Assessment and Ongoing Continuous-Improvement Processes for Distance Education Graduate Programs

The Dean of Graduate Education and the Distance Education Advisory Committee (DEAC) work together to ensure ongoing assessment and evaluation of the quality of instruction, program delivery, and student support.

The primary measures that are used are:

  1. A common program-level survey administered once yearly to all students enrolled in a distance graduate program.  This survey solicits satisfaction ratings and open-text feedback on all aspects of program administration, student support, preparation, and services at the program level.
  2. Questions specific to the quality of online instruction that are common to all distance-education courses.
  3. An annual audit of all distance courses in all programs offered via distance is conducted to ensure all classes have mechanisms, processes, and/or tools in place to meet Federal requirements for the disbursement of Title IV funds. Requirements include the following: 1) processes for determining last date of "attendance" when Title IV funds are returned when a student withdraws from a course, 2) process for verifying that the student who enrolls in a course is the same student who submits assignments, takes exams, and earns a final grade. 

Methods and schedule for analyzing and applying the information these two measures yield are as follows:

  1. Results from the program-level and course-level assessments are analyzed and used at the program level in accordance with practices established within each academic program
  2. Results from the program-level assessments are summarized at the conclusion of each academic year (i.e., May/June) and given to the Dean of Graduate Education and the DEAC.
  3. Results from course assessments are aggregated via a “Group Report” for each academic program and shared with the Dean of Graduate Education and the members of the DEAC.
  4. Every summer, the Dean of Graduate Education meets with the members of the DEAC to discuss the feedback received and to formulate responses and implement opportunities for improvement.
  5. A final report summarizing major findings and steps for improvement is sent yearly by the Dean of Graduate Education to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.