Volume 5, Issue 2, Summer 2007
Finally I Can Be with my Students 24/7, Individually and In Group: A Survey of Faculty Teaching Online
Teaching online is relatively new at Chicago State University (CSU). In this paper, twenty-four instructors who taught web-based, or web-enhanced courses during the spring and fall 2003 semesters CSU were surveyed about issues that they and their students had experienced in online communication. It was found that online learning was quickly developing into an effective mode of instruction. However, faculty and students appeared to have more or less “jumped into” the online classroom without being adequately prepared, and creation of effective, online, learning communities was still a work in progress.
College in the Information Age: Gains Associated with Students' Use of Technology
Increasingly college students are expected to use computers and technology in their studies. This study estimated the relationship between students’ use of technology and self-reported educational gains. These gains range from general learning outcomes to specific outcomes related to computers and technology. Results suggest a modest, but statistically significant relationship between students’ use of technology and closely related learning outcomes. Four college activities related to computer use emerged as strongest predictors of gains from college: searched internet for course material, used computer to analyze data, used index or database to find material, and retrieved off-campus library materials. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.
Using the Online Course to Promote Self-regulated Learning Strategies in Pre-service Teachers
The purpose of this study was to investigate the significance of using goal planning and weekly monitoring and evaluation forms within an online class to promote the use of self-regulated learning strategies. The relationship between student academic achievement and the use of materials to promote self-regulated learning was also studied. The subjects were 28 pre-service teachers taking two separate online sections of an education course entitled Educational Assessment and Measurement. Several forms were designed to prompt learners to reflect on their use of specific self-regulatory activities that achieving students are purported to use to learn academic material (Schunk, 1990). It was hypothesized that requiring learners to set and manage goals throughout the length of the online course would promote the use of self-regulated learning strategies. It was also hypothesized that supporting learners in focusing on the behavioral, motivational, and metacognitive aspects of their learning processes in an online class would result in higher achievement at the end of the course. The findings supported the hypothesis that there was a relationship between the use of goal analysis forms and evaluation and management forms to develop self-regulatory skills in pre-service teachers taking an online course. The results of the study did not support the hypothesis that the use of goal analysis forms and evaluation and management forms would result in higher average quiz scores for pre-service teachers taking an online course.
Faculty Uses of and Attitudes toward a Course Management System in Improving Instruction
Vivian H. Wright
The University of Alabama
The investigators in this study were interested in knowing how faculty uses of a course management system (CMS) helps improve content and instruction, and how faculty attitudes may help or hinder that effort. Seven faculty members were interviewed and the texts were coded and analyzed qualitatively. From the analysis, the investigators derived five main categories concerning the use of a CMS: faculty motivations; benefits; perspectives; differing class formats; and issues and needs. Results of this study show that communication and organization play key roles in course improvement, that a university’s commitment and support is critical in securing faculty involvement, that discussion boards and student tracking may be the primary non-assessment methods for determining student learning, that bottom-up pressure from students desiring content online is more important than pressure from above, and that the 'extended class' (24/7 access) may be the most important feature of an online class component.
Developing an Evaluation Framework for a Custom-designed Course Management System
This study evaluated a custom-designed course management system in use at a mid-sized public institution in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. While focusing primarily on gathering information relevant to the continued development of the course management system, this study sought to identify the relationship among user characteristics, usability factors, and acceptance of the course management system. Additionally, this study sought to identify common usability problems with specific course features encountered by the users. Participants in this study were 308 undergraduate and graduate students who were currently using the online course management system to take an Internet-enhanced or fully Internet-delivered course. The data collected via an online survey instrument indicated that three usability factors, ease of navigation, ease of learning, and visual perception were significant predictors of acceptance of the course management system. The usability of specific course management system features was examined using both Likert-scale items and content analysis of open-ended survey questions. The content analysis of the open-ended items revealed several specific problems that were commonly encountered while using specific course features. Based on these findings, several recommendations are made toward the improvement of the custom-designed course management system and also toward the improvement of the survey instrument for future use.
Book Review: Hiltz, S.R. & Goldman, R. (2005). Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks
The book Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks (2005) is a comprehensive review of the current state of research on online learning. Co-editors Starr Roxanne Hiltz and Ricki Goldman bring together leading researchers in the world of virtual education to collaboratively author chapters. In the first section, theoretical foundations and research methods are delineated. The second section synthesizes current theory and research, proposing fruitful directions for further examination. Chapters focus on learning effectiveness online, virtual students, faculty roles, collaborative learning, varied media for online instruction, and fostering learning communities. Learning Together Online aspires to nothing less than transformative power for members of the higher education community. Readers are warned that reluctant faculty more than students or administrators are resisting movement toward increased uses of online collaborative platforms and tools for learning. Hiltz and Goldman point to the feature of asynchronicity itself as that which sets asynchronous learning networks apart from alternative learning environments, on or off-line. Questions for reflection and discussion complete each chapter to leverage continued dialogue beyond the text. Scholars, graduate students and online practitioners will find the research survey informative, the questions for further research compelling, and road forward succinctly paved by this work.