Outcomes & Updates: SAAL’s Open Course in 2019

Outcomes & Updates: SAAL’s Open Course in 2019


I’m excited to announce SAAL is gearing up for the fourth offering of our free, open course “Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs”! This post will provide some results from the last course run, share changes and updates about the upcoming course, and then confirm the schedule for the course, including registration information at the very end (Spoiler: course starts February 24 and you can register here!).


Results from 2019 (Course 3.0)

What assessment professionals would we be if we did not share data from our course? For blog purposes, we’ll just share some highlights of course data from this past year. 

Who took the course?

Based on welcome survey responses from students in the course, 




were staff with a master’s degree.

have 0-20% of their job dedicated to assessment.

described their assessment competency as intermediate.


The majority of students identified as…

  • Female (73%)
  • Between 25-44 years old (69%)


What did they say about the course?


Its content had a positive impact!

Students rated agreement on the positive impact of activities and materials.



Activities (discussions, quizzes) 

had a positive impact.

Materials (videos, articles) 

had a positive impact.


It was manageable to engage and complete

82% of students spend 2 hours or less per week on the course.


How many finished the course?

As evidence of the course being manageable, we’ve provided completion numbers for the first three versions of the course below. Remember this is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which is very different than a traditional class - in-person or online. As such, completion rates tend to be low. Nevertheless, the past two iterations of the course beat the national MOOC averages!


*Average completion for MOOCs ranges from 3 to 15%


But did they learn?

Across all quizzes, the average score was 97%. The average per module varied, with the lowest average at 95.17% and the highest average at 98.65%. While the quizzes are not intended to be too difficult, given the open enrollment and varying competency level of attendees, students are demonstrating high levels of achievement for the course.

For more detail about students taking the course, their feedback, and outcome data from this past year, we encourage you to view the recording of the Structured Conversation we did in September 2019. 


What’s New in 2020 (Course 4.0)?

There are several changes for this latest version of the course. 


Given the quiz data review, instructors made some changes to questions, as well as content to best promote learning. Instructors also shuffled around and adjusted module content to allow some topics more space for consideration and reinforce others with supporting content. 


While not new this year, the instructors are committing to holding live sessions again at the beginning and toward the end of the course, with the potential for an extra session or two in the middle of the course. The first live session is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4th at 4pm Eastern - click here to register for live session. This live session is being held prior to the course start to introduce interested students to the instructors and content, as well as serve as a near-course-start pitch for enrollment.


Students in this course have always been able to earn a Statement of Accomplishment if they score 75% or better on each quiz before the course closes. This comes in PDF form. While this will still be the case for this course section, we have also created a badge via Badgr, making your credential one which could be shared and posted in multiple ways. Same requirements to earn the badge as the Statement of Accomplishment, just an additional (and new!) way to showcase your achievement!



Course Collaboration

SAAL has partnered with National Louis University (NLU) to be the new institutional partner supporting the course. NLU is a private, non-profit, medium-sized institution located in Chicago, IL, with additional locations throughout Illinois and one in Tampa, FL. With NLU having been a featured partner for the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and collaborated with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) on case studies and coaching, SAAL is excited to partner to NLU support student affairs assessment through offering our course. 


Join us!

Whether this is the first time you’ve heard about our course or you’ve taken it previously, we’d love to have you engage with us this year! For those who have previously taken the course, sign up to see what’s new. Or, better yet, tell a friend or colleague.

We’ve had a number of institutions leverage this course as free, structured, professional development. While there are many ways to do that, we gathered tips and tricks from folks who had done this before and created this resource as a guide to support campus coordination. 


Know that registration is open! The 8-week course starts February 24, 2020 and officially ends 11:59pm CT on Sunday, April 19, 2020. It’s completely self-paced, so you can go through content as fast as you like. Know instructors will move through one module per week and students need to meet all course requirements before course close in order to earn the Statement of Accomplishment. 


Stay tuned to the SAAL listserv and our social media channels for more information about the course (reminders to sign up for the course and the instructor live session). If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to SAAL or Joe Levy.


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