Monday, October 19
1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Lehua I

Six Secrets for Evaluating Online Teaching

Workshop ID: 45394
  1. aaa
    Thomas J. Tobin
    Northeastern Illinois University
  2. B. Jean Mandernach
    Grand Canyon University
  3. Ann H. Taylor
    The Pennsylvania State University

Abstract: What makes online teaching different from face-to-face teaching? How can we tell when it’s done well? Faculty members, administrators, and IT leaders will learn six evaluation “secrets” from the authors of the new book, Evaluating Online Teaching. You’ll get use-them-now strategies, tools, and templates to bring back to your campus. The evaluation of online teaching raises questions unique to the medium, questions that IT leaders and faculty members in higher education often don’t have guidance or experience in resolving. Most learning management systems (LMSes) now record every click that students and faculty members make. This workshop will help participants to • determine what online content and practices “count” as teaching behaviors, • separate hype from useful information about data analytics in the LMS, and • create campus policy and procedures for using online data for teaching evaluation.


Participants will be able to • define unique and measurable qualities of online teaching. • design self-, peer-, and administrative-evaluation analytic tools. • implement a six-stage campus-wide program for evaluating online teaching. Participants will learn formative evaluation strategies that can help them to improve their teaching practices. Campus leaders will learn summative evaluation metrics they can use to make hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions based on online teaching. In addition, this workshop will highlight a six-stage life-cycle for campus-wide evaluation of online teaching, including team building, context setting, instrument design, and communication planning. Participants will leave the workshop with a clear understanding of the best practices in evaluating online teaching, with a special focus on the project-management and process-management tools needed in order to create a solid, measurable, data-driven evaluation program.

Topical Outline

Participants in this workshop should come prepared to be part of the conversation. Please bring an Internet-browser-capable device (e.g., tablet or laptop) to the workshop. During the workshop, you will • learn evaluation methods unique to online teaching (25 minutes); • examine evaluation examples from your own and colleagues’ campuses (25 minutes); • take a break (10 minutes); • design a custom evaluation instrument (30 minutes); • evaluate a sample online course (30 minutes); • take a second break (10 minutes); • play the role of students rating online teaching (25); and • apply best practices in self- peer-, and administrative-evaluation of online teaching (25 minutes). Also, selected participants will learn and then demonstrate physical feats in areas such as marksmanship and dexterity. Yes, it will help everyone to learn about evaluation, and yes, prizes will be awarded.


Participants should have experience or responsibility for designing, teaching, or evaluating online courses. No specific pre-requisites are required to participate, but please be prepared for a hands-on interactive half-day. Bring a laptop or other Internet-browser-capable device, since you'll be evaluating online courses and designing evaluation instruments.

Experience Level



Thomas J. Tobin is the Coordinator of Learning Technologies in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Northeastern Illinois University. In the field of online-teaching evaluation, he is best known for his work on administrative-evaluation practices and policy development; his article on “Best Practices for Administrative Evaluation of Online Faculty” (2004) is considered a seminal work in the field, and has been cited in more than 150 publications. Since the advent of online courses in higher education in the late 1990s, Tom’s work has focused on using technology to extend the reach of higher education beyond its traditional audience. He advocates for the educational rights of people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Tom serves on the editorial boards of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and the Journal of Interactive Online Learning, and he speaks and publishes in many areas related to distance education, including copyright, institutional project management, academic integrity, universal design for learning, and evaluation of teaching practice. B. Jean Mandernach’s research focuses on enhancing student learning through innovative online instructional strategies, integration of emergent technology, and evaluation of online teaching. As the director of the GCU teaching and learning center, Jean’s scholarly and professional work is dedicated to fostering effective, innovative, scholarly teaching. In addition to her mentoring activities, Jean publishes research examining online assessment, perception of online degrees, integration of emerging technologies in the online classroom, and the development of effective faculty evaluation models. Ann H. Taylor has worked in the field of distance education since 1991, focusing on learning design and faculty development. As the director of an institute focused on learning design for distance education, Annie guides her college’s strategic vision and planning for online learning. She works with various stakeholders to plan and implement online degree and certificate programs tailored to the needs of working adult professionals. Annie serves on numerous university committees focused on strategic planning, policies, and procedures related to the university’s distance learning initiatives, and has been a member of the Penn State University Faculty Senate since 2007. Tom, Jean, and Annie are the co-authors of the just-published book _Evaluating Online Teaching_ (Wiley, 2015). ___________________________________________________ Below are some half-day and longer-format professional development workshops from the facilitators. Tobin, Thomas J. "Faculty Super Skills Series." Invited presentations and workshops. National Distance Learning Week Celebration. Carrollton, GA: University of West Georgia, 11-12 Nov. 2014. • "The 104 Best Practices in Desire2Learn." 12 Nov. 2014. • "Three Paths to Academic Integrity." 12 Nov. 2014. • "Evaluating Online Teaching: How to Know We're Doing Well by Doing Good." 12 Nov. 2014. • "Universal Design for Learning is a Secret Retention Tool." 13 Nov. 2014. Mandernach, B. Jean, Ann Taylor, and Thomas J. Tobin. Professional-development conference organizers and presenters. Evaluating Online Faculty. Academic Impressions: Phoenix, AZ. 31 Jul.-2 Aug. 2013. Tobin, Thomas J. "Fostering Academic Integrity across Campus." Invited lecture. Northwestern Health Sciences University faculty-development series. Bloomington, MN. 29 Apr. 2013. Tobin, Thomas J. Discussion leader. "Technology and Community." Pennsylvania Humanities Council community discussion series. Pittsburgh, PA. 2 Oct. - 10 Nov. 2001. Available Coverage at


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