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Development and evaluation of WWW resources in Research Methods and Electronic Engineering: a comparison.


Robert Newton, Iain A. Middleton
School of Information & Media,
The Robert Gordon University,
352 King St
Aberdeen, AB24 5BN

tel: 01224 283836, 01224 262962
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Evaluating CMC and Online Courses


This paper describes the development and evaluation of two WWW based resources developed under a single funding programme during 1997 at the Robert Gordon University: 1) "ReMOTE": a resource of collected materials for teaching and learning research methods skills; 2) "Personal and Mobile Communications": a module of a postgraduate course offered by the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. The projects differed in their rationales for development, subject matter, manner of development and in the evaluation of the final deliverables. These issues are compared and contrasted and their effects on the outcome of their final evaluations highlighted. Problems associated with the effective evaluation of each arose for a variety of forseeable and unexpected reasons: for example, the difficulty in getting access to students in order to conduct evaluations, practical problems preventing the participation of lecturing staff, low levels of responses to surveys and in one case the presence of only a single student electing to take a course. Finally, the positive and negative elements of each experience are used to draw up a series of recommendations for future developments. These include: the need to design for a clear purpose; the need for close cooperation & input from relevant teaching staff; and a requirement for advance planning of the timetabling and logistical requirements of evaluation procedures.

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Last modified: 1 December 1999 (formatting).
Original text 21 May 1998.