Bigatel and Williams, Measuring Student Engagement In An Online Program

Bigatel, Paula, and Vicki Williams, “Measuring Student Engagement In An Online Program.” In Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, vol. 18, no. 2 (Summer 2015).

Abstract: In an effort to measure the effectiveness of faculty development courses promoting student engagement, the faculty development unit of Penn State’s Online Campus conducted a pilot study within a large online Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) program. In all, 2,296 students were surveyed in the spring and summer semesters of 2014 in order to seek their perspectives on (1) the extent of their engagement in the courses and (2) the degree to which their instructors promoted their engagement. The survey comprised three sub-scales: the first and third sub-scales addressed instructional design aspects of the course, and the second sub-scale addressed attitudes and behaviors whereby the instructors promoted student engagement. The results showed a significant difference on the second sub-scale (sig = 0.003) at the .05 level, indicating that students rated instructors with professional development higher on instructor behaviors that engaged them in their courses than those instructors who received no professional development. There were no significant differences found for the first and third sub-scales indicating that the instructional design aspects of the courses under investigation were not influenced by instructors’ professional development. Qualitative data showed that three quarters of the students who had instructors whose background included professional development geared to encouraging student engagement felt that their courses had engaged them. Future research will focus on increasing the response rate and exploring in more depth both the instructional design and qualitative aspects of student engagement.

Full article is available here.

Dunlap, “Down-and-dirty Guidelines for Effective Discussions in Online Courses”

Dunlap, Joanne C. “Down-and-dirty Guidelines for Effective Discussions in Online Courses.” In Lowenthal, Patrick R., et al., The CU Online Handbook, 93-99.

Joanne C. Dunlap provides 29 useful points to consider when using online discussion divided into these categories:

  • Setting Participation Expectations
  • Setting the Tone for Social Sharing and Community
  • Launching and Structuring Discussions
  • Giving Learners a Role
  • Engaging Quieter Learners

The chapter is available here: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/CUOnline/FacultySupport/Handbook/Documents/GuidelinesEffectiveDiscussions.pdf

Accessibility MOOC on Canvas Network – #AccessMOOC

SUNY Empire State College and Buffalo State College are using a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant to fund the creation of a new Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) that “will help participants gain a better understanding of accessibility as a civil rights issue and develop the knowledge and skills needed to design learning experiences that promote inclusive learning environments for all students, including those with disabilities.”

Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners is a free 6-week (2/22-4/4) professional development course available that will help you gain a better understanding of accessibility as a civil rights issue and develop the knowledge and skills you need to design learning experiences that promote inclusive learning environments. Continue reading “Accessibility MOOC on Canvas Network – #AccessMOOC”

Faculty Focus: Applying the Seven Principles of Good Practice to the Online Classroom

Oliver Dreon, has a post over at Faculty Focus about the application of Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education introduced by Chickering and Gamson back in 1987.  (See my “Classic Works” post over at TIPS for Faculty for an overview and a copy of that work.)  Chickering and Gamson published their first piece on this subject 25 years ago.  Although designed to introduce best practices for face-to-face instruction, Dreon believes the principles “translate well to the online classroom and can help to provide guidance for those of us designing courses to be taught online.” Continue reading “Faculty Focus: Applying the Seven Principles of Good Practice to the Online Classroom”

eBook: 835 Tips for Successful Online Instruction

Learning Guild - 834 Tips Cover

The Learning Guild published 834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction back in December  2005 for those building online education courses.  The membership of the Guild is highly skewed toward those developing training in the corporate word.  Often these are short-term, rapidly developed courses with a narrowly targeted population of learners.  There are, however, many useful things in the book for those designing online courses in academia.   Continue reading “eBook: 835 Tips for Successful Online Instruction”

Effective Online Learning Environments: Learner-Centered Lens

In the Effective Online Learning Environments post I listed the four characteristics (Terry Anderson refers to them as “lenses”) of an effective online learning environment: learner-centered, community centered, knowledge-centered, and assessment-centered.  In this post I will deal with the learner-centered lens.

Being learner-centered, Terry Anderson reminds us, is not a context within “which the whims and peculiarities of each individual learner are slavishly catered to” (p. 47).  It must be recognized that “the needs of the teacher, the institution, and the larger society that provides support for the student, the institution, and often for a group or class of students, as well as for the particular needs of the individual learns” (p. 47)  For this reason, Anderson asserts that “learning-centered” is a better descriptor than “learner-centered.” Continue reading “Effective Online Learning Environments: Learner-Centered Lens”