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ERIC Number: EJ950795
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1527-6619
Seeking Evidence of Impact: Opportunities and Needs
Brown, Malcolm B.; Diaz, Veronica
EDUCAUSE Review, v46 n5 p42-44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54 Sep-Oct 2011
The calls for more accountability in higher education, the shrinking budgets that often force larger class sizes, and the pressures to increase degree-completion rates are all raising the stakes for colleges and universities today, especially with respect to the instructional enterprise. As resources shrink, teaching and learning is becoming the key point of accountability. The evaluation of instructional practice would thus seem to be an obvious response to such pressures, with institutions implementing systematic programs of evaluation in teaching and learning, especially of instructional innovations. Apart from the fiscal and accountability pressures, the pace of technology change continues unabated. Facing so many options but constrained budgets, faculty and administrators must make careful decisions about support for teaching and learning: what practices to adopt and where to invest their time, effort, and fiscal resources. On an almost daily basis, faculty and their support staff must decide whether or not to use a technology or adopt a new teaching practice. This again argues for evidence-based practice that includes evaluations to inform future decisions. The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) recently launched a program to address these opportunities and needs. Seeking Evidence of Impact (SEI) is intended to bring the teaching and learning community into a collective discussion about ways of gathering evidence of the impact of instructional innovations and current practices. The ELI survey has shown there are significant professional-development opportunities in the area of impact evaluation in teaching and learning. Broadly summarized, results reveal a disparity between the keen interest in research-based evaluation and the level of resources that are dedicated to it--prompting a grass-roots effort to support this work. The picture that emerges is that whereas most schools conduct some degree of evaluation work, the institutional basis for that work is limited. A campus culture for evaluation work in teaching and learning is not firmly established at most colleges and universities. The evaluative effort is carried on primarily by individual teaching and learning support units, most often without official mandate or resource support. The majority of this work is also done without the help of the campus office of institutional research. The authors are convinced there are significant opportunities and needs in the area of evaluating the impact of instructional innovations and current practices. Through the SEI program, they hope to work with the teaching and learning community to enable this evaluation and to analyze the results. (Contains 3 figures and 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A