The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) sponsored a project, “Assessing the Academic Networked Environment,” in which institutional teams developed and implemented assessment projects related to a variety of areas, including teaching and learning, electronic reserves, computer skills, and electronic library resources. From the project reports and informal feedback from the participants, CNI developed a set of guidelines for institutions engaging in assessment activities related to networks or networked information. The guidelines focus on the process of doing assessment in higher education. The suggestions can be applied directly to assessment projects for ETDs.
- Bring together an assessment team of individuals from various units on campus that can add useful perspectives and expertise; include, if possible, someone who specializes in assessment.
- Align the overall goals of the assessment initiative with the institution’s goals and priorities.
- Gain support from the administration at as many levels as possible.
- Make a realistic determination of the resources (staff, time, equipment, and money) that are available for the assessment.
- Choose a manageable portion of the assessment project as the first implementation. Do not attempt to do a comprehensive assessment of campus networking on the first try.
- Consider using more than one assessment technique to measure the aspect of networking that you have chosen; particularly consider combining quantitative and qualitative approaches as complementary techniques.
- Identify carefully who are the audiences for the assessment reports.
- Examine what you might do with the information you collect, including improving services, seeking additional funding and determine whether your data will provide what you need for that objective.
- Refine assessment instruments on a periodic basis and incrementally add new components.
- Monitor the work of national groups such as ARL, EDUCAUSE, CNI, and the Flashlight Project to see whether materials they develop and guidelines they produce can provide a framework for your project.
(Joan K. Lippincott, “Assessing the Academic Networked Environment,” Information Technology in Higher Education: Assessing Its Impact and Planning for the Future, ed., Richard N. Katz and Julia A. Rudy. Jossey-Bass, 1999, pp. 21-35.)
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