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Expanding IWCC’s Distance Education Capacity

RISE conducts the evaluation of Iowa Western Community College’s institutional web-based learning program. Project evaluation supports the following objectives:

  1. Increase the number of web-based courses supported by IWCC to at least 40.
  2. Increase by at least 55% the number of full- and part-time faculty teaching at least one web-based course.
  3. Establish 100% of technology infrastructure necessary for web-based instruction, increasing connection speed capacity to 8 gigabits.
  4. Increase the number of student services accessible online from 1 to 5
  5. Increase by 25% annual credit hours generated by web-based enrollment.
  6. Increase institutional endowment by at least $600,000.

The project evaluation has been continuous and ongoing since the project started in 2010; 2015 marks its final project year. The evaluation has provided key information to assess the success of the project in achieving its goals. Both formative and summative activities are included in the evaluation. The evaluation is built upon a series of key tasks, in order to answer key questions regarding project impact. Additionally, performance indicators define the measurement of each of the objectives and an annual evaluation plan is developed in conjunction with project staff.

Over the course of this project, IWCC has developed a web portal, a Learning Management System, and web-based tools, including e-Advising, Online Orientation, Online Financial Aid, and Online Academic Alerts. They have also provided intensive professional development to faculty and staff and enrolled hundreds of students in new programs. There is a high level of student satisfaction and use with the portal and new tools, as well as increasing number of faculty trained to use web-based instructional strategies and tools. Building this system is allowing IWCC to build their online capacity.

Key QuestionsKey Tasks
Has the number of web-based courses supported by IWCC increased?
Do converted courses meet enrollment and student success standards?
Do students express a high degree of satisfaction with web-based courses, instructional strategies, web-based tools, support, and resources?
Has faculty capacity to develop and provide highly effective distance instruction increased?
Do pilot students exhibit a high degree of satisfaction with online student services?
Has IWCCʼs technology infrastructure increased capacity to support web- based instruction without reliance upon an external provider?
Has IWCC increased web-based enrollment and subsequent revenues as a result of project strategies?
How and to what degree has the project helped IWCC realize its Academic Program, Institutional Management, and Fiscal Stability Goals?
Collecting valid quantitative, qualitative, and record data to assess achievement of objectives
Ensuring timely implementation of strategies
Conducting formative and summative analysis of project outcomes
Establishing appropriate controls providing for independent evaluation
Establishing evaluative benchmarks, allowing identity and addressing of problems on an ongoing basis, before they impair the project’s effectiveness
Performing annual and final reports to communicate project progress/success
Promoting institutionalization of new practices/improvements
Ensuring compliance with applicable EDGAR and OMB circulars
Establishing processes to continue tracking outcomes of project initiatives (such as redesigned course enrollment, graduation, transfer beyond the end of the project period)