Best Instructor Selection Process
A total of 171 instructors and co-instructors teaching at 132 universities in 102 countries whose students took part in the 2020-1 round of the X-Culture competition were considered for the Best Instructor Award.
About 140 of those instructors did an absolutely outstanding job: their students came in well prepared; they provided excellent support to their students throughout the project; they managed all the paperwork diligently and effectively, and they completed all their duties – from report evaluations to serving on various committees – very diligently.
They all deserve a BIG THANK YOU! Their universities can be proud of such having such professors.
However, some groups of students did better than others and some instructors went the extra mile to help their students and make X-Culture a success. Those few deserve special recognition.
Each instructor was rated and ranked along 124 performance variables.
The most important factor was the class-average performance. Ultimately, it is all about student performance. Student ratings in terms of effort, intellectual contribution, collegiality, as well as the personal share of the work completed by the students in the total work completed by their teams all were taken into account. Thus, to a large degree, this Award goes to the best class/university, rather than an individual instructor.
However, a number of additional instructor-specific factors were also considered:
Class-average student diligence as measured by students’ ability to meet deadlines and submit weekly progress reports were given substantial weight.
Class-average report quality and plagiarism statistics were also taken into account, but weighted less because the quality of the team report and originality of the report (absence of plagiarism) was affected not only by the students of the instructor in question, but 4-7 students from other universities.
A number of indicators of the instructors’ personal performance were also considered and given a substantial weight: from the quality of preparation of the pre-project materials (e.g., student rosters, accuracy of the names and email addresses, etc.), to the quality of the report evaluations submitted by the instructors at the end of the project (reliability of the ratings, depth, and quality of the feedback). Additional help provided by the instructor, such as help with webinars, symposia, and training material development were also taken into account.
The class size and the level of study were also considered to acknowledge the fact that ensuring a high level of performance in large undergraduate courses may be more challenging than in small graduate courses.
After all 171 instructors were ranked on each of the 124 variables, it was impossible to select one best instructor. However, a small group emerged who ranked almost perfectly on the vast majority of the dimensions.
The list of 40 professors who ranked the highest overall is provided below in alphabetical order.
We deliberately do not rank them from 1 to 40. First, they all did an outstanding job as instructors. Second, such rankings could change substantially depending on which particular variables are given more weight.
It is important to note that there was no clear gap between the “best” and the “rest” groups. At least 50 other instructors received excellent evaluations along all dimensions, including very positive student performance reviews and exceptional diligence and helpfulness throughout the semester. But the line had to be drawn somewhere and if we had to select a smaller group of instructors whose performance was even better than that of the rest, these 40 are our Best Instructor Award recipients this semester.