Why I'm excited?
Because we are soon launching our new Quality Barometers for online teachers and courses - which I have spent much time and energy to design, specify and implement.
So, what are quality barometers?
Well, I perceive it as tools that continuously monitor and report quality in transparent ways. I strongly believe that transparent quality barometers are efficient and cost effective quality improvement tools.
Quality barometers are especially useful in online education environments with individual or flexible start-up and progression plans. Continuous monitoring is probably hard to implement in semester based educational environments.
NKI has several years of experience with a response barometer that monitors how much time it takes from a student submits an assignment to the teacher provides feedback and a grade. Since all students have individual progress plans and can submit their assignments 365 days a year, the response barometer continuously provides transparent information about our teachers' individual and collective response time. During the last three months (summer vacation time included), our 140 online teachers have a collective response time of two days. I'm proud to tell that their average collective response time throughout 2010 was 1.8 days.
How could such barometers measure quality?
Thermometers measure temperatures in degrees, and ordinary barometers measure pressure in pascal or bar. I suggest that quality barometers could measure in quality in VESS (meaning VEry Satisfied or Satisfied). The idea comes from the fact that NKI uses a 5-point Likert-scale as shown in the figure. The five alternatives are Very satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Dissatisfied and Very Dissatisfied. With these five alternatives, we calculate the percentage of Very satisfied and Satisfied out of the total evaluations. If the evaluations are equally distributed among all five alternatives, the calculated quality would be 40%. A lower VESS reading indicates that you may have quality challenges.
How do NKI's new quality barometers for teachers work?
You have to have some patience, since I need a few more days to finish the English version of the nano-course I'm developing to explain how it works.
I'll be back - in a few days.