GPS Roadmap to Continuous Improvement and Stakeholder Engagement in an Online Graduate Computer Science Program

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Does your program assessment feel like a post-mortem autopsy? Come learn how our cohort-based online program uses various tools, practices, and both informal and formal assessment as our “GPS guide” toward continuous improvement and better engagement with all program stakeholders.  Participants will leave with ideas to apply to their own programs.

Extended Abstract

The Department of Computer Science at the University of West Georgia offers a 100% online professional Master of Science in Applied Computer Science program designed to provide individuals with an undergraduate degree in any discipline with applied knowledge and skills in computer science that prepares them to enter the software development job market upon graduation.  Since its launching online, the graduate program has received national ranking by US News & World Report.  We also offer a face-to-face undergraduate Bachelor of Science program in Computer Science that is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commision of ABET. Faculty teaching in the undergraduate program also teach in the graduate program. Over the years, we have cultivated a culture of self-reflection and continuous improvement.  Our goal is to do better in order to ensure students’ success.  We always seek to keep up to date with a field where change is the only constant, and we strive to collect and receive input from all stakeholders to guide us to our desired destination. Key to this endeavor is establishing and evolving effective practices, tools, and assessment processes that are integral to our work and that actually help guide our efforts, rather than something done as an afterthought or that are seen as tasks to be done for their own sake divorced from our goal.

In this presentation, we will discuss some of the practices, tools, and assessment approaches that we have developed and use to help us navigate a path to our destination that is often changing.   In this presentation, participants will learn about:

  • Creating a focused and structured curriculum to address stakeholder needs and streamline program assessment, while also adapting to changes in the discipline

  • Using the learning management system as the hub for student/faculty engagement

  • Creating comprehensive course portfolios that engage learners and support self-reflection, continuous improvement, and assessment activities

  • Using open course portfolios for marketing to and engaging with prospective students

  • Integrating student feedback instruments within the LMS

  • Collecting and analyzing feedback from employers, alumni, and industry partners

  • Using gathered data and artifacts to chart and adjust the route incrementally as needed to reach the destination

We look forward to your participation, and eagerly seek your feedback and suggestions on our ideas and practices