Faculty Learn Shop

2021 Faculty Learn Shop

Assessing Experience: Leveraging Usability Methods as a Means of Student Feedback

Monday, March 1, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

What will I learn?

Presented by: Jessica L. Knott, Assistant Vice President of Community Strategy, Experience and Management, Online Learning Consortium

Focus: This 90-minute workshop focuses on simple methods you can use in your course to differently understand the student experience. The myth of the digital native can lead us down dangerous paths in regard to course design. Joosten & Cusatis (2019) found that instructional characteristics and course design quality indicators were statistically significant predictors of student success in online learning environments. Shackel (2009) defined usability of a system or experience (such as an online, blended, or digitally-enhanced course) as “the capability in human functional terms to be used easily and effectively by the specified range of users, given specified training and user support, to fulfill the specified range of tasks, within the specified range of environmental scenarios (p. 340).” Combining questions of course design and usability in the context of setting our students up for success, we’ll co-work in an exploration of the following questions:

  • What assumptions do we make regarding what our students know how to do in the courses we design? 
  • What do we assume about students’ ability to navigate courses effectively in order to find the materials they need? 
  • What methods can we employ to help us as designers and instructors better understand experience as an indicator of student success?

Leveraging methods from User Experience (UX) practice, as well as the DETA Research Toolkit 2.1, we will look at our learning experiences from a usability perspective, and develop an easy-to-follow assessment plan that gathers student feedback in approachable, actionable, and empathetic ways. How might these methods inform our individual practice? How might they inform our collective designs? Let’s work together and develop some methods that may help answer those very questions!


Joosten, T., & Cusatis, R. (2019). A Cross-Institutional Study of Instructional Characteristics and Student Outcomes: Are Quality Indicators of Online Courses Able to Predict Student Success?. Online Learning, 23(4), 354-378.

Shackel, B. (2009). Usability–Context, framework, definition, design and evaluation. Interacting with Computers, 21(5-6), 339-346.

Soffer, T., & Cohen, A. (2019). Students' engagement characteristics predict success and completion of online courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 35(3), 378-389.

Why should I attend?

The learn shop is a great opportunity to learn best practices and participate in discussions with your Great Plains IDEA colleagues. 

Who should attend?

This year all teaching faculty are invited to attend the learn shop.  This is a great opportunity for programs to come together and learn something new.