Working Toward Guidelines for
Evaluating Instructors, Adjuncts, & Part-Time Faculty
Teaching English with Computers

Working Conditions

Enrollment and courseloadsuggestions recommended in the"Guidelines for the Workload of the College English Teacher," shouldbe strictly followed in computer-based classes. Because of theadditional reading and writing requirements often accompanying onlineclasses, exceeding the maximums suggested in the guidelines resultsin ineffective teaching and students do no make the gains which areexpected.

In addition to following the "Guidelines forthe Workload of the College English Teacher," administrators shouldfollow these standards as well:

Evaluating Teaching

Student opinon surveys should be keyed to the environment and the specificparameters relevant for the course which is evaluated.

Online archives and otherartifacts of the online classroomshould be evaluated in context of the entire course. Because thedynamics of the teacher's pedagogy inform the text in thesetranscripts, evaluation without knowledge of how the text wasproduced, the reasons it was produced, and the technologies involvedin producing the text is likely to be at best incomplete. At worst,it can be unfairly misguided (for example, consider a synchronousdiscussion transcript, such as an InterChange transcript or a MOOlog, evaluated for spelling, punctuation, and correct grammar whenthe point of the discussion was to freewrite collaboratively about awriting topic).

Classroom observations, or peer observations, should take into account thedifferences between teaching styles. The techniques which are used toobserve small-group work is perhaps better suited for analyzing thegive-and-take of online interaction. Teacher instructions (e.g., asposted in mail or on web pages) should be considered, at least inpart, as analogous to orientational directions given outloud innon-computer classrooms.

Classroom evaluators should be familiar with the technologies and teachingstyles which evaluated teachers use. Departmental peers who are notfamiliar with technology cannot provide an informedassessment.

Teacher portfolios and other ways of documenting teaching should includeelectronic components to allow teachers to demonstrate the full rangeof teaching resources which they have developed and used.

Departmental Policy

Appointment and jobdescriptions should provide a completestatement of expectations and assignments, including mentoring;technology setup, upkeep, and purchasing; administration of computerlabs and lab staff; and training and support of faculty and staffmembers.

Computer access should be equitable, providing hardware, software,connectivity, support and training necessary to the teaching missionand to provide for development and research.

Systems for evaluating work with computers should be documented and accessible toeveryone in the department. Policies should be standard, consistent,and inclusive.

Teacher's and student'sprivacy should be guarded at all times.Because of the text-based nature of computer-based classses,transcripts of much, if not all, of a teacher's course may exist.Similar transcripts rarely exist for non-computer classes.Departments should not evaluate the content of these transcriptswithout the knowledge and the permission of the teachers involved.Because of the availability of online archives, it is important toprotect the teachers' and students' right to academic freedom.