The MPH program at OSU is an applied program with coursework and internships conducted in the community. My course, H575 Program Evaluation, is typically taken their second term of their first year in the graduate program. It is offered one day a week as a 3 hour course. I would suggest having in-person class weekly for the hybrid course but shorten the length of time. The main assignment for the course is to develop an evaluation plan and assessment tool (such as a survey) for a real-world program. I pre-select potential programs from our community partners at the health department, local clinics, state agency (Oregon Health Authority) or extension offices. Students rank their preference for evaluation projects based off a brief description that I prepare. Students work as a team typically with one other student.
The class is set-up so that the students build their evaluation plan throughout the term. For instance, week 2 is the logic model, week 3 writing the program description, week 4 writing the evaluation objectives, week 5 literature review, etc. The class culminates in a final presentation where many of the community partners join in person or remotely to watch the students deliver their presentations. In past terms, students continue on with the project for special study credit hours or internship or even present at local conferences on the evaluation plan and data.
One of the limitations of this assignment was that students focused on one type of evaluation design or assessment mode – whichever they were assigned to. This year, I still have the group evaluation plan, but I’ve added mini-evaluations. We had four guest speakers talk throughout the term on their current evaluation needs. After each guest lecture, the entire class works independently on a week-long assignment preparing a mini-evaluation for 1 topic or need asked by the stakeholder. For instance, our guest speaker this week talked about lack of cultural sensitivity and increased perceived discrimination in the Albany school district. A cultural competency training will be delivered to educators and staff in one school. Students in my class were asked to develop or find 2 survey items/measures to help evaluate the cultural competency training. These mini-evaluations have increased my students attention to the guest lecture. The students have asked thoughtful and pertinent questions to my guest lectures. Tying an assignment to the guest lecture has improved student participation in discussion.
My concern for this hybrid class is the amount of work. I am concerned that I have too many assignments in the hybrid course. I am planning on reducing the number of these mini-evaluations to balance the workload.