The purpose of this study is to validate an instrument to study role adjustment of students new to an online community of inquiry. The community of inquiry conceptual model for online learning was used to shape this research and identify the core elements and conditions associated with role adjustment to online learning (Garrison, Anderson and Archer, 2000). Through a factor analytic process it is shown that the instrument did reflect the theoretical model. It was also useful in refining the items for the questionnaire. The instrument is for use in future research designed to measure and understand student role adjustment in online learning.
Detailed daily records of instructor effort in an established asynchronous online course over a three and one-half year period are analyzed. Student satisfaction data acquired from course evaluation surveys over the same period are also examined. In response to a three-fold increase in enrollment over the period, instructors realized a twelve percent gain in efficiency. Contrary to expectations, a modest economy of scale was achieved with no discernible decrease in student satisfaction.
A new type of case study, called the real-time case (RTC), was produced in the fall of 2001 and distributed via the Internet to business classes at four universities in the US and Canada. The real-time case presented the story of one company's growth and development throughout a 14-week semester. A case writer stationed full-time at the subject company published case installments weekly on the Web, allowing students to view Volumethe company-building process as it happened. The 14-week coverage of RTC enabled students to study the subject company in unprecedented depth and detail. RTC's real-time interactivity allowed students to share their analyses and best thinking with the company leadership during the company’s decision-making process.
A major objective in producing the case was to heighten student engagement with the case material. To evaluate whether this objective was achieved, a survey and a focus group discussion were conducted with one of the participating MBA classes. Results from the survey and the focus group showed a high degree of engagement, plus many other benefits from the new type of case study.
Although there are many reasons why students dropout of college courses, those reasons may be unique for students who are enrolled in an online program. Issues of isolation, disconnectedness, and technological problems may be factors that influence a student to leave a course. To understand these factors, an online survey was developed to collect data from students who dropped out of an online program. Logistic regression analysis was used to compare various factors between those who persist in the program and those who dropout. The results, based on the dropouts from three cohorts in an online graduate program, show that demographic variables do not predict likelihood of dropping from a program. Instead, the students’ reasons for dropping out of an online program are varied and unique to each individual. Recommendations for further study are incorporated in the conclusions.
This study examines the relationship between student visibility and learning outcomes in a graduate-level online course. Visibility in this study refers to students’ cognitive, social, and emotive presence [1, 2] in various communication settings, such as posts on the discussion board, contributions in live chats, email messages, online profiles, and inputs via any other means of communication. A visibility score is determined for each student, and the Spearman r correlational tests are used to detect any significant correlation between visibility and learning outcomes (grades). In addition, two surveys were distributed to the students at the end of the course: (a) Survey on Self-Perception on Learning Experiences provides a context for understanding student performance; and (b) Survey on Useful Aspects of Socializing Online asks students to rank the importance of eight types of online activities, such as sharing information, solving problems, and making friends. Both surveys probe into students’ perceptions and social context, which often have great impact on students’ online presence.
The State University of New York (SUNY) Learning Network (SLN) is the on-line instructional program created for the 64 colleges and nearly 400,000 students of the SUNY. The foundation of the program is freedom from schedule and location constraints for our faculty and students. The primary goals are to bring SUNY's diverse and high-quality instructional programs within the reach of learners everywhere and to be the best provider of asynchronous instruction for learners in New York State and beyond.
We believe that these goals cannot be achieved unless learning effectiveness is given top priority. This paper will examine factors that have contributed to the high levels of learning and learner satisfaction that students have reported in the SLN. The analysis will be done on several levels. The first section will look at the SLN at a program-wide level and will provide information regarding the systemic implementation of our asynchronous learning environment.
The second section examines issues that contribute to learning effectiveness from a faculty-development and course-design perspective. This section will present the evolution of the four-stage faculty development process and a seven-step course design process that was developed by SLN and comment on lessons learned.
The third section presents results from the SLN Student Satisfaction Survey conducted in spring 1999. This section examines factors from a quantitative analysis that significantly contributes to perceived learning and student satisfaction in on-line asynchronous courses and offers recommendations for course and program design based on these factors.
The fourth section examines learning effectiveness at the level of individual institutions through examples from specific courses. This section will introduce the reader to local implementation of SLN courses at two colleges programs in the SUNY system, the Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology program at the University at Albany (UA) and the Internet Academy (IA) of Herkimer County Community College (HCCC). These case studies present and examine important evidence relevant to learning effectiveness from a single-institution and individual-faculty perspective.
With generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, combined with enthusiasm and resources from SUNY System Administration and participating campuses, the SLN has successfully met the challenges of the initial developmental phases that focused on proof of concept and expansion/scalability. The annual growth in courses, from eight in 1995-96 to 1000 in 1999-2000, and annual growth in enrollment, from 119 in 1995-1996 to over 10,000 in 1999-2000, illustrates that the project has far exceeded the original projections.
The SLN started as a regional project in the Mid-Hudson Valley involving eight SUNY campuses. At that time, the development and delivery of asynchronous courses was a new activity for SUNY campuses and faculty. The first courses were offered in the 1995-1996 academic year.
Successful experiences led to an expanded vision and goals for the SLN and the scope and objectives of the project have grown substantially. Where we originally developed courses at the third- and fourth-year level - offered by two of our institutions - we are now offering courses at all undergraduate levels as well as the graduate level and 42 of our institutions are involved. Our initial developmental phase focused on proof of concept within the SUNY system. This was followed by a phase that focused on proof of scalability that achieved significant growth in course offerings and student enrollments. SUNY's efforts continue to evolve the SLN from a project status to a fully integrated, virtual learning component responsive to the needs of learners in the new millennium. Ultimately, the SLN will represent the entire SUNY through the creation of one virtual campus that will be open seven days a week, 24 hours a day to students across the globe. The SLN primary mission is to bring SUNY's high quality instructional programs within reach of learners anywhere. Another objective has been to take an efficient approach in supporting the SUNY campuses. Rather than each campus reinventing the wheel, SLN has developed and implemented the appropriate operational services and support yielding both cost savings as well as the sharing of experience from one campus to another. SLN has traditionally assisted campuses to conduct individual course evaluations. Additionally, the SLN office conducted two program-level student surveys and one faculty survey during the 1998-99 academic year. The goal of the student surveys was to gauge the level of student satisfaction with SLN, perceived learning with SLN, and what factors contributed to those results. The results of this survey are presented in this paper.
This study has two primary objectives. First, we want to know how students who enroll in online classes differ from their peers in traditional lecture classes. Our second objective involves both exploring what factors influence performance among online students, as well as whether those factors differ for online and lecture students. Our comparisons are of two large sections of a course in computer programming for which almost the only difference was that one section consisted of on-campus lectures, and the other section was online. We find that online students do differ from lecture students in a number of important characteristics. However, when we examine class performance and course completion, we find that the factors which influence performance seem to have a stronger impact on lecture students, but we cannot reject the hypothesis that factor coefficients are the same for the two groups.
A self-selected sample of 109 online students at a midwestern regional university was surveyed and asked to compare expression of voice, control over learning, and perceived deep learning outcomes in face-to-face versus online course environments. We found that females experience greater perceived deep learning in online than in face-to-face courses, and that expression of voice appears to contribute to this outcome. This effect did not occur for male students. We also found that professor support and, to a lesser extent, control over one's learning each had positive relationships with perceived deep learning in both course environments. Concern for the feelings of other students did not have a negative impact on voice as was originally hypothesized.