Volume 7, Issue 3, Winter 2008
Assessment of Online Learning Environments: Using the OCLES(20) with Graduate Level Online Classes
Online education for post-secondary instruction is a rapidly expanding enterprise among public and private universities. While the quantity of courses over the past 10 years has exponentially increased, the quality of these courses has not. As universities accept the challenge of creating effective and responsive online learning programs to address student demand, real concern about the best design for these online learning opportunities has arisen. In traditional classrooms and educational activities, student interaction and teacher control are negotiated to support the intellectual development and knowledge acquisition of learners. These constructivist teaching practices have proved most effective in traditional classrooms—should this not be the same in an online classroom? To this purpose, this article describes the progressive development of a valid and reliable assessment tool, Online Constructivist Learning Environment Survey—OCLES(20) with Demographic Data, for determining the constructivist design of online teaching environments. This student self-report survey seeks to provide guidance for the development of online learning environments through collection of student perceptions of teaching strategies and practices in online classrooms. Data collection beyond the initial field test of the OCLES(20) has provided further validation and suggests recommendations for further refinement of the instrument.
Use of the Webinar Tool (Elluminate) to Support Training: The Effects of Webinar-Learning Implementation from Student-Trainers’ Perspective
Recently, webinar (web seminar) tools (e.g., Elluminate, Adobe Acrobat Connect, Live Meeting) have been attracting more and more attention with the advancement of online learning technologies because webinar tools facilitate real-time communication and enrich the interactivity in an online learning environment. Corporations have long adopted webinar tools for real-time meetings; however, we need research-based data to understand how webinar tools can be successfully integrated into an online learning environment. To strengthen our understanding of appropriate webinar training and teaching strategies, this qualitative study investigates the perceptions of student-trainers who use webinar tools. The results show that student-trainers are satisfied with their webinar-facilitated delivery of conceptual knowledge. Webinar provides a nearly face-to-face environment that increases participants’ social presence and facilitates multi-level interaction. This paper presents suggestions regarding webinar-session implementation strategies.
Fostering Self-Efficacy through Time Management in an Online Learning Environment
In this study, we investigated the use of a web-based tool designed to influence levels of student self-efficacy by engaging participants in a time management strategy. On a daily basis for 16 days, a total of 64 undergraduate and graduate students engaged in the web-based time management tool in which students set goals regarding how they planned to spend their time the next day and recorded how they spent their time the previous day. In addition, students received either daily or weekly feedback on their goal attainment in either a lean or rich format. This strategy encouraged participants to monitor their time management behaviors and engage in a self-regulated learning process. Results indicated that while engagement with the online time management tool resulted in increases in self-reported time management behaviors, there were no significant increases in student self-efficacy or self-regulated learning as a result of either daily or weekly feedback in a lean or rich format.
Using Code-Recode to Detect Critical Thinking Aspects of Asynchronous Small Group CMC Collaborative Learning
This article empirically validates an existing content analysis scheme and addresses a main concern of researchers about text-based, online transcripts in the form of code-recoding by mapping our scheme to the practical inquiry, cognitive presence model’s five phases directly to realise higher-order thinking or critical thinking aspects for our software engineering students at London Metropolitan University. Two case studies are presented from final year undergraduate students. We also evaluated a semi-structured CMC environment called SQUAD, developed in-house for scaffolding small group collaborative learning. We argue that the empirical study conducted with software engineering students in Hong Kong and London gives an indication that critical thinking or higher-order thinking certainly exists within online collaborative learning teams where knowledge emerges and is shared. We claim that responses in the integration and resolution categories are more pertinent to critical thinking or higher-order thinking in the context of online, small group, collaborative learning environments when using the cognitive presence model as a framework for measurement purpose.
Teachers’ Reflections on Pedagogies that Enhance Learning in an Online Course on Teaching for Equity and Social Justice
This study investigated teachers’ reflective perspectives on pedagogies that enhance learning in an online course on “Teaching for equity and social justice” in a teacher education program. Data were collected from survey, alternative anonymous course assessment, interview, and document analysis. Participants identified threaded discussions, partner-shared learning, course 3Rs (rigor, relevance and relationships), pre-post narrative inquiries and writing reading response papers as critical pedagogies that enhanced their learning in the online course. In this paper, I analyze and discuss the teachers’ reflective perspectives and the construction and implementation of these pedagogies.