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As the rapid pace of technology change continues unabated, institutions are faced with numerous decisions and choices to support teaching and learning. Amid many options and constrained budgets, faculty and administrators must carefully choose which practices to adopt and where to invest their time, effort, and financial resources. As critical as these decisions are, the information available about the impact of these innovations is often scarce, scattered, or both. What evidence do we have that these changes and innovations are having the desired impact? What current effective practices would enable us to collect that evidence?

At "Seeking Evidence of Impact," the 2011 ELI Online Spring Focus Session, we engaged the teaching and learning community in exploring initial questions on seeking evidence. Do our innovations accomplish our desired outcomes? How do we define "impact"? How do we measure impact? Through plenary sessions and various institutional case studies, we:

  • Examined research strategies designed to evaluate teaching and learning innovation and practice
  • Reviewed various approaches and designs for collecting evidence
  • Explored evaluation tools and methodologies and how they can be used to effectively measure the impact of our innovations and practices
  • Discussed evidence-of-impact challenges and opportunities at various institutional levels and across various institutional types and controls (public, private, two year, four year)
  • Learned how to infuse instructional objectives and pedagogy into the evidence-seeking process
  • Toured institutional case studies and the research frameworks that have been used to evaluate their effectiveness and construct future improvements

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