Student Satisfaction

STUDENT SATISFACTION reflects the effectiveness of all aspects of the educational experience. The goal is that all students who complete a course express satisfaction with course rigor and fairness, with professor and peer interaction, and with support services. Online students put a primary value on appropriate, constructive, and substantive interaction with faculty and other students. Effective professors help students achieve learning outcomes that match course and learner objectives by using current information and communications technologies to support active, individualized, engaged, and constructive learning. As consumers, students are satisfied when provider services-learning resources, academic and administrative services, technology and infrastructure support -- are responsive, timely, and personalized. Effective practices may analyze and apply the results of student and alumni surveys, referrals, testimonials or other means of measuring perceived satisfaction with learning communities. Student satisfaction is the most important key to continuing learning.

Effective Practice Awards Submissions Due June 30

Submitted by janetmoore on May 27, 2010 - 2:06pm
New effective practices  submitted by June 30 are eligible for awards to be presented at the July 21, 2010 Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium Awards Presentation Luncheon.
Thousands visit effective practices for innovative practices supported by eviden
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Wendy Cowan
Author(s): 
Mark Gale
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Athens State University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Research in online student retention suggests that both time and relationships play a critical role in student persistence. Providing courses online does address convenience as it relates to student time constraints, but once inside the online classroom, it’s imperative that instructors find creative ways to deliver instruction that leads to student engagement. Students become more engaged when relationships are formed – with both the instructor and peers. Virtual classroom sessions, while seeming to be one solution for forming relationships, conflict with the convenience of taking an online class. To counteract this inconvenience, instructors teaching online and blended sections of the same course decided to create a learning community that offered multiple times and dates for virtual class sessions. The results have led to increased satisfaction and engagement for both students and faculty.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Across universities, each semester there are some courses that are offered and taught by multiple instructors. For example, English 101 could possibly be offered in the schedule across 10, 20 and even more sections. Some of these sections are offered in online format.
In the Athens State College of Education, we offer three courses that are taken by all College of Education majors – Foundations of Education I, Foundations of Education II and Technology and Media for Educators. Each semester we offer at least 10+ sections of each of these courses, with over half of them offered in a blended or online format.
In an effort to help establish positive relationships in these online courses, we implemented weekly virtual classroom sessions, which isn’t a new idea. But because we have multiple instructors teaching sections of the same course, we went a step further and created a community calendar where each instructor posts the date, time, topic and entry URL to his/her virtual classroom sessions (See supporting documents). Instructors are encouraged to schedule their sessions at different times/days throughout each week so that students have many options for attending live sessions.
Instructors conduct virtual sessions at the scheduled time/date weekly and record the session. Archived sessions are made available inside courses for students who are unable to attend the live sessions. Upon completion of each session, instructors ask for the names of any “visiting” students. Visiting student’s names are then sent to the other instructors so that students are given credit for attendance.
Inside each course, students are provided with a link to the community calendar and are informed that they may attend any session(s) offered. Students who were unable to attend are required to watch and summarize archived sessions.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

While the initial goal was to improve relationships within the course, the results have far exceeded our imaginings. Students reported that they not only appreciate the availability of the live sessions, but have also stated that the sessions help them feel like they are in a “real classroom.” Students have also reported that they appreciate the ability to choose session times/dates that best meet their needs. This evidence of effectiveness was expected (See supporting documents).
Evidence of effectiveness that was not anticipated is the instructor’s perceptions of teaching and learning effectiveness and overall satisfaction. Prior to initiating the across-section virtual classroom sessions, instructors completed a pretest measuring faculty satisfaction. Upon completion of the first semester of implementation instructors completed the posttest. A review of the data indicates that faculty are more satisfied with their role in the course following the semester of weekly virtual classroom sessions (See supporting documents).

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Learning effectiveness: Instructors felt more empowered as a result of this effective practice. Data suggests that instructors perceived an increased contribution to student learning. One hundred percent of instructors surveyed felt that students had a valuable learning experience due to the instructor’s role in the class. When comparing the amount of content able to be taught between an online/blended course and a traditional course, most instructors (73%) reported that they could now teach the same or more content. Seventy six percent of the instructors reported that they were more satisfied with their online/blended course the semester following the virtual classroom implementation. Instructors (85.7%) believed that the virtual classroom sessions improved student success (See supporting documents).
Faculty satisfaction: Posttest data from the virtual classroom implementation suggests that faculty are pleased with teaching online/blended courses. On the pretest survey 86.7% of instructors reported that they were very satisfied teaching an online/blended course. Following the virtual classroom sessions implementation 76.9% of instructors reported being more satisfied than they were the previous semester. Considering that that most instructors had already reported being very satisfied, this is a very indicative finding regarding faculty satisfaction (See supporting documents).
Student satisfaction: Student surveys indicate that students are satisfied with the availability of the virtual classroom sessions. Approximately 55% of students reported that the virtual classroom sessions were beneficial (See supporting document).

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

The equipment we used to implement this effective practice was Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Wimba, which are virtual classroom platforms. Google Docs was used for the community calendars.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

While neither Wimba nor Collaborate are free, there are other virtual classroom options that are free and low cost. For example, Google Hangouts could be used for virtual classroom sessions.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Wendy Cowan
Email this contact: 
wendy.cowan@athens.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Mark Gale
Email contact 2: 
Mark.Gale@athens.edu
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Deborah A. Raines, PhD, EdS, RN, ANEF
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University at Buffalo: SUNY
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Online technologies have removed the barriers of time, cost and location from the learning activities and experiences available to students. Virtual field trips allow learners to engage with and to learn about authentic artifacts and to explore places important to their discipline of study and consistent with their individual learning needs. During a virtual field trip students can be guided through museums, historical documents, national monuments and agencies or organizations specific to the course content. A virtual field trip can also involve attending an artistic performance and connecting with a leader in the field of study. As a nurse educator, my students and I have visited the National Institute of Nursing Research, the National Library of Medicine, the Grave sites of famous nurses, The National Patient Safety Foundation and many other places to enhance understanding and application of course content. These field trips bring the real-world perspective to concepts discussed in course text-books as well as provide a national and global perspective to the material being studied. In addition, learners often find tools and resources that are useful in the academic studies as well as in their professional practice.

The opportunities for learning on a virtual field trip are limited only by the creativity of the leader (the faculty) and the engagement of the traveler (the learner). Once the destination is selected the virtual field trip needs to be planned: goals and objective, a guide for exploration and specific outcomes and souvenirs to be gathered by the traveler and then shared with the entire class. A discussion board, wiki or blog can be used to bring everyone together to share their individual journey.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

The virtual field trip enables learners to visit and explore destinations relevant to course concepts and aligned with course learning objective. The virtual field trip brings real-life experience to the application and understanding of course concepts. I frequently use a virtual field trip at the beginning of a course to provide a “big picture” of the content we will be studying during the course. While each virtual field trip is different, the following are general steps in the creation of a virtual field trip.
• Identify destinations consistent with the objectives of the course and the learning needs of the students. Everyone may visit the same destination or a choice of destinations may be presented to the learner. Whether there is a single destination or a choice of destination is determined by the desired learning outcome.
• The leader/instructor must visit each destination, during the development process, to identify which areas, activities or resources the visitor (learner) will be directed to explore.
• Script an introductory statement to engage and interest the student in the activity. Including a map with the destination highlighted or a statement of the importance of the destination to the field of study.
• Provide a general focus or what the learner needs to achieve during their trip.
• Give the URL to the destination.
• Provide a guided tour and step-by-step instruction to get the visitor to the portion of the destination web-site that will facilitate achievement of the learning objective.
• Give clear details of what visitor need to look for, collect or observe while at the destination.
• Encourage learners to gather souvenirs, pictures and other memories/interesting findings from their trip to share with the class.
• Create an activity where each student shares and discusses their trip and what they learned with other students in the class. A discussion board, wiki, blog or voice-thread are all mechanisms for this sharing activity.
• Make it fun – include graphic and color in the field trip announcement.
• Consider sharing your trip to the destination as an example for the students as well as to demonstrate your involvement and participation in the field trip.
An example of a virtual trip used in a recent course is included as an attachment below.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Student response to the virtual field trip activity has been overwhelmingly positive. In the posting sharing experiences and learning during the virtual field trip it is evident than many students really explored their destination and accessed documents or viewed items relevant to their individual nursing practice settings. In each group, a couple of students have actually reached out to ask questions or seek additional information from staff at the site being visited. This additional activity that was initiated by the student is evidence of their engagement in the activity and the effectiveness of the virtual field trip in encouraging them to seek knowledge to fulfill their learning needs. Students share photos from their destination, links to tool-boxes or white papers and some students even visit the gift shop and share virtual gifts for other class members

Over the past 2 years, I have used a total of 5 virtual field trips in five different courses. As part of the end of course survey, students have been asked to rate different learning activities used in the course. The aggregate rating for the virtual field trip activity, based on these five courses is 94% excellent and 6% very good. A total of 148 students responded to the end of course surveys and no one has rated the field trip activity as anything but excellent or very good. Qualitative comments about the virtual field trip activity include word such as “fun”, “great opportunity to learn about places I will probably never have the chance to visit in person”, “I loved visiting the AHCQR”, “I got great resources that I now use at work during the virtual field trip”, and “consider adding more field trips…it was great!”

Finally a group of colleagues and I conducted a program evaluation study to explore if students’ attitudes and knowledge about patient safety change as a result of the course, which included a virtual field trip. The research showed a significant increase in knowledge and attitude as measured before and after the course. A copy of the poster, which was presented at the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) conference in November 2013, with the research findings is included as an attachment below.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Learning effectiveness: The virtual field trip capitalizes on one of the greatest advantages of the online learning technologies: the lack of barriers to exploration. The opportunity to visit locations outside the learner’s geographic home without the expense of plane tickets, hotels and time away from family and work commitments is not feasible in the traditional classroom. Designing virtual field trip which acknowledge the unique characteristics and interests of each learner and that grant the learner access to resource that are useful in the course and beyond, culminates in a learning activity that is effective in achieving course objectives, promoting disciplinary socialization and is satisfying and enjoyable to the learner.

Student satisfaction: Student comments related to the virtual field trip activity are overwhelmingly positive. Students appreciate the change from reading text document, viewing videos and responding to discussion probes. They also enjoy the freedom to explore specific aspects of a destination specific to their individual interests and career goals. For example at the National Institute for Nursing Research or the National Patient Safety Foundation a nurse practicing in pediatrics will explore different documents and tools than a nurse who practices in hospice or in an adult cardiology setting. Over time, it has been observed that a number of students re-visit the destination of their virtual field trip and reference document or use tools from the site in assignment or projects later in the course.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

The virtual field trip can be designed and implemented with no special software or equipment. All that is needed is access to the internet, the web-address/URL of the place to be visited, a discussion board, wiki or blog where students can share their travel experience and findings and some creativity to structure a fun and educational activity.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Since most universities have access to the internet for students and faculty, the start-up costs are minimal. The major investment is the time of the faculty in developing the learning activity and exploring the proposed destination to assure that the learning objectives are achievable.

References, supporting documents: 

Supporting document attached:
--Virtual_Field_trip.PDF -- an example of a virtual field trip.
--AACN Poster2.PDF -- finding of a program evaluation study related to change in attitude and knowledge following a course which included a virtual field trip.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Deborah A. Raines
Email this contact: 
draines@buffalo.edu
Award Winner: 
2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Author Information
Author(s): 
Rick Lumadue, PhD
Author(s): 
Rusty Waller, PhD
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Programmatic student-learning outcomes of an online master’s degree program at a regional University in Texas were assessed in this study. An innovative use of emerging technology provided a platform for this study. The Astin Model provided the framework for the evaluation. This study has provided a model for conducting well-informed, instructional and programmatic assessments of student-learning outcomes. The results of this study demonstrated that emerging technology can provide a platform for students to both showcase and preserve their ability to meet programmatic student-learning outcomes.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

This online master’s degree program is taught using a fully interactive online format in a primarily asynchronous delivery model. Asynchronous activities used in the program included: threaded discussion, video and audio presentations, written lecture linked to video and audio presentations embedded into the course management system, Voicethreads, faculty developed MERLOT web pages created using the MERLOT Content Builder, e-Textbooks, etc.
The Astin Model (1993) provided a framework for this assessment. In the Astin Model, quality education not only reaches established benchmarks but also is founded upon the ability to transition students from where they are to reach intended competencies. An innovative use of MERLOT Content Builder combined with emerging technology provided a means for assessing the seven student-learning outcomes in an online master’s program at a regional university in Texas.
Two full-time faculty and one adjunct faculty used rubrics to evaluate each of the programmatic student-learning outcomes by assessing a random sample of student assignments from courses.
The goal of this study was to help students reach the intended learning outcomes for metacognition, digital fluency, communication, cultural fluency, global fluency, servant leadership, and commitment to life-long learning. Definitions of these learning outcomes are provided here. Students will evidence metacognition by demonstrating the knowledge and skills for designing, developing, and evaluating personal strategies for learning and leading. Students will evidence digital fluency in the adoption and integration of appropriate technologies into digital presentations. Students will be able to communicate ideas and content to actively engage participants. Students will evidence understanding of generational and cultural learning styles. Students will develop instructional materials appropriate for a global perspective. Students will practice the principles of servant leadership as espoused by Robert Greenleaf in his work titled, The Leader as Servant (1984). According to Greenleaf, “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. Students will evidence a commitment to lifelong learning in the production and evaluation of learning materials.
Digital education presents many challenges. Barnett-Queen, Blair, and Merrick (2005) identified perceived strengths and weaknesses of online discussion groups and subsequent instructional activities. Programmatic assessment is required for all institutions accredited by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education. Walvoord (2003) indicated that good assessment should focus on maximizing student performance. The following questions rise to the forefront: (1) Have graduates mastered programmatic expectations; (2) What relationships exist between student performance and other factors; and (3) How can faculty improve the program based upon the analysis of student performance. Walvoord further stresses the importance of direct assessment in determining student performance. Indirect measures may provide evidence of student-learning, but direct assessment is widely viewed as more valid and reliable.
Brandon, Young, Shavelson, Jones, Ayala, Ruiz-Primo, and Yin (2008) developed a model for embedded formative assessment. The model was collaborative and stressed embedded assessment. Their study stressed the difficulties associated with broad-based collaboration given the difficulties of formally identifying partners and spanning large geographic distances. Price and Randall (2008) demonstrated the importance of embedded direct assessment in lieu of indirect assessment. Their research revealed a lack of correlational fit between indirect and direct assessment of the same aspect of student-learning with the same course in a pre- and post-test design. They documented a difference between student perceived knowledge and actual knowledge. These findings further underscore the importance of direct assessment of student-learning. Walvoord’s (2003) findings further indicated the need for embedded direct assessment of student-learning owned and supported by those who will implement the change. Those implementing change would include program faculty and students.
Gardner (2007) found that education has long wrestled with defining and assessing life-long learning. Though loosely defined as the continued educational growth of the individual, lifelong learning is rapidly rising to the forefront of 21st century education to assume a more prominent place than that held in the 20th century. Brooner (2002) described the difficulty of assessing the intention to pursue learning beyond the completion of a program. Intention and subsequent performance are affected by many different factors including, but not limited to, normative beliefs and motivation. Educational programs have often been encouraged to avoid assessment of behavior beyond the point of graduation as such behavior as been viewed as beyond the control of program educators (Walvoord, 2003). The question arises as to the importance of future behavior as an indicator of current learning.
Astin (1993) pointed out that educators are inclined to avoid assessment of the affective domain viewing such as too value laden. Accordingly, the cognitive domain became the defacto assessment area though affective assessment more closely paralleled the stated aims and goals of most institutions of higher education. The avoidance of assessment in the affective domain is well documented by Astin. The advent of social media tools coupled with e-portfolios offers some intriguing possibilities in regard to assessment in the affective behavioral domain. Astin pointed out that a change in the affective domain should translate into changed behavior.
Secolsky and Wentland (2010) found many advantages to portfolio assessment that transcend regular assessment practices by providing a glimpse into non-structured behavioral activities. Behavior beyond the classroom can be captured and documented within a properly designed portfolio. Behavior that has not been directly observed by the teacher can be measured in light of portfolio submissions via a broad collection of relevant and targeted information. Established performance criterion can be assessed to measure student-learning and determine specific areas for programmatic improvement. Though Secolsky and Wentland point out that reliability and validity concerns still exist with portfolio measurement, they concur that portfolio assessment potentially gauges authentic student performance outside the educational environment. With the development of a portfolio transportable beyond program enrollment and across the life experience the opportunity exists to assess the impact of the instructional experience upon real time student performance. Evaluation of life-long portfolios promises to provide meaningful insight into the real life impact of the educational experience. Astin (1993) viewed changed behavior over time as the real evidence of affective enlightenment.
An interesting finding from this study was the creative manner in which some of the students layered or nested other web 2.0 technologies into their MERLOT web pages. Examples of layering or nesting included embedded student developed Voicethread presentations, embedded open-ended discussion Voicethreads used to promote participation and feedback, embedded YouTube Videos, embedded Prezis and the like.
The integration of MERLOT GRAPE Camp peer review training into this Master Degree Program has provided an additional platform for further research to be conducted relative to the assessment of all seven of the programmatic learning outcomes of the program. For example, metacognition may be assessed as it relates to MERLOT’S peer-reviewers serving as content expert in assessing materials that pertain to one’s field. Communication may be assessed through interaction with peers and peer-reviews. Digital fluency is obviously what is required to contribute to MERLOT. Cultural Fluency may be demonstrated through peer reviewing submissions of MERLOT’s international community of partners. Global Fluency may be measured through the development and contribution of appropriate content for use in a global community of learners. Servant Leadership is the motto of MERLOT, “Give a Gift not a Burden!” (Gerry Hanley, 2010). Finally, the development of students into lifelong learners will help to establish the identity of the program. Student performance outside of the program is one of the best measures of student-learning and the MERLOT Content Builder along with MERLOT peer-reviews is a tremendous platform for measuring student-learning outcomes.
Life long learning may be assessed by current and former students’ contributions of materials to MERLOT and by those providing peer reviews of materials contributed to MERLOT. As a benefit of being a MERLOT partner, the dashboard report provides information on contributions made by members of the partner organization. Contributions and/or peer reviews completed by students who have graduated from the program will be recorded in the dashboard report. This is a tremendous tool to measure the commitment to life long learning. Ultimately, this study has demonstrated that the MERLOT platform combined with emerging technology are integral in assessing student-learning outcomes in an online master’s program at a regional University in Texas. Other online degree programs should seriously consider the MERLOT Content Builder’s potential to help them assess student-learning outcomes.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

The Online Master of Science in Global eLearning equips specialists in education for practice in public education, private education, business, industry, and non-profit organizations. Learning and technology are intertwined as we develop the next generation of enhanced training, development, and teaching to engage learners with key components of instructional technology. Technology provides access to all forms of education and this program will teach educators how to implement technology across curricula and classrooms of all kinds. With a blend of theory and technical skills, this program will prepare teachers and corporate trainers alike.

Metacognition – Students will demonstrate the knowledge and skills for designing, developing, and evaluating personal strategies for learning and leading.
5 journal entries will be selected at random from a course offered in Fall 2012. These will be evaluated by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty using the Global eLearning Metacognition rubric. Scores will be deemed acceptable at an average of 4.0 or higher on a 5 point scale in each of the areas of context & meaning, personal response, personal reflection, and interpretive skills.

The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on March 6, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

Context & Meaning 4.27
Personal Response 4.13
Personal Reflection 4.40
Interpretive Skills 4.47

All standards were met.
Though all standards were met, the faculty noted that the personal response section scored the lowest at 4.13. Accordingly the course, EDUC 595 Research Methodology, was expanded to include more opportunities for students to provide self and peer-evaluation feedback on projects and assignments. Two assessments were recommended for AY 2013-2014. We will assess one course in the Fall and one course in the Spring.

Communication – Students will communicate ideas and content to actively engage participants.
5 student digital presentations will be selected at random from a course offered in Fall 2012. These will be evaluated using the Global eLearning Assessment of Digital Student Presentation Rubric by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty. Scores will be deemed acceptable with an average of 42 on a 50 point scale in each of the five areas of purpose, organization, content, language, and voice & tone. The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on March 6, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

Purpose 45.33
Organization 46.67
Content 46.00
Language 44.00
Voice & Tone 44.67
Technology 45.33

All standards were met. Though, all standards were met Faculty noted that Language scored the lowest. The faculty decided to conduct two assessments for the next cycle. One will be done in the fall and one in the spring.

The faculty modified an assignment in EDUC 515 Intercultural Education to provide students an opportunity to develop their language skills on a project to provided heightened sensitivity to language that might be offensive in other cultures.

Two assessments were recommended for AY 2013-2014.

Digital Fluency - Students will evidence digital fluency in the adoption and integration of appropriate technologies into digital presentations.
5 student digital presentations will be selected at random from a course offered in Fall 2012. These will be evaluated using the Global eLearning Assessment of Digital Student Presentation Rubric by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty. Scores will be deemed acceptable with an average of 45 on a 50 point scale in the area of technology.

The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on March 6, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

Technology 45.33

The standard was met.
The faculty noted that the students tended to use more familiar software and avoid the utilization of emerging software. Accordingly, EDUC 510 Utilizing Effective Instructional Technology was modified to include requirements for the utilization of at least one Web 2.0 software program to complete an assignment.

The faculty will conduct two evaluations in AY 2013-2014.

Cultural Fluency – Students will evidence understanding of generational and cultural learning styles.

5 student digital presentations will be selected at random from a course offered in Fall 2012. These will be evaluated using the Global eLearning Cultural Fluency Rubric by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty. Scores will be deemed acceptable with an average of 3.0 on a 4 point scale in the areas of knowledge & comprehension, analysis & synthesis, and evaluation.

The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on March 6, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

Knowledge & Comprehension 3.53
Analysis & Synthesis 3.07
Evaluation 3.67

The standard was met. The faculty noted that analysis and synthesis scored lowest. Accordingly the curriculum for EDUC 552 Global Fluency was expanded to include group projects on the education system of other cultures.

The faculty will also conduct two evaluations in AY 2013-2014.

Global Fluency – Students will develop instructional materials appropriate for a global perspective.

5 group project entries will be selected at random from a course offered in Summer 2012. These will be evaluated by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty using the Global eLearning Global Fluency Rubric. Scores will be deemed acceptable at an average of 2.8 or higher on a 4 point scale in each of the areas of knowledge & comprehension, application, and evaluation.

The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on July 22, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

Knowledge & Comprehension 2.87
Application 3.00
Evaluation 2.87

The standards were met.

Faculty found student performance in this area to be adequate. Some challenges were noted in the use of stereotypes in identifying people from other cultures. For example, a student made a comment on. EDUC 515 Intercultural Education will be expanded to include a project in which students will interview someone from a different culture to discover differing worldviews of other cultures and share these findings in a forum with classmates.

Servant Leadership – Students will practice the principles of servant leadership as espoused by Robert Greenleaf.

5 student group project self-assessment packets will be selected at random from a course offered in Fall 2012. These will be evaluated using the Global eLearning Servant Leadership Rubric by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty. Scores will be deemed acceptable with an average of 40 on a 50 point scale in each of the five areas of purpose, organization, content, language, and voice & tone.

The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on July 22, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

Servant Leadership 41.33
Strategic Insight & Agility 39.33
Building Effective Teams & Communities 44.00
Ethical Formation & Decision Making 43.33

The standard was NOT met for Strategic Insight & Agility.

Faculty noted problems in the effective feedback of peer-evaluation assignment. Accordingly, the group peer assessment process has been expanded to include MERLOT GRAPE Camp to provide training on conducting peer-evaluations. All students will be required to complete MERLOT GRAPE Camp training. These changes will be enacted in all new course sections.

Commitment to Life-Long Learning – Students will evidence a commitment to lifelong learning in the production and evaluation of learning materials. 5 portfolio entries will be selected at random from a course in Fall 2012. These will be evaluated by the fulltime bachelor’s and master’s faculty using the Global eLearning Commitment to Life-long Learning rubric. Scores will be deemed acceptable at an average of 3.0 or higher on a 4 point scale in each of the areas of production of educational materials, publications, presentations, including personal response, personal evaluation, and interpretive skills.
The assessment was conducted by two fulltime and one external faculty on July 22, 2013. The external was added to strengthen the review. Results were as follows:

MERLOT Web Pages 3.4
Presentations 3.8
Peer Evaluations 3.60

The standard was met. Though, all standards were met Faculty noted that MERLOT Web pages scored the lowest. The faculty decided to conduct two assessments for the next cycle. One will be done in the fall and one in the spring.

The faculty modified an assignment in EDUC 528 Intro. to Presentation Design to make the MERLOT Web page a requirement rather than an option

Two assessments were recommended for AY 2013-2014.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

1) Leveraging MERLOT Content Builder with emerging technology to assess programmatic student learning outcomes is scalable because it encourages more online instructors and instructional designers to consider integrating this model to measure the effectiveness of assignments in meeting the goals for Institutional effectiveness planning.

2) Increases access by providing open access using MERLOT’S Content Builder combined with emerging technology to showcase learning outcomes for students and faculty to assess regardless of location as long as they have an internet connection.

3) Improves faculty satisfaction by providing faculty with open access to evaluate student assignments to assess programmatic student learning outcomes for Institutional effectiveness planning.
Since this model was used to complete a recent Institutional Effectiveness Plan for an online master’s degree program in preparation for a regional accreditation visit other instructors can easily replicate this model to evaluate their programs.

4) Improves learning effectiveness by providing instructors with effective online strategies that are supported by empirical data from assessments of random samples of student assignments .

5) Promotes student satisfaction by providing valuable opportunities for interaction with their instructor and other students. Students work together on group projects for both synchronous and asynchronous presentations. Students are also assigned group and individual projects to evaluate the work of their peers and provide feedback. Rubrics are embedded in the grade book of the LMS to evaluate student assignments. Also, an evaluation tool of the programmatic student-learning outcome that is tied to the assignment is also included in the grade book to assess the level of student understanding. Students regularly comment about how valuable these practices are to their learning experience.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

The only aspect completely necessary is an internet connection and an LMS. In our program, the students also used Camtasia, Quicktime and Captivate for creating videos to complete some of their individual projects. Group projects were completed using Google+ Hangouts, Skype, Voice Thread and Adobe Connect. Students also created MERLOT web pages, MDL 2 Courses and digital portfolios.

Some of the tools we used have costs associated with them. Here is a list of some them:

• Synchronous tools: Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts, Google chats, Skype
• Asynchronous tools: Voicethread, MERLOT Content Builder, Prezi, MERLOT GRAPE Camp, Peer Review Workshop and Discussion Forums in LMS
• Reflective tools: Journals, self-assessments, and digital portfolios

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The only additional cost would be optional and would involve the use of some emerging technologies that are not open source. All other resources used in this project were open source and we did not incur additional costs using them. There was essentially no budget for this project.

References, supporting documents: 

Astin, A. (1993). Assessment for Excellence. Wesport, CT: Oryx Press.

Barnett-Queen, T., Blair, R., & Merrick, M. (2005). Student perspectives of online discussions: Strengths and weaknesses. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 23(3/4), 229-244.

Brandon, P., Young, D., Shavelson, R., Jones, R. Ayala, C., Ruiz-Primo, M., & Yin, Y. (2008). Lessons learned from the process of curriculum developers’ and assessment developers’ collaboration on the development of embedded formative assessments. Applied Measurement in Education, 21, 390-402.

Gardner, P. (2007). The ‘life-long draught’: From learning to teaching and back. History of Education, 36(4-5), 465-482.

Greenleaf, R. A. (2008). The Servant as Leader. Westfield, IN: The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

Price, B., & Randall, C. (2008). Assessing learning outcomes in quantitative courses: Using embedded questions for direct assessment. Journal of Education for Business, 83(5), 288-294.

Secolsky, C., & Wentland, E. (2010). Differential effect of topic: Implications for portfolio assessment. Assessment Update, 22(1), Wilmington, DE: Wiley Periodicals.

Walvoord, B. (2003). Assessment in accelerated programs: A practical guide. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 97, 39-50.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Rick Lumadue
Email this contact: 
proflumadue@gmail.com
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Rusty Waller
Email contact 2: 
rusty.waller@tamuc.edu
Author Information
Author(s): 
Michelle Aebersold PhD, RN
Author(s): 
Dana Tschannen PhD, RN
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University of Michigan School of Nursing
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Using on-line technologies can enhance the student experience and improve learner outcomes if utilized within a framework that supports learning from a theoretical or evidence based practice. The use of virtual environments in which the learners are represented by a 3D avatar have unique advantages over other forms of on-line learning in certain situations. This effective learning practice highlights the use of Second Life ™, a multi-user virtual environment in various courses at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. It exemplifies the versatility and effectiveness of Second Life on learner outcomes and satisfaction.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Using a grant funded by the Center for Research on Learning and Technology an eight-bed virtual hospital unit was built in the hospital building on the University of Michigan owned Island in Second Life. The unit was designed to mimic the practice area for nursing staff and therefore would be useful in working with nursing students and nurses. The Island called Wolverine Island has several buildings that can be used and mimics several areas on campus such as the health sciences library and a central auditorium. The following are three examples of how the virtual hospital has been used for nursing students and nurses.
In the first example the Second Life virtual hospital was used as the setting to engage senior level nursing students using avatars in several virtual simulations focusing on non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, delegation and conflict management. These are essentials skills for nurses to delivery safe and effective care to patients.
The Second Life virtual hospital was also used to interact with a designated small group of senior level nursing students in place of weekly face to face meetings. The face to face meetings were part of the regular course work in which students meet weekly to discuss their leadership clinical rotation. The Second Life group would meet in-world to conduct their discussions and then had the added advantage of participating in impromptu simulation to practice leadership skills they found challenging or wanted more practice on.
Finally the Second Life virtual hospital was used to conduct virtual simulations for practicing nurses and assistive personnel at a Midwestern medical center to improve the teamwork skills of those learners and evaluate the satisfaction of learners with this type of simulation.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

In the first example with nursing students focusing on developing non-technical skills, effectiveness was measured by a comparative research design in which half of the nursing students experienced the simulation and the other have received the usual coursework. The students who received the virtual simulations scored significantly higher (p<.02) in a mannequin based simulation designed to measure their overall skills in managing a very ill patient.
In the second example with nursing students using Second Life (SL) in place of face to face meetings, the learning experience was measured by using a modified version of the Community of Inquiry framework (Arbaugh et al., 2008). %). Fourteen senior level nursing students participated in the on-line meetings. Students reported being comfortable disagreeing with other participants (90%) in SL discussion and felt their point of view was acknowledged during SL discussions (90%). Overall, student believed the SL experience reinforced course objectives (80%), with 78% reporting SL to be an effective learning experience.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This practice addresses the pillar of effectiveness as seen by the measurement of the learning outcomes. Simulation has been shown in many studies to be an effective method of learning and in this practice the use of virtual simulations, a less used practice, was evaluated.
This practice also addresses the pillar of student satisfaction. Nursing students were satisfied with their experience using Second Life and commented on how they were willing to take more risks and try out new skills when they were an Avatar because it provided anonymity for them.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

This practice does require access to a multi-user virtual environment such as Second Life.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The cost associated with this practice would included purchasing access to virtual environment or development of space in Second Life.

References, supporting documents: 

Tschannen, D., Aebersold, M., Sauter, C. & Funnell, M.M. (in press). Improving nurses’ perceptions of competency in diabetes self-management education through the use of simulation and problem-based learning. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing.

Tschannen, D., Aebersold, M., McLaughlin, E., Bowen, J., & Fairchild, J. (2012) Use of virtual simulations for improving knowledge transfer among baccalaureate nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 2(3), 15-24. doi: 10.5430/jnep.v2n3p15.
Aebersold, M., Tschannen, D., & Bathish, M. (2012) Innovative simulation strategies in education, Nursing Research and Practice. Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 765212, 7 pages
doi:10.1155/2012/765212.
Aebersold, M., Tschannen, D., Stephens, M., Anderson, P., Lei, X. (2011) Second life: a new strategy in educating nursing students. Clinical Simulation in Nursing. Advance online publication 3 September 2011 doi: 10.1016/j.ecns.2011.05.002
Arbaugh et al., (2008). Developing a community of inquiry instrument: Testing a measure of the Community
of Inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample. Internet and Higher Education, 11, 133-136

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
MIchelle Aebersold
Email this contact: 
mabersol@umich.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Dana Tschannen
Email contact 2: 
djvs@umich.edu
Author Information
Author(s): 
Margaret Reneau, PhD, RN
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Saint Xavier University, School of Nursing
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

Hiring quality online adjunct faculty is essential for student learning success. Online faculty members influence student satisfaction and ultimately student retention. The virtual nature of hiring online faculty makes finding quality online adjunct faculty challenging. One way to assess online teaching behaviors, prior to hiring, is conducting a mock online class as part of the interview process. By observing online teaching practices of potential online faculty candidates, the university has a behavioral gauge from which to make sound hiring decisions. Quality online adjunct faculty influence one of the pillars of quality online education, student satisfaction.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Saint Xavier University (regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association), School of Nursing offers an online Masters in Nursing Science (MSN) degree program with two tracks, clinical nurse leader and nursing administration. The MSN program is professionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is one of only nine nursing programs to hold the honor of Center of Excellence designation from the National League for Nursing.

The size of the university limits resources; subsequently, the university seeks to hire quality adjunct online faculty, which require little to no training with the LMS or effective practices on online teaching. Human resource experts (Hammons & Gansz, 2004; Training and Development, 2008) find past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. The dilemma is how to assess potential online adjunct teaching behaviors prior to hiring. Faculty members who use effective practices of online teaching consistently, and understand the learning management system with minimal support, are ideal. Short of being able to access a candidate's prior online courses for virtual observation, past behavior assessment might be limited to the candidate’s phone interview and how the candidate presents over the phone or through Skype prior to hiring.

One way to assess online teaching behaviors is conducting a mock online class as part of the interview process. Class participation is part two of the interview process, the first part being a phone or Skype interview. During the mock online class, faculty participate in a week long online class with a facilitator. The mock online class runs for one week, Monday- Sunday and includes:

• four modules of discussion
• a mock student paper to grade
• identification of course teaching preferences via referral to a website with the course catalog for review
• creation of a biography (content demonstrating expertise in a class they prefer to teach)
• development of a welcome announcement (for a class they prefer to teach)
• a final exam to assess knowledge of online teaching effective practices and university policies contained in required course reading material throughout the four modules.

The mock class, or part two of the interview process, requires rubrics for all faculty assignments to set clear expectations for faculty candidates participating. A grading rubric for the mock student paper to grade is also included. Candidates must earn at least 90% to be considered for a teaching assignment. Even with meeting the 90% threshold, faculty candidates only become eligible for teaching. Hiring faculty candidates takes place if the candidates’ skills fit well with university needs.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

The virtual nature of hiring online adjunct faculty makes finding quality faculty challenging. Filling adjunct online faculty positions occurs, literally, "sight unseen". For many, if not most institutions, hired faculty begin an orientation phase after hire, with considerable use of time and money for the hiring process. More resources are spent if a lengthy orientation occurs. Even after a two to eight week training/orientation, no guarantee exits for the hired online adjunct’s student interactions. The effective practice of behavioral interviewing to hire quality online adjunct faculty saves on these precious resources and increases the likelihood of positive online faculty-student interactions.

A screening process of over 100 resumes, resulting in 25 telephone interviews, yielded 12 online adjunct faculty candidates. Candidates enrolled in part two of the interview process, the mock online course. Two candidates withdrew within the first two days of the course start. Both candidates indicated their schedules could not support the amount of time it would take to teach online after experiencing the mock class for a couple of days. Two more faculty candidates did not reach the threshold of 90%. Of the eight remaining faculty, the top three performing candidates were selected to fill the available online adjunct faculty positions.

The three hired faculty candidates consistently demonstrated online teaching effective practices throughout the mock course. The five other faculty candidates in the course inconsistently demonstrated online teaching best practices, yet still managed total course scores ranging from 90-96%. The same five candidates were sent notices that the positions were filled with candidates best meeting the needs of the university and that unfortunately, the faculty were not selected. The top three scoring faculty received notices of successful interview completion and an offer for employment.

After one month, the three selected faculty continue to demonstrate online teaching effective practices in their virtual classrooms. The faculty function independently within the LMS and faculty support consists of weekly positive reinforcement of the faculty activities in the online classrooms. Plans are to analyze student satisfaction of faculty effectiveness at the end of the semester. Anecdotally, the process of behavioral interviewing, using a mock online class, produces quality online adjunct faculty hires that require minimal oversight, but instead require continual positive reinforcement and prompt response to resource requests from the university to maintain faculty satisfaction.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Online faculty members influence student satisfaction (a pillar of quality online education) and ultimately student retention (Drouin, 2008; Thompson, 2011; Hoskins, 2012). The implications of poor quality online adjunct faculty members are numerous. Faculty interactions with online students are among the top three factors influencing online student satisfaction (Herbet, 2006).Poor student evaluations commonly result from poor performing faculty. Students dissatisfied with faculty, may question their decision to continue in an online program.

Online adjunct faculty consistently utilizing effective practices contribute to the pillars of quality in online education. Effective practices of hiring quality online adjunct faculty include the ability to assess online teaching behaviors prior to direct student interactions. Past behavior predicts future behavior. Subsequently, hiring quality online adjunct faculty includes a way to observe online teaching practices using a mock online class as part of the interview process.

The practice of using a mock online course as part of the interview process also contributes to online operational scale and is flexible. Interview courses can be ongoing or periodic based on the number of positions to fill. Enrollment in the mock course can be as few as three or as many as 20. Large programs use multiple facilitators to conduct several mock online courses concurrently if needed. Small programs use annual or biannual mock online courses to assist with the interview process. The frequency of mock online classes as part two of the interview process is driven by institutional need and the availability of facilitators.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

No additional equipment is necessary to implement the behavioral interviewing effective practice for hiring quality online adjunct faculty. Existing course development resources and the current learning management system are utilized. Approximately 10-15 hours of facilitation time is required for the one week mock online course. Like any online course, the time required to facilitate is enrollment dependent.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The costs are instructional design time of approximately 4 hours to develop the mock online course. Facilitator time of 10- 15 hours for the week, including grading would also be part of the costs. Facilitator time is dependent upon online adjunct faculty candidates enrolled in the mock course.

References, supporting documents: 

Anticipated growth in behavioral interviewing. (2008). Training and Development, 62, 4.

Drouin, M. A. (2008). The relationship between students' perceived sense of community and satisfaction, achievement, and retention in an online course. Quarterly Review of Distance Education. 9, 267-284.

Hammons, J. O., & Gansz, J. L. (2004). Selecting faculty with behavioral-based interviewing. Community College Journal. 75, 38-43.

Herbet, M. (2006). Staying the course: A study in online student satisfaction and retention Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 9(4). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter94/herbert94.htm

Hoskins, B. J. (2012). Connections, engagement, and presence. Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 60, 51-53.

Thompson, J. T. (2011). Best Practices In Asynchronous Online Course Discussions. Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC), 3(7).

Other Comments: 

The effective practice for behavioral interviewing to hire quality online adjunct faculty was also used at a large national academic institution for at least a year; however, no purposeful follow up of faculty occurred. Anecdotally, those candidates from the large national academic institution who earned 85-90% in the mock online class as part 2 of an interview, scored lower on instructor effectiveness in student evaluations compared to candidates who scored greater than 90% in the mock online class.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Margaret Reneau
Email this contact: 
Reneau@sxu.edu
Collection: 
Student-Generated Content
Author Information
Author(s): 
Lauren B. Lunsford, PhD
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Belmont University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

As a means to facilitate deeper levels of conversation on the class discussion board, students were offered extra points to include thought provoking questions related to the thread topic. As a result conversations on that thread were much deeper as well as resulted in more posts between students. Further, students resulted much higher levels of satisfaction regarding discussion board participation. Whereas the initial discussion board responses were often replications of initial thoughts or posts, basic agreements or disagreements, the posts that students made after being prompted to include questions in their posts were much more controversial and resulted in a much higher level of engagement. Assignment responses under the control condition (no questions) were all merely what was required of the assignment - 1 initial post and 2 responses. Assignment responses after integrating student questions resulted in at least 3 responses by all participating students. Further, all students anecdotally and unprompted reported that including questions in discussion posts resulted in much more genuine and authentic conversations on the discussion boards.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

As part of discussion board practice, the instructor provides extra points (or an element of the discussion board rubric). By prompting the students to generate questions as part of their discussion board conversations this contributes to helping the student question the topic at hand, contribute to course's the Community of Practice, and provides opportunities of classroom leadership for the students to provide the source of conversation and discussion.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

s a result conversations on that thread were much deeper as well as resulted in more posts between students. Further, students resulted much higher levels of satisfaction regarding discussion board participation. Whereas the initial discussion board responses were often replications of initial thoughts or posts, basic agreements or disagreements, the posts that students made after being prompted to include questions in their posts were much more controversial and resulted in a much higher level of engagement. Assignment responses under the control condition (no questions) were all merely what was required of the assignment - 1 initial post and 2 responses. Assignment responses after integrating student questions resulted in at least 3 responses by all participating students. Further, all students anecdotally and unprompted reported that including questions in discussion posts resulted in much more genuine and authentic conversations on the discussion boards.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This is especially related to Student Satisfaction and Learning Effectiveness as this practice was highly praised by students and resulted in higher levels of engagement within the discussion boards. This practice also relates to Faculty Satisfaction as the ongoing implementation of this practice contributes to discussion board conversations that require faculty to spend less time moderating and prompting discussion.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

None - the additional element of adding questioning to your Discussion Board Rubric is all that is needed.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

None.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Lauren Lunsford
Email this contact: 
lauren.lunsford@belmont.edu
Award Winner: 
2013 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Collection: 
Student-Generated Content
Author Information
Author(s): 
Allison P. Selby
Author(s): 
Julie Frieswyk
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Kaplan University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

A virtual internship program forged international connections between a Peace Corps volunteer, a faculty member and students at Kaplan University, School of Information Technology. Virtual internships and international partnerships provide high-impact experiential learning opportunities for students while providing means for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to build capacity and cultural bridges. This type of program allows non-traditional adult students in particular to maintain their family responsibilities and to continue their full time jobs while working on projects overseas in an online capacity. This program has led to increased student confidence in their skillsets as they continued to develop their assigned projects for the NGO. They also gained exposure to cultural diversity and international collaboration atypical of your average IT class.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Project iNext exemplified an institutional partnership between Kaplan University, Information Technology School and a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), Julie Frieswyk. Julie reached out to Kaplan University on behalf of her partner non-governmental organization (NGO), Pro-Business Nord (PBN), located in the Republic of Moldova. PBN is directly funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). One of the key goals of PBN was to develop a new social enterprise model for a sustainable Women Career Development Program in the northern part of Moldova.

The virtual internship program of Kaplan University was implemented to connect Information Technology students with the NGO. The partnership goals were to gain expert advisory in updating the older versions of their NGO website, testing server security and help to develop a new website for PBN’s new social enterprise, ProBizNord, a regional Business Resource Center.

The partnership with Pro-Business Nord (PBN) in Moldova was led by Allison Selby, Kaplan Information Technology Faculty and Julie Frieswyk, Peace Corps Volunteer. Frieswyk ensured the internship project goals were in alignment with the priorities of PBN and Peace Corp goals. Selby ensured the weekly outcomes were being met by the students and the students were receiving the necessary assets to complete their assigned tasks. This partnership was also important for the very practical concern of language translation. While the PBN team did speak English well, Frieswyk was also able to translate Russian to English as necessary.
The project provided excellent opportunities for students to apply their knowledge, skills and abilities in an authentic context. They were exposed to negotiating schedules, timeframes, project outcomes and clearly communicating the assets needed to progress to subsequent stages of the project. Students were able to participate in conversations that quickly became a mix of Russian and English, spanning multiple time zones, and developing materials for people they discovered they had much in common with. The exposure to cultural diversity, businesses and lifestyles was greatly appreciated by the students.

At the end of the ten week experience, two students exceeded expectations and one student did not perform per expectations. Two fully functional websites were developed and met the requirements of PBN. The students were able to apply new skills for the site development and learned the process of client interaction, requests for revisions and practiced final presentation skills. The third project involved conducting security forensics, which were never fully completed. Many factors could be attributed to this outcome. Conducting security forensics as a team may be more effective, having a mentor with strong expertise and practice in forensics would be an asset and providing projections of some of the possible testing outcomes would have provided a stronger set of parameters for experimentation. The fact that one of these projects was not wholly successful was actually just as valuable to us as we continued to evaluate the program.

The overall outcome included engaged students with opportunities to gain authentic work experience and international exposure. PBN received considerable student-conducted training with the platform Wordpress, marketing skills including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and practice in project planning and implementation. The Moldovan NGO gained exposure to more skills and up-to-date technology, building their own capacity, while continuing building cultural bridges through their experience with the Peace Corps. They also became co-educators of the students (Holland, 1997), while the students learned how to professionally interact, accept constructive criticism, and design for the clients’ aesthetic taste rather than their own.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

This international partnership resulted in a small sampling of student participation and as such, my evidence is largely anecdotal and based upon student and NGO team feedback. The students remarked this was a unique international opportunity to learn the process of web development for clients, working together with international clients reviewing risks and suggestions, and to experience real-world project management. The NGO loved to be a part of something innovative and to learn more about our school system. The skills transfer and global understanding were repeated themes that appeared in the feedback and discussions.

As a high-impact experiential activity, the student and NGO partnership provides a type of global community based opportunity for the students’ worldview and perception to transform (Cress, 2004). The NGO benefits from the partnership by gaining access to resources and networks (Ferman & Hill, 2004) while collaborating with the students to build social change. The ‘mutually beneficial agenda’ (Holland, 1997), collaborative effort and shared gains of knowledge and practice becomes a transformative relationship (Bushouse, 2005), which in turn provides a sense of purpose to motivate student engagement and learning (Colby & Sulivan, 2009).

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

It relates to pillars due to the learning gains made by the students as evidenced by implementing and customizing the Wordpress platform, participating in professional dialogues with the partners, demonstrating project management skills to stay on task, and interacting with a culturally diverse team. The student survey feedback stated this experience was not something they could experience in a typical classroom and they gained confidence and increased abilities throughout the process. They completed the program knowing they did possess professional skills in an authentic context.

Virtual internship partnerships could involve studies on social entrepreneurship, micro-finance, marketing, business administration and design. The virtual internships creates problem-solving activities with the potential to result in real-world skills such as collaboration for problem-solving, technology proficiency, presentation skills, and a greater appreciation for intercultural diversity (Humphreys, 2009). This opportunity provides students with an international experience who may otherwise be limited by finances, work responsibilities, family obligations or physical limitations. In addition, there is a considerable cost-savings when compared to studying abroad for the same amount of time. A virtual internship program incurs regular tuition fees, no additional costs are required by the student.
Students enjoyed the experience overall and loved the new addition to their resume and credentials. We learned a lot about how to support the students more efficiently. This type of project benefits tremendously by considerable advanced preparatory stages. Using project charters to outline weekly outcomes and deliverables is very important. Defining the exact scope of the deliverables, what assets may be needed and the key stakeholders were all important topics to clarify. Synchronous weekly team meetings using Skype with the clients gave the students a vested interest and motivation to succeed. And having the students train the clients for site maintenance gave them ownership of the process and pride in their proof of success. It was exciting, engaging, and could definitely be accomplished by other institutions with great success.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

The only aspect completely necessary is an internet connection and email. In our program, the students also used Captivate for creating videos to present the finished products and instructional materials for the clients. Jing would be a reasonable free alternative for short presentations under five minutes. The students also used Wordpress and installed the framework on the client server. The students used free themes for both Wordpress sites.

All other tools enhance the experience and few have costs associated with them. We recommend the following:

• Synchronous tools: Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts, Google chats, Skype
• Asynchronous tools: email, discussion board in LMS
• Reflective tools: Blog, journals, status reports

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The only additional cost would be optional and would involve the use of Adobe Connect. All other resources were open source and we did not incur additional costs using them. The client already had server space and the students used free Wordpress themes. There was essentially no budget for the site so our costs were very minimal for this project.

References, supporting documents: 

Bushouse, B. K. (2005). Community Nonprofit Organizations and Service-Learning: Resource Constraints to Building Partnerships with Universities. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 32-40.
Colby, A., & Sulivan, W. M. (2009). Strengthening the foundations of students’ excellence, integrity, and social contribution. Liberal Education, 22-29.
Cress, C. M. (2004). Critical thinking development in service-learning activities: Pedagogical implications for critical being and action. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines, 87-93.
Cuban, S., & Anderson, J. B. (2007). Where’s the Justice in Service-Learning? InstitutionalizingService-Learning from a Social Justice Perspectiveat a Jesuit University. Equity & Excellence in Education, 144-155.
Ferman, B., & Hill, T. L. (2004). The challenges of agenda conflict in higher-education-community research partnerships: Views from the community side. Journal of Urban Affairs, 241-257.
Holland, B. (1997). Analyzing institutional commitment to service: A model of key organizational factors. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 30-41.
Humphreys, D. (2009). College outcomes for work, life,and citizenship: Can we really do it all? Liberal Education, 14-21.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Allison Selby
Email this contact: 
aselby@kaplan.edu
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Julie Frieswyk
Email contact 2: 
juliefrieswyk@gmail.com
Award Winner: 
2013 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Collection: 
Student-Generated Content
Author Information
Author(s): 
Michael Wilder
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

For the last four years, undergraduate seniors in UNLV's journalism department have been participating in an innovative approach to learning digital convergence. These students have been engaged in transitioning from traditional methods of gathering, delivering, and marketing news from print media to digital media by actively manipulating online technologies. At the core of this technique is an effective combination of second-generation blogging environments.

Although blogging is not new to education, current improvements to blogging systems have enabled this technology to be applied in innovative and creative ways. Instead of simply being mechanisms for individual reflection or announcement, newer features allow open-source blogging systems to become full-fledged virtual communities that enable sophisticated social interaction, collaboration, and peer evaluation.

Participants in this educational approach have expressed high satisfaction through course surveys and testimonials.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

A combination of the open-source blogging software, WordPress, with the free BuddyPress plugin, creates an environment in which students can create academic publications with a full-range of contemporary word-processing features (including the addition of images, video, and podcasts), share resources, work collaboratively, and comment and evaluate each other's work. At the same time, this system allows students to have direct control of their learning environment (through customized themes), to participate in Facebook-like social interactions ("friending," "liking," commenting, user profiles), to integrate social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr), and to collaborate (via document sharing, group support, and wikis). In addition this educational practice allows mobile access (via smartphones and tablets) as well as badges and gamification.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

* Student evaluations:
Student evaluations of the course indicate a high degree of satisfaction with the course and the learning environment. In a recent end-of-term student evaluation, ninety-two percent of all students strongly indicated satisfaction (n=12). Eighty-three percent of the students felt that the course increased their interest in the subject area at an above-average level (or higher). One-hundred percent of the students felt that the course increased their knowledge in the subject area at an above-average level (or higher).

* Student testimonials:
Students are asked to reflect on their experience participating in the course. Over the last four years of teaching using this technique, these reflections are overwhelmingly positive.

Some examples:

"Learning to blog is fun and a great way to express yourself. Knowing how to use a blog is helpful in many ways such as bringing out creativity and design. Before having a blog I wrote only when I had writing assignments in school, but now I can write about anything that comes to mind. Thanks to this Interactive Media Design class I’m able to create stories with videos and podcasts that I couldn’t do before.

"It’s great to learn new things and use them to reach out to my peers. It feels great accomplishing things that seemed out of reach before. I had an idea of how blogging worked before, but not like this. Having videos and images in a story adds more to the story and makes it approachable to others. YouTube was fun and new to me, but with a little practice I ended up surprising myself."

"The aspect I was most enthralled to take on was simply learning the basics of WordPress, a place I had no knowledge whatsoever. Overall stepping in this world that is so new to me has been a very positive experience, and I am eager to take on this new challenge."

"I now feel like I have a chance in this high tech world. Not only do I feel I may be able to keep up my own blog in a manner that might be described as competent, I no longer see tasks like getting video onto YouTube, or starting a podcast, as so daunting."

"I never would have called myself a technologically savvy person, but now I have a fully working blog with all the add-ons. If you had said the word "widget" four weeks to me I would have thought you were speaking a foreign language. Now I am fully schooled on the blogging language and all the details it entails."

"After taking part in this class I have learned that a relative novice, like myself, is able to do some really cool thing on a site like WordPress that not only looks clean and professional, but also can do some really creative things that will separate your blog from the other ones on the Internet."

* Student product
In addition to developing their own student portfolio, students produce at least nine full-length articles that are peer reviewed and evaluated. Once the semester is over all students migrate their work to off-campus, free blogging systems. Many of these students go on to use the skills they learn as part of this course to continue professional blogging and becoming employed in online journalism and communication.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

Access
Due to the stringent accessibility standards of WordPress, students with learning disabilities are able to access the online system. WordPress itself provides advice and resources that continue to enable this technology to be accessible. "Make WordPress Accessible" (http://make.wordpress.org/accessibility/) is the official blog for the WordPress accessibility group - dedicated to improving accessibility in core WordPress and related projects. Furthermore, course content is fully accessible to mobile devices.

Faculty satisfaction
By enabling students to interact with each other and provide peer evaluation, the reliance on faculty as the sole provider of support and feedback is decreased. Students develop instructional content that extends learning beyond what the instructor may have provided. As a result, faculty express appreciation and happiness.

Learning effectiveness
Prior to enacting the current blogging practice, prior course offerings had no mechanism for students to collaborate and affect their learning environment. Once implemented, learning outcomes using the multiuser blogging system far exceeded previous methods of teaching the course.

Scale
Due to the nature of this open-source technology, this practice is both inexpensive and scalable. Cost is minimal, and the technology scales to accommodate thousands of students. Dozens of institutions of higher learning (such as SUNY, Texas A&M, Penn State, and Yale) are currently using combinations of these technologies to serve educational blogging communities.

Student Satisfaction
Surveys of student satisfaction both during and after the course indicate a high degree of satisfaction with the practice. Furthermore, alumni repeatedly return to the course and participate through guest blogs, communicating that participation in the course has impacted their lives positively.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

A Web server (or host)
A connection to the Internet
WordPress blogging software
BuddyPress plugin software

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Assuming that an educational institution already has a Web server and connection to the Internet, then the set-up cost would be minimal. The software and associated plugins are open source (free). Configuration and maintenance may require time and technical expertise from a salaried technician.

Cost to an individual instructor is also relatively inexpensive. In addition to the free open-source software, an instructor may need Web-hosting service (~$100 a year or less), and domain-name service (~$10 a year).

References, supporting documents: 

Brescia, W., & Miller, M. (2006). What's it worth? The perceived benefits of instructional blogging. Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education, 5, 44-52.
Bruning, R., Schraw, G., Norby, M., & Ronning, R. (2004). Cognitive psychology and instruction. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Dickson, K., Wiggins, M. & Harapnuik, D. (2010). WordPress as a Mobile Learning Environment. In D. Gibson & B. Dodge (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2010 (pp. 2212-2213). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved August 30, 2013 from http://www.editlib.org/p/33691.
Downes, S. (2004). Educational blogging. EDUCAUSE Review, 39(5), 14-26.
Ellison, N., & Wu, Y. (2008). Blogging in the classroom: a preliminary exploration of students attitudes and impact on comprehension. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17(1), 99-122.

Farmer, B., Yue, A. & Brooks, C. (2008). Using blogging for higher order learning in large cohort university teaching: A case study. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(2), 123-136.

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate: Journal of Online Education, 1(5),
Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Clinton, K., Weigel, M. & Robison, A. J. (2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Kerawalla, L., Minocha, S., Kirkup, G., & Conole, G. (2008). An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging in higher education. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25, 31-42.
Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. In P. Cranton (Ed.), Transformative Learning in Action: Insights from Practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education (pp. 5-12). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Paulus, T., Payne, R., & Jahns, L. (2009). Am I making sense here? What blogging reveals about undergraduate student understanding. Journal for Interactive Online Learning, 8(1), 1-22.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Xie, Y., Ke, F., & Sharma, P. (2008). The effect of peer feedback for blogging on college students' reflective learning processes. Internet and Higher Education, 11, 18-25.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Michael Wilder
Email this contact: 
michael.wilder@unlv.edu
Author Information
Author(s): 
Dr. Janet Welch
Author(s): 
Anwen Burk
Author(s): 
Sherri Fricker
Author(s): 
Carol Tonhauser
Author(s): 
Kim Peacock
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University of Alberta, Faculty of Education
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

In 2012 the mandatory educational technology undergraduate course in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta underwent a significant redesign. Approximately 800 students go through this course in one year. This redesign was driven by a number of goals. First, the course content needed to meet the needs of 21st century teachers. Second, we wanted to increase flexibility for how our students interacted with and moved through the course. Third, we wanted to build a course in which we modelled effective technology use in education. In order to meet these goals we worked as a team with a variety of educational and professional backgrounds to build a course which has reduced face to face class time, deepened student interaction with the course content and uses a team approach in its delivery.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

EDU 210: Introduction to Educational Technology (formerly called EDIT 202) is a mandatory undergraduate course in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. A recent redesign of the course incorporates the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) NETS for Teachers and the Alberta Education’s Information and Communication Technology Program of Studies outcomes to prepare students to meet international and local standards for their technology use in their Introductory Professional Term (IPT), Advanced Professional Term (APT) and careers as educators.

The face to face section of EDU 210 has been redesigned as a blended course. The original course consisted of 3 hours/week each of face to face lecture and 3 hours/week of lab time.

The face to face lecture time has been reduced to 1.5 hours/week. The remaining 1.5 hours/week is spent on asynchronous activities such as discussion boards, interactive digital stories, pre-reading and peer assessment. The face to face lectures are called Interactive Lectures and students are required to bring their own device. We have moved away from traditional lectures and make use of polling software, social media and other web 2.0 tools for group activities, to test understanding and gather student feedback.

The extensive incorporation of technology into the lectures has enabled us to make large classes interactive, gather feedback from students in real time, check on student understanding and progress and model successful integration of technology into a synchronous classroom. The other 1.5 hours of face to face lecture time has been replaced primarily by resource exploration, dialogue through discussion forums and knowledge checks through interactive digital stories. This has lead to an increase in student to student interactions. It also means that students need to do some of their own research on the lecture topic and demonstrate that they have more than a superficial understanding of the topic. Online groups are formed that are replicated in the face to face environment. This allows students to build community online, but carry it through to the live environment.

The 3 hours/week of lab time has been replaced by FlexLabs. The FlexLabs are asynchronous activities which require the exploration, creation and reflection on a variety of tools and types of technology that may be used in the K-12 classroom. They are designed to take approximately 3 hours/week and are matched with the topics and content from the interactive lectures.

Support for the FlexLab activities is provided in an open lab space by members of the EdTEch Services team. Students can also receive help via live chat. This has replaced the need for scheduled lab time, has freed up lab space on campus and allowed the students who need the most help to receive one on one assistance.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Responses from a survey completed by the students in the course revealed the following.

Compared to typical face to face courses they had taken:

43% of respondents indicated increased engagement in this course
75% of respondents indicated that this course required more time and effort
62% of respondents indicated the course improved their understanding of key concepts
44% of respondents indicated an increase in their interaction with other students
43% of respondents indicated improved quality of interactions with other students
81% of respondents indicated that this course offered the convenience of not having to come to campus as often
62% of respondents indicated that the course allowed them to reduce their total travel time each week and related expenses

In addition

75% of respondents indicates that they would choose a blended course format over a fully online or fully face to face format
82% of respondents indicated that the course experience improved their opportunity to access and use the class content.
An article written for the Faculty of Education magazine (EDIT 202 students learn skills that will help them engage the 21st century learner) contains interviews with two students who took the course. Here are a couple of quotes from these students.
“Once I started seeing what the EDIT 202 course was about, once I realized the impact it was going to have on my future teaching career, I began to get excited. I remember sitting in the first class and being handed an iPad to use for an assignment and feeling this rush of excitement. I was sitting on the edge of my seat. Suddenly everything was interesting again. Good lessons do that to you.” - Shaun

“I know that learning how to use tools like this is a big step in the right direction in terms of connecting with students in my future classroom. I am filled with confidence and excitement when I think about integrating technology into my future lessons. I have EDIT 202 to thank for that.” - Samantha

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

This practice relates most strongly to the pillars of Student Satisfaction, Learning Effectiveness and Scale.

Student Satisfaction
The survey results and anecdotal evidence indicate that in many ways students preferred and were more engaged in the blended delivery of the course. This shows that the integration of online components has not just met the standards set by face to face learning, but has exceeded them. Student feedback has also indicated that the outcomes for the course are being met and students can see how they can use technology in their teaching.

Learning Effectiveness
Again, the survey results and anecdotal evidence suggests that the blended format for this course often exceeded the expectations students had for their face to face learning. We made extensive use of our Learning Management System (Moodle) to design a clear course path and provide a “one stop shop” for students.

Scale
One of the things we are especially excited about is that we have managed to reduce face to face class time while improving the quality of student engagement even in large classes. We have also been able to leverage the support of teaching assistants and other staff in the department to build capacity and support instructors.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

Learning Management System
Access to Web 2.0 tools

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

The most significant cost consideration is staff. Both the redesign of the course and the support team while the course is running needs to be considered. No additional equipment or software needed to be purchased with exception of Poll Everywhere (approximately $700/year).

References, supporting documents: 

Alberta, G. 2013. Alberta Education - Information and Communication Technology. [online] Available at: http://education.alberta.ca/teachers/program/ict.aspx [Accessed: 28 Aug 2013].

Brandon, D. 2013. EDIT 202 students learn skills that will help them engage the 21st century learner | Faculty of Education University of Alberta. [online] Available at: http://beditionmagazine.com/edit-202-students-learn-skills-that-will-hel... [Accessed: 29 Aug 2013].

Iste.org. 2013. Nets Standards. [online] Available at: http://www.iste.org/standards [Accessed: 28 Aug 2013].

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Dr. Janet Welch
Email this contact: 
jewelch@ualberta.ca
Effective Practice Contact 2: 
Sherri Fricker
Email contact 2: 
stfricke@ualberta.ca
Effective Practice Contact 3: 
Anwen Burk
Email contact 3: 
anwen@ualberta.ca