I am working on a paper to evaluate the effectiveness of using moodle or learnonline.gmit.ie for engagement and its effectiveness in terms of pedagogy / innovative learning initiative with first year students, using a common module I am teaching for the first time this year.
It is presenting as somewhat of a logistical challenge, principally, a good deal of pastoral care or mentoring is required to keep the majority of the cohort of students engaged on a weekly basis, because of snags in relation to the use of TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning).
However, that aside, with a cohort of almost 100 students, this exercise is beneficial, both for the lecturer, from a pedagogical point of view, but also for the individual students' learning experience. This is their first year in higher education and they have completed 4 weeks, so far. I will post the final paper when it is completed.
This exercise could be expanded beyond the basic evaluation to look at research for retention and learning initiatives. For example, the information gathered could be used to analyse the following:
I have conducted assessments such as these as part of a first year initiative when I was programme chair on the Architectural Technology programme last year. It would be worthwhile doing this first, as a joined group and then split between disciplines. It should be noted that full confidentiality should be ensured when conducting such an exercise, and ideally, if used for research purposes, it be anonymous as well.