ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING IN COURSES TAUGHT BY COURSE AUTHORS VS. OTHER QUALIFIED INSTRUCTORS

S.R. Castle1, J. Marron1, T. Hopkins2

1National University (UNITED STATES)
2Carolina College of Health Sciences (UNITED STATES)
National University’s Master of Science in Higher Education Administration (MSHEDA) program was created in 2012 utilizing the rather unique approach of utilizing nationally recognized experts external to the university, rather than existing faculty members, to drive the design of the program and the course content materials. The MSHEDA program is offered solely in an online/e-learning format. Bestcolleges.com recently ranked the top Master Degree Educational Administration programs, both K-12 and higher education programs, and listed the MSHEDA program as the 13th best program nationally describing the program as providing “a well-rounded foundation of skills in theory, leadership and management of higher education”.

A study was recently undertaken to assess the MSHEDA program in terms of student self-assessment of learning. The first part of the study examined whether students reported statistically significantly higher levels of learning in courses taught by the author of the course vs. in courses taught by a qualified instructor other than the author of the course. The second part of the study examined levels of student learning in courses clustered in groups identified as being: a) Regulatory based; b) Theory based; and, c) Survey of Best Practices based. Finally, both the first and second parts of the study utilized Factor Analysis to determine which aspects of the courses – course content material, instructor activities, and academic technology components – most highly correlated to student assessments of learning.