I worked with my good colleague, Donna Scalzo, and we finally presented our paper at Canadian e-Learning Conference.
Title: Use of Needs Assessment for the Evaluation of Online Education in Higher Education
Despite extensive discussion (Frydenberg, 2002; MYU, 2002; OCEP, 2006; The Sloan Consortium, 1997) on the topic of evaluation of online education during the last decade, little attention has been paid to the significance of the use of a needs assessment. Distance education educators often hastily come to a conclusion without thorough reviews, effective identification of gaps, careful plans and optimal implementation. It is important to identify and assess the gaps in existing practices in the evaluation of online education in order to ensure the high-quality of education in an online environment. A needs assessment helps ask the appropriate questions in order to get the necessary answers because a needs assessment “identifies gaps in results, places them in order of priority and selects the most important for closure or reduction.” (Watkins and Kaufman, 1996) As a result of a needs assessment, a realistic and measurable solution should be put into place. In this paper we examine three major components in regards to the quality of online program management, evaluation of learning management systems, and evaluation of the processes used for existing instructional design models.