The Power of Peer Evaluation

As I watch my third grade son playing at school recess, it reminds me of how the opinions of peers can be a powerful factor in driving behavior. Children learn that playing well with others and sharing is the most straightforward path to acceptance by a group of fellow classmates. Most of us learn these lessons on the playgrounds, baseball and soccer fields at a young age. In our adult lives, these same behaviors affect the quality of our relationships at work, with our families and in our educational endeavors--both in traditional classrooms as well as distance learning environments. Although there are limitations to using peer evaluations in distance learning courses, the benefits of student accountability, instructor situational awareness and improved teamwork within cohorts indicate that distance-learning courses should use them systematically.

Monthly Metric

What is the semester-to-semester retention rate for the college’s distance learning students?

An Intellectual Property Policy For Online Education

Does your institution have an intellectual property policy specific to online courses and course materials? If so, do you know and understand it? Do faculty know it? If faculty receives a financial payment or release time to develop online course materials, does that change who owns the rights to course materials? As the number of online courses and degree programs offered at institutions in higher education continues to expand, intellectual property rights will continue to garner increased attention.

In the News

According to the Los Angeles Times, enrollment at for-profits DeVry University and the University of Phoenix is down by more than 20% at both institutions, a signal of trouble in the wake of the closure of Corinthians Colleges and ITT Technical Institute.