Evaluating ARS … how?

The following is a copy of an email I sent to the Heads of e-Learning Forum w.r.t a question around evaluating ARS. Maria wanted to know how people had approached this topic.


The evaluation approach I’ve encouraged at Bath is to gather stories of how they’ve been
used, select areas of use which differ from the norm, and encourage / support and
facilitate Departments putting bids and subject centre case studies together about how
they’ve used it. Finally, enhancing the quality of the evaluation at the course level as
many staff on the e-learning unit on our PG Cert focus their work around the topic of
class feedback. The PG Cert requires they implement and evaluate with students … hence
they (we) get to see some student evaluations around the technology.

These are all listed on our audience response blog – http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/ars

The reason for this evaluation approach as opposed to a more orthodox survey of staff is
I’m not sure what the survey would evidence and how this would help in terms of
prioritising resource. For instance, I know we need more clickers (currently 400
available for bookings) because they are booked out at key periods of the year, and we
can’t meet demand. We know some staff really love them (they continue to book the
clickers out, and give us more creative uses), we know there isn’t the resource to
provide clickers in all major lecture spaces (Vicki … I’ll be emailing you separately
:-)), and I know I’m pushing against an open door in terms of staff uptake (still working
with early adopters, and this technology readily transfers to others as staff see the
obvious application to their own context and the value it adds).

An aside, for me the discussion is around needing to resource part of an e-learning team
which is equivalent to the FTE resource used to support uptake of the VLE for the use of
classroom technologies. Given we are a face to face teaching institution, most use of the
VLE is around a content / support model, and the enhanced learning is within the
classroom … therefore, I’d argue the e-learning team at bath needs to re-align itself
to tech enhanced learning in physical learning spaces, and the connection between the
physical and electronic learning spaces (the way learners and learning activities need to
navigate between the two during a taught semester). Against this background
PRS/ARS/Clickers is a small part of the solution, we also need to include lecture
capture, subjective feedback (twitter, SMS etc.,), and lots more.

I hope that helps … a very hands off approach. However, data on demand combined with
stories of use has enabled us to double our investment in clickers over the last 12


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