In order to strengthen UWG’s distance and distributed learning (online) programs, at times separate evaluations are used for distance or online courses, in addition to the university's standard Student Evaluation Instrument (SEI). Evaluations strive to ensure that the technology used is appropriate and that students are satisfied with their learning experiences. Evaluations are made available online to those enrolled in web-based courses, as well as via random phone surveys. The supplemental evaluations were developed by UWG Online and a team of faculty. Detailed evaluation results, including a compilation of student comments, are reported to campus leaders (department chairs, directors, program leads, deans, etc.) and to faculty, for review and continuous improvement. Data collected is used to help determine which courses need to be offered, the effectiveness of the interaction, and how training and support services can be improved. Aggregated and redacted data is posted here on this website.
At the end of 2018, the UWG Center for Teaching and Learning took over the administration and support of our online assessment tool (CoursEval) and responsibility for reporting SEI results. Our university’s primary online course delivery tool, CourseDen - Brightspace powered by Desire2Learn (formerly called WebCT), also allows for formative assessment and evaluation by the instructor, who can track student usage patterns. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning compiles data enabling comparisons of grades and retention rates of distance courses to campus classes.
1. Distance and Distributed Education Center / UWG Online Course Evaluations:
1.a. GSAMS (2-way videoconferencing within fixed classrooms) - (2000 - 2003)
1.b. Online Learning & Services - Student Satisfaction
1.c. Online Learning & Services - Faculty Satisfaction (2000 - 2018)
Approved by the UWG Faculty Senate for Fall 2001, all distance faculty were sent a form along with the results of their distance course surveys. The Evaluation Summary for Distance Courses form asks that the faculty provide written documentation (now implemented in an online CourseEval survey) reflecting on their DE course evaluation results and how the students' feedback will be used for improvement. The actual assessment and process evolved over time. The UWG Center for Teaching and Learning took over assessment of facutly needs in 2018. Academic Affairs decided that review of SEI data should go back to the offering academic departments and chairs.
2. Campus-wide Student Evaluations
Courses offered through Distance Education are evaluated by a campus-wide "Student Evaluations Instrument" (see SEI here). The form ask students to evaluate all disciplines on a systematic basis regarding course strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvements. It is the instructor's responsibility to either conduct the SEI in a face-to-face session or to request that the UWG Center for Teaching and Learning post the SEI in the alternate online format. At the end of 2018, the UWG Center for Teaching and Learning took over the administration and support of our online assessment tool (CoursEval) and responsibility for reporting SEI results as well as record retention.
3. USG Collaborative Program's Assessments, Data, & Factbooks
UWG is one of many host institutions for the University System of Georgia's eCore, eMajor, WebMBA and other USG Collaborative programs. UWG also serves as the USG eCampus Administrative Services lead, overseeing and assessing most of these programs. USG eCampus (housed at UWG) providies detailed survey results, course evaluations, and data (usually within comprehensive factbooks).
4. Distance Students Focus Groups & Random Phone Surveys
Beginning Spring 2002, the Distance & Distributed Ed Center conducted bi-annual focus groups comprised of randomly selected focus groups. Students were given the option to travel to campus for an interview or participate via e-mail. More recently, randomized phone surveys of online students are often conducted in lieu of focus groups.
The purpose of the focus groups and phone surveys is to evaluate the current satisfaction
of distance students with student services and development services, and to discover
what improvements should be made to promote a greater sense of community and belonging.
Results from these focus groups and phone surveys will be used to improve the online
courses at UWG.
Spring 2020 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 1.7MB)
Additional Observations from Survey Data (Google Doc)
Spring 2018 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 1.6MB)
Spring 2017 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 342KB)
Spring 2016 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 348KB)
Spring 2015 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 256KB)
Spring 2014 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 43.6KB)
Summer 2013 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF-47.2KB)
Spring 2012 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 33.5KB)
Spring 2011 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 32.9KB)
Spring 2010 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 33.4KB)
Spring 2008 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 30.8KB)
Summer 2007 Distance Students Focus Group Results (PDF- 18.8KB)
Spring 2006 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 27.4KB)
Spring 2005 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 31KB)
Spring 2004 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 30.9KB)
Spring 2003 Random Phone Survey of Students & Results (PDF- 31.8KB)
5. Faculty Distance Learning Assessment (1998)
A "Faculty Distance Learning Assessment," was distributed to UWG faculty early fall 1998 semester to measure faculty acceptance of distance education and to determine what factors motivate and inhibit distance participation. Faculty who had used WebCT for distance teaching were significantly more positive than those who had only used GSAMS. The primary factors inhibiting faculty participation in distance teaching were concern for course quality and workload. Motivating factors tended to more often be intrinsic (challenge, desire to keep up) for those who had distance teaching experience and extrinsic (release time, monetary reward) for those who had not. Results were use to determine how the DDE Center could improve the quality of support services for DE faculty. See the Faculty Attitudes Toward Distance Education at the University of West Georgia (PDF- 36.3KB).
6. Helpdesk Assessment
The DDEC began using Remedy, a help-desk tracker, in January 2003, to enable us to identify patterns of support needs, including peak times, common problems, as well as satisfaction with support services. In Jan 2012, the department improved it's ablility to track, assign, and escalate helpcall tickets, by investing in a new helpdesk system called Numara Footprints.
All telephone and email support calls from faculty and students received by distance learning are logged into the system. When a ticket is closed, the customer receives a satisfaction survey via email.
Most Recent Summary of Helpdesk Assessment (Webpage)
Summary of Helpdesk Assessment for Spring 2003: January 6, 2003 through April 22, 2003 (PDF- 14.1)
Summary of Helpdesk Assessment for Fall 2003 through Summer 2004 (PDF- 20.6KB)
7. Quality Assurance Procedures
- All courses and support for distance and distributed education at UWG will comply with the standards of the Southern Regional Electronic Campus, SACS-COC, and the BOR.
- Distance courses, either credit, or non-credit must have comparable student learning as programs on campus. All distance courses must be complete and coherent, with provisions for appropriate interaction among faculty and students, and appropriate course supervision.
- Responsibility for assuring compliance with standards falls under the auspices of the Insitutional Distance Education Administrator, Dr. Melanie Clay (IDEA).
- Formal evaluation of student satisfaction and perceived learning in online courses is conducted each term within the university's SEI and by supplemental surveys conducted by UWG Online and the UWG Center for Teaching and Learning.
- An annual review and updating of standards and goals is conducted each summer by the UWG Online staff.
- From 1996 - 2006, the Distance & Distributed Education Steering Committee met at least four times per year to discuss distance planning and policies that impact the university as a whole. The group was composed of 22 members which include the DDE staff and various campus faculty and staff involved with current distance education issues. Members included the DDE staff (Melanie Clay, Janet Gubbins, Christy Talley and Stacey Rowland); department faculty/program chairs (Will Lloyd, Elizabeth Bennett, Barbara McKenzie, Mary O'Neill, John Fuller, Ara Volkan, Tom Padgett, Micheal Crafton); Library representative (Carol Goodson, Shirley Lankford); central ITS representatives (Kathy Kral, Mike Russell, Brian McCrary); college IT representatives (Diane Williamson, Matthew Clay) , Director of Institutional Research and Planning (Andrew Luna), Special Program Staff (Paul Smith) and Director (Donald Wagner). Other members were invited to join transient sub-groups as issues arise. From 2006 on, the individual academic departments have assumed responsibility for quality assurance. In 2010, the VPAAs office briefly convened a UWG VPAA Online Learning Taskforce, for the purpose of writing and presenting an Online Taskforce White Paper to Faculty Senate's endorsement. The paper was endorsed by Faculty Senate on November 2, 2011.
8. DDEC Standards Arising From Eval Feedback, Faculty Study, & DE Workgroup Issues
8.a. Distance Facilities
Scheduling for the now defunct UWG GSAMS rooms was the responsibility of the distance education staff (UWG Online). Priority for GSAMS rooms was given to credit courses, then non-credit courses, then school meetings, and then other business. All GSAMS meetings required the presence of a distance staff member or facilitator. Exceptions required the approval of the distance education coordinator.
A UWG Online Computer Lab is maintained and staffed by Distance Education (UWG Online). Priority for use of the room is for helpdesk calls, distance training purposes, followed by Honors Student academic use. Schedule for all physical facilities is maintained and available on a public Google Calendar.
8.b. Student Support
A helpline is available for students who need assistance with technical problems, registration, advisement, or other information related to distance and distributed courses. Online resources for students will include a CourseDen tutorial, an online handbook for distance students, a searchable online knowledgebase, and schedules of upcoming online courses. Other services for online students are coordinated, evaluated, and revised with the registrar, the bookstore, admissions, and other campus services. All advising, informational and registration materials clearly and accurately represent the nature and technical skills necessary for each online course.
8.c. Telephone, Live Chat, eMail, and Virtual Conferencing Help-Line
All inquires received to helpline are responded to immediately and within 24 hours at the latest (Monday through Friday). Staff will respond in a calm and courteous manner, following standard AIEDT customer service protocols Reports of all "new" problems and solutions will be forwarded to UWG Online Director for campus-wide announcements, as needed
8.d. Faculty Support/Reward
The helpline is available to faculty. All faculty support is conducted in a courteous, customer-oriented manner. Faculty receive full course development assistance as requested during their first term of teaching via the internet. Certificates of recognition are awarded to outstanding distance faculty at the end of each term. An end-of-the term report, recognizing distance faculty efforts and specific achievements, is emailed to distance faculty, their department heads, deans, and vpaa at end of each term. A distance library is maintained in UWG Online with books, periodicals, training videos, and periodicals available for checkout by staff and faculty.
8.e. Quality Assurance
All courses and support for distance education at UWG will comply by the standards of the Southern Regional Electronic Campus, SACS-COCm and other applicable policies. Distance courses, either credit or non-credit, must have comparable student learning as programs on-campus. All distance courses must be coherent and complete, with provisions for appropriate interaction among faculty and students, and appropriate course supervision. Responsibility for providing data to help academic departments assure compliance with standards falls under the auspices of the UWG Online and Center for Teaching and Learning Directors.
An annual review, evaluation, and updating of standards, goals, and progress will be conducted annual each August by distance staff. All full-time and part-time staff will submit weekly progress and planning reports to UWG Online Director via ongoing Google Doc tracking reports.
(retired) The distance learning steering committee, composed of distance staff and various campus faculty and staff, will meet at least two times per year to discuss distance policies and planning that impact university as a whole.
8.g. Student Assistants
Student assistants will provide technical support for all videoconferencing classes, professional development webinars, and online courses using CourseDen. Before beginning helpdesk work, SAs will have completed at least 2 hours of training and an online CourseDen tutorial. An experienced SA will monitor the beginning SA during his or her first one-on-one session with an instructor or student. All SAs are expected to attend periodic meetings, training sessions, and other events representing UWG distance education.
8.h. Information Services
All web site information will be reviewed on first Monday of each month. Responses to outside inquiries regarding UWG distance education will be made by phone, e-mail, or postal mail within 7 days. A file of all publicity and newspaper articles will be maintained in distance education library.
8.i. Faculty Training
All online faculty must receive at least 2 hours of personal training prior to beginning any type of online course; academic departments are responsible for ensuring compliance. Online faculty will receive support in course development. as needed. Veteran faculty will receive support through additional hands-on training. An applicable orientation for new faculty is conducted each August.
A database of all relevant distance and distributed courses, dates, department, enrollments, and evaluation results is updated each term and resides on the Honors House server. A backup copy will also be maintained and online summaries available publicly on the web. Course evaluation data (distance courses) will be kept for one year. Summaries will reside herein. Additional record-keeping, operating procedures, data, assessment, and compliance documentation is available on the UWG Online Help Desk page (though access may be limited).
UWG|Online (a.k.a. UWG Distance & Distributed Education Center)
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton, Georgia 30118
Last Updated: December 2, 2020
By C. Jason Milam