Assignment 1: Target of Program Evaluation Plan, Part 1
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Evaluation refers to the process of systematically acquiring and assessing information with the aim of finding important feedback about a given object. Therefore, program evaluation can be understood as the process of systematically acquiring and assessing information about a given program so as to get an objective feedback about the program. This paper is focused on the evaluation of the online classrooms program.
Elements of a Worthy Object for Program Evaluation
The online classrooms program is an academic program that is aimed at increasing accessibility and value of education. In some cases, the program is referred to as a ‘multi-site dissemination project’ based on the particular interest in universities and other institutions of higher education. Another reason for such definition of the program is that it seeks to facilitate the access to education by eliminating geographic barriers, time constraints and other factors that can make it difficult to acquire education at one’s own convenience (Allen, & Seaman, 2010).
The Administrating Department
In the context of an educational establishment, the department that is directly responsible for organization and administering of the online classrooms program is the Department of Academic, Research and Extension. The department works in liaison with the Information Technology (IT) Department to ensure that an open and effective interaction is facilitated for learners and tutors. However, although both departments are directly responsible for the proper functioning of the program, it would be impossible to reach the goal without the input of other departments. Several people, such as program leaders and University management members, occupy a fundamental role in the efficacious implementation of the online classroom program. The success of the program in any learning institution depends on the level of expertise among those who are entrusted with its implementation and management and their decisions concerning training. Since the online classroom program is a recent trend in education, it s important to offer opportunities of training for the administration and other university staff in order for them to learn the program methodology and operate it properly (Allen, & Seaman, 2010). Undoubtedly, training is a necessary aspect in this sphere as it helps to ensure that the system works effectively.
The program primarily aims at enhancing the public access to education and facilitate an easy and convenient interaction between tutors and students beyond the concept of traditional classrooms (McPherson, & Numes, 2004). As such, the target population is made up of the graduates of the campus-based program and other young people willing to acquire a basic or additional higher education. The program is also designed for tutors who are directly involved in the provision of online lectures and administering examinations. Based on the understanding that the program is to be launched in an educational institution, the management also has to be included in the list of target population. In addition, the university team can provide a vital information concerning the challenges and milestones that occur in the implementation process.
Program's History, Primary Purpose and / or Expected Outcomes
Online classrooms have a long history that dates back to early 1700’s, when the first distance learning schools were founded and referred to as correspondence schools (Allen, & Seaman, 2010). At that time, before the invention of the World Wide Web, students primarily learnt from pamphlets and textbooks, which they received from their colleges via post. Since the time when online learning was introduced, it has been evolving and improving to the point that it has become a trend within the past decade. Currently, the number of students who enroll for online classroom programs is growing steadily, as more and more students seek for time- and cost-efficient education in virtual classrooms. The University of Phoenix and Kaplan University were among the first to be given regional accreditation to launch online classrooms (McPherson, & Numes, 2004). Online classrooms enabled the universities to implement accelerated learnning programs, which allowed the students to complete Bachelor’s degree within a period as short as two years.
As mentioned before, the main advantage of the online classroom program is that it facilitates acquisition and provision of education by limiting geographical constraints. It means that a complete implementation of the online classroom program offers an opportunity for all people to receive a decent education regardless of the distance between them and their tutors. The online classroom is also intended to minimize or eliminate the need for students to meet their lecturers and the necessity for physical movement to the learning institutions (McPherson, & Numes, 2004). This way, the program achieves the objective of offering opportunities for people to pursue their education at their own convenience.
It is evident that the technology-supported distance learning is becoming immensely popular nowadays. Therefore, it is expected that technological advances will improve the accessibility of learning opportunities via the online platform and eliminate geographic barriers to education. Online classrooms are expected to improve the education system by capturing students’ attention and helping them to improve their performance. The program is believed to enhance the delivery of skills to learners and make the education system more efficient.
Reasons for Selecting the Program
There is a lot of interest in the measures that can be taken to improve the effectiveness of the education system. Due to this reason, the emergence of online classrooms as a trend in education has prompted a heated debate concerning the relevance and effectiveness of the program. As such, the program is put under evaluation to help understand its effectiveness in the education system and the challenges that its implementation faces. The program has evolved over time from the original form that involved use of correspondence courses. Currently, the advanced technologies and increased Internet access have resulted in a change from distance learning to online, Web-based learning (Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K., 2009).