ERIC Number: EJ1060613
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Evaluation in STEM Online Graduate Degree Programs in Agricultural Sciences and Engineering
Downs, Holly A.
Journal of Case Studies in Education, v5 Feb 2014
Demands for online graduate degrees have increased pressure on universities to launch web degrees quickly and, at times, without attending to their quality. Scarce research exists identifying what evaluation activities are being done by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) online graduate degree programs that are accustomed to accreditation procedures for their undergraduate degrees. This case study investigated three established online, graduate degree programs in agriculture and engineering at a prominent, Midwestern university, and identified evaluation practices used in these programs. Findings suggested that even though they are fully accredited in the undergraduate programs, most of the evaluation of their online degree program is informal, with three key themes emerging, including the use of: (a) informal feedback from the students and faculty, (b) student satisfaction surveys, (c) student grades and performance information. There were several issues reported in using these three strategies to evaluate quality, including lacking structured collection and reporting mechanisms, differing implementation levels in traditional and online courses, varying availability of data and student quality, and lacking fidelity of information delivery and access. The findings suggest that the use of these informal evaluative processes have implications for evaluating STEM graduate degree programs online.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Online Courses, Graduate Study, Agricultural Education, Engineering Education, Case Studies, Evaluation Methods, Student Evaluation, Technology Uses in Education, Feedback (Response), Student Surveys, Grades (Scholastic), Student Attitudes, Satisfaction, Graduate Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A