New and Improved Accountability

Author Information
Author(s): 
Raymond Albert
Author(s): 
University of Maine at Fort Kent
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University of Maine at Fort Kent
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

The University of Maine at Fort Kent's effective practice involves three simple steps: 1) Annotating the syllabus during course delivery, 2) Reflecting/evaluating/planning ahead, and 3) Documenting and sharing the improvements made to a course.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

It is hoped that by improving documentation and sharing of substantive improvements made to a course over its useful life, peers and administrators alike may develop a richer appreciation of both such improvements and the sustained growth of the instructor. I have been engaged in this practice for the last two years and remain confident I will realize its true potential in a near future bid for promotion.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

faculty satisfaction: The University of Maine at Fort Kent's "New and Improved Accountability" is a simple practice that enables faculty to exercise greater control over the effect of their online teaching on their own professional rewards and advancements. New and Improved Accountability is a technique for better documenting the evolution of a course and sustained growth of the instructor, which in turn serves to better inform peers and administrators charged with evaluating the faculty member for tenure/promotion. The effective practice involves three simple steps: 1) Annotating the syllabus during course delivery, 2) Reflecting/evaluating/planning ahead, and 3) Documenting and sharing the improvements made to a course (see other comments below).

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The only cost factor attributable to this practice is the time required to annotate the syllabus (see "Sample Annotated Syllbus" URL below).

References, supporting documents: 

Hutchings, P. ed. (1998). The Course Portfolio: How faculty can Examine Their Teaching and Advance Practice and Improve Student Learning, Washington, DC: American Association of Higher Education.

Other Comments: 

Additional details regarding the simple three step practice follow: Annotating: As the course participants progress throughout the term, the instructor regularly makes annotations within the syllabus that capture the learning highlights each week. This includes identification of the successful and unsuccessful "learning experiments." Reflecting: At the end of the term, the instructor evaluates these annotations collectively, along with student feedback obtained through faculty/course evaluations and past improvements made over the life of the course. This evaluation and personal reflection serve as the catalyst for the next round of improvements that will be made to the course. Documenting/Sharing: Entitled "new and improved," a section is added to the course syllabus that specifically documents improvements made to all aspects of the teaching and learning environment. As a result, students and administrators alike can more readily appreciate faculty accountability for improvements they make. Reflecting and building upon the successful/unsuccessful experiences of all course participants, and changes reflected under the "new and improved" section of the syllabus journal, in effect documents the evolution of a course and the sustained growth of the instructor.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Raymond T. Albert, Ph.D.
Email this contact: 
ralbert@maine.edu