Location: Tobaccoville, North Carolina

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Choosing My Project

Kaufman defines needs assessment as the process for defining the gaps between current and desired results and providing justification for identifying and choosing the way to close the gap. This includes collecting data showing the proposed solution will deliver the desired result, i.e. we won’t need to reframe and find a second-order solution.

There are two projects I’ve proposed for this course. Let me give a background on these projects and some rationale on how I choose which project to pursue.

The Academy is presently collecting “evidence and materials” for SACS/SAIS re-accreditation. (This experience fits well with completing a needs assessment for my course project) As math department chair I have spent a good portion of the past school year re-analyzing our courses, assessment techniques, and stakeholder (parents, teachers, staff, students, & community) needs just to name a few things. One result of this analyzing process was the need to re-vamp ourAdvanced Algebra & Trigonometry course in order to make it comply with North Carolina Department of Instruction standards. Based on department discussions and discussions at our Council on Academic Affairs (CAA) it was decided to remove Advanced Algebra & Trigonometry from our course offerings and replace it with a course entitled Advanced Functions & Modeling (AFM). The AFM course includes a unit on algebra, a trigonometry unit and a obability & statistics unit. One of my proposed projects is outlining/planning the AFM course or one of its units.

My other proposed project is also a result of our re-accreditation process. During the Academy’s last full review (1996) and it 5-year “check-up” (2001) it was recommended that the math department increase its use of technology. A suggest made in relation to this was to create a Math Department website for student use. This website would also allow parents to know what was going on in their daughters math classes. My second proposed project is to begin creating this website.

Several things have happened over the past few weeks which is leading me to choose creating the website rather than outlining/planning the AFM course. First, Salem Academy & College recently (as in this January) set up a course management program for its faculty. This program, called MOODLE, allows teachers to post syllabus, create discussion boards, give on –line quizzes, post PowerPoint lectures, notes, assignments and from what I’m told even more. Second, the issue of departmental websites has come up again as our department re-evaluates as part of the accreditation process.

Whether or not I use MOODLE to setup the webpage is still up for debate. One Academy faculty member whose already attending a MOODLE demonstration says MOODLE can be a great teaching device. Another says she prefers the website she created without MOODLE. I will be attending a demonstration of MOODLE on Monday to learn more.

To sum this all up, I’m going to do my needs assessment for the website. But if anyone has an opinion regarding which project to do, please comment!


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