In the invitation letter from Provost Peter Lange:
The use of online materials in education is becoming both more widespread and more challenging. It offers great potential to diffuse widely the knowledge which we have to individuals who might never gain access to such learning opportunities in both not-for-credit and credit formats, in solely asynchronous modes or with significant chances to interact with instructors and fellow students synchronously or asynchronously. And that is just a part of what we understand today. It is a world that is changing daily.
In this emerging world, it is critically important that we learn as much as we can about and from the new online courses being offered and that we strive for and attain the highest quality of learning outcomes even as we change and adapt how we deliver online educational materials. As the number of available courses increases, and the number of students “attending” multiplies, we need to take full advantage of this growth to learn more about: how well these courses and elements of them work in delivering quality learning outcomes; how these outcomes compare with those of more traditional modes of teaching; how we can use data from and about the very large numbers of students taking these courses to understand the potential impact, on a global scale, on not-for-credit and for-credit education; how data collected during courses can most effectively inform the instructor about how the course might immediately be improved; and more.
I am writing to ask you to serve on an Online Courses Faculty Assessment Committee that will be chaired by Vice Provost Keith Whitfield to address these and other questions. This committee will formulate suggestions to the Provost for development of best practices and policies for assessing and learning from online courses offered by Duke faculty and from partner institutions where appropriate.
Chris Roy *
Peter Haff (replacing Emily Klein)
Keith Whitfield *
Sujin Pak Boyer