learner-focused course evaluations is elaborated.

Keywords: Online Learning Environment, Course Evaluations, Distance Education, Evaluation, Assessment, Course Design, Cognitive Scaffolding, Instructional Competence, Virtual Learning Expectations, Instruction, Instructional Expectations, Learning, Competence, Professional Standards, Standards, Higher Education, Virtual Learning, Online Learning, Learning, Academia, Virtual Learning Environments, Teaching, Responsibility, Teaching

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.85-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 617.026KB).

Dr. Caroline M. Crawford

Associate Professor, Instructional Technology, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA

Caroline M. Crawford, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in Houston, Texas, USA. At this point in Dr. Crawford’s professional career, her main areas of interest focus upon communities of learning and the appropriate and successful integration of technologies into the learning environment.


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