Reasons to Review and Analyze Your Course
Reviewing is any process that helps you to make use of personal experience for your learning and development. These reviewing processes can include reflecting on the experience, analyzing experience, making sense of experience, communicating experience, reframing experience and learning from experience. The reasons for reviewing courses can be described as adding value to the experience, getting unstuck, achieving objectives, opening new perspectives, developing observation and awareness, caring, encouraging self-expression, using success, providing support and empowering people.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Pamela M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is a Course Review?
Course reviews are a process which is an important part of the courses quality assurance system. According to Monash University, a course review is a process for evaluating and analyzing a course with respect to the academic and business aspects of the course, including planning, resourcing, course design, learning and teaching, student outcomes, course demand, management, and external engagement. In language classes, the responsibility of reviewing courses can be done in many ways including a review by the students. Quality assurance is defined as the systematic monitoring and evaluation of a project to ensure that standards of quality are being met. Quality in language learning is versatile and complex, but ultimately, the quality of the classes should be measured in terms of what students know, understand, and can do at the end of the curriculum. Thus, quality monitoring should focus on the improvement and enhancement of student learning. Two components critical to achieving this objective are how course outcomes are identified and the teaching and learning strategies used to achieve them (Horsburgh, 2000).
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How to Review?
One of the principal mechanisms for ensuring the quality of learning and teaching is a peer review of teaching and evaluation of the curriculum, including the instructional methods. Curricular evaluations and course reviews, often driven by accreditation expectations, tend to be isolated events that are not well integrated into institutional processes for accountability and often fail to improve teaching and learning. Ideally, the course review process needs to be efficient, effective, and economical (Moreland and Horsburgh, 1992). A course review process must identify areas for improvement in courses, is part of a process map moving forward and provided baseline data. The goal is to make the course review process efficient, effective and which results in enhanced quality of the language classes.
Course reviews also look into the academic standards, in particular, the appropriateness of the national curriculum. They also tend to look at the course structure, pedagogy and related academic support initiatives for students. Student outcomes from the course should be reviewed as always. These include academic success rate and student satisfaction.
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Benefits of reviewing and analyzing courses:
- The teacher will be more in touch with learners' perspectives.
- It also helps in developing the students’ communication skills.
- It also helps in developing learning skills (yours and theirs).
- Reviews add value to what is already happening.
- The teacher will be making benefits more tangible.
- The reviews generate evidence for evaluation.
- The teacher or the reviewer becomes more alert and responsive.
- Learners can be helped to illuminate and achieve their objectives.
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The following are some general consideration that one can use to make course reviews; some practical considerations (thinking ahead obviously increases the chances of successful reviewing), overall strategy, purpose, timing, climate, ground rules, participation, ending, the role and style of a reviewer, empowering people.
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