(Project members only.)
Evaluationnumber of links on the following themes:
Evaluation of computer aided learning has a lot of facets. It is possible to analyse the use of software, ask about consumer satisfaction, look at usability or accessibility or access processes. A relatively new topic to be evaluated is the gender aspect. The target of gender mainstreaming is to anchor the gender equality, which means that women and men are to be treated equally. The European Commission has developed a "Framework Strategy on Gender Equality (2001-2005)". It is foreseeable that the gender aspect will play an important role in the future. The German Ministry for Research and Education initiated a project "Gender Mainstreaming" for supporting its programme "New Media in Education" which pursues research on gender and digital learning.
The gender aspect is an integral part of our evaluation process. Two main questions appeared: first we wanted to find out what gender means for digital learning. The second question was how to implement gender aspects within the evaluation process. Initial research results which are based on literature research, interviews with evaluators from other projects and discussions at several workshops, are published in a research report (in German).
Fields of interest considering the gender aspect are project management, organisation at the university, content production, use of language, support by teachers and tutors, marking, technical issues, didactics and team work. If one knows what differences exist between the gender, it is possible to evaluate whether they play a role in the MMiSS project. But in the author's opinion it is not fair to evaluate materials that are not optimized due to the fact that people are not told how to optimize beforehand. Therefore a "guideline for the production of teaching materials at the MMiSS project - under consideration of the gender equitable spelling" was developed.
A first evaluation of the learning material revealed that a male point of view is typical. The results of the evaluation are considered in the guideline.
In April 2003 all lectures were evaluated looking at the gender aspect and the slides will be optimised. Some results are shown in the slides (in German) of a presentation at a workshop in Hagen.
Like gender, accessibility is a relatively new aspect concerning the evaluation of computer aided learning. 2003 is the European Year of People with Disabilities, and this reminds us working in digital learning projects that it is neecessary to look at the accessibility. In contrast to the gender aspect, laws exist to enforce the development of accessible software. In the USA it is the "Section 508", in Germany the "Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz", respectively for governmental institutions the "Verordnung zur Schaffung barrierefreier Informationstechnik nach dem Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz".
At our project we use the PDF-format for our learning material, so we have to find out if it is accessible. For reading PDF-Files, most people use the Acrobat Reader of Adobe. Adobe is aware of the accessibitlity problem and offers two solutions. One is the use of the online conversion tools for Adobe PDF Documents. Secondly Adobe is working on the integration of new function into the Acrobat Reader. More information can be found at http://access.adobe.com/ .