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This module focuses on building in opportunities for students to provide feedback about their experience in an online course and the use of evaluation data to improve future versions of the course. This module is part of the Best Practices in Online Teaching Course created by Penn State University World Campus as a guide for faculty who are new to teaching in an online environment.

What to do?

Survey Results, Photo by sanja gjenero, Photo #783758, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/783758

Effective online instructors conduct course evaluation during teaching and use the evaluation data to improve their teaching or for future course improvement.

How to do it?

  • Set aside a discussion board in the course site soliciting (anonymous) feedback on the course and respond publicly to feedback (See Kleinman (2005) for examples)
  • Incorporate student course evaluation data into your teaching
  • Encourage and reward students to report substantive errors in the course (Ragan&Terheggen, 2003) ( See Example 1 )
  • Complete faculty evaluations to provide feedback for future course redesign if there is any ( See Example 2 )

Reward students for reporting errors in course


To ensure that courses are responsive to rapidly changing technologies and applications, challenge students to discover substantive errors, and award a modest(i.e., 10 points out of 500 total) “finder’s fee” to those who discover and report such errors.


  • Provides students with an incentive to aid in the improvement of course material
  • Enhances student self-esteem and sense of appreciation and contribution


  • Faculty may resist rewarding students for locating errors
  • Academic culture may be a barrier
  • Strategy may trivialize the learning process and may be inappropriate for upper- level courses
  • May create a bias judgment


  • 2 (Faculty rated strategies on a 5 point scale, a rating of 5 is the highest for a strategy with excellent effectiveness)
  • Soliciting the help of students in finding course errors and rewarding them for submission of errors reduces faculty workload in course review and updates.

Source: Ragan, L.C.&Terheggen, S.L. (2003). Effective workload management strategies for the online environment. Retrieved July 6, 2006, from Penn State World Campus Web site: (External Link)

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Faculty end of course survey from the college of liberal arts

1. How would you rate your overall experience in teaching your online course on a scale of 1 to 7?

  • ___lowest
  • ___
  • ___
  • ___
  • ___
  • ___
  • ___highest

2. How well do you think students liked this online version of the course in comparison to a resident version?

  • They liked it much better
  • They liked it somewhat better
  • There was no difference in their satisfaction with the course
  • They liked it somewhat less
  • They liked it much less

3. Overall, how well did students in this course do in comparison to how students do in your resident sections? Why do you think that is?

4. Were there any specific tools or learning activities that you thought were particularly effective in this course? Please describe.

5. Were there any specific tools or learning activities that did not work as well as you had hoped in this course? Please describe.

6. What changes would you like to make to this course for the next offering? Please list in order of priority.

7. Teaching this course took: (don't include time spent developing the course)

  • Substantially more time than teaching the same course in residence
  • Somewhat more time than teaching the same course in residence
  • About the same amount of time as teaching the same course in residence
  • Somewhat less time than teaching the same course in residence
  • Substantially less time than teaching the same course in residence

8. How well did the Course Management System perform for this class?

  • Constant problems and frustrations
  • Occasional problems
  • Reasonably reliable
  • Worked well, few problems
  • Solid, no problems

9. As much as possible, we'd like to teach online courses without using in-person proctored exams. If your course currently has proctored exams, do you think this change would work for your course?

  • Yes, definitely
  • Probably, I'd like to talk about some ideas
  • Not sure, but would like to discuss it
  • Probably not, but we can talk about it
  • Definitely not
  • Not applicable to my course

10. What one piece of advice would you give to a faculty member teaching online for the first time?

11. Would you recommend teaching online to another member of your department? Why or why not?

Voice of experience

To hear insights from experienced online instructors about preparing for online teaching, access any or all of the following interviews. Please make sure your audio is enabled.

Jonathan mathews

Mathews - stress in online teaching (mp3)

Alfred turgeon

Alfred turgeon - rewarding teaching experiences (interviewed by larry ragan) (mp3)

Alfred turgeon - challenges in online teaching (interviewed by larry ragan) (mp3)

Why do it?

“Through careful instructional design, support, and guidance from the instructor, along with ongoing feedback from students to the instructor and from the instructor to the students, an online course can evolve into a robust, productive, and enjoyable learning community” (Kleinman, 2005, p.17).


Kleinman, S. (2005). Strategies for encouraging active learning, interaction, and academic integrity in online courses. Communication Teacher, 19(1) , 13-18

Ragan, L.C.&Terheggen, S.L. (2003). Effective workload management strategies for the online environment . Retrieved July 6, 2006, from Penn State World Campus Web site: (External Link)


Quality can be a difficult construct to define in the online classroom. What does quality look like to you online course? What might be the characteristics we can measure? How do you know when you see it? If you wish, post your response to the discussion board for this page.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Best practices in online teaching. OpenStax CNX. Aug 28, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10453/1.2
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