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Student Success in Online Education

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on 17 July 2013

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Transcript of Student Success in Online Education

According to Al-Salman (2011) the UNESCO (2005) proposal recommends to online instructors four areas in which they can use the integration of communication technology in education to support and set up students for success in their courses. These four areas include content and pedagogy, collaboration and networking, social issues and technical issues.

Content and Pedagogy:

•Students will expect content that is relevant and taught through clear instruction and online discussions
•Instructors should practice the pedagogy of online teaching. Just like in the classroom instructors should be able to understand the needs of their students and motivating them to succeed. Instructors should focus on delivering and communicating their subject knowledge in an efficient manner.


Collobration and Networking:

•The use of technology contributes to the collaboration between other online instructors. Using online resources such as Teachertube and Edublogs, educators can create websites, host online discussions and share lesson plans with other colleagues (O’Brien, Aguinaga, Hines & Hartshorne, 2011, Page 4 and 7).

•Instructors should monitor discussions, contribute to student discussion and give timely feed back (Al- Salman, 2011, Page 7).



Student Success in Online Education:
A Case Study

The Current Situation
History of Online Education
Starting in the 1990’s, online education became a new platform for learning with it’s roots in distance learning. In the primary and secondary levels, online education was often done in congruence with traditional classroom education, one could not do school entirely online (Ronsisvalle & Watkins, 2005). In the earlier stages, there was concern for those students who lacked familiarity with the internet and would therefore be unable to navigate the web as well as some of their peers (Perry & Pilati, 2011). Before video-conferencing became a tool in the online classroom, students were less connected with their peers and instructors, however synchronous and asynchronous chatting was employed early on. The earliest institutions that implemented online education fell into four categories for why they made the shift to online education, according to Volery & Lord (2000):
1. Extend acceptance
2. Make room for more students, increase enrollment
3. Invest in a new form of business
4. Initiate change/growth
Institutions used to think that by integrating online education, they would not be left behind in the technology revolution. However integrating online education was not enough, in order for there to be success, instructional practices that had been utilized in the classroom needed to shift into newly developed practices for the online classroom (Volery & Lord, 2000).
The Solution

Advancements in technology have been prevalent in the world of education. Students now have the opportunity to take classes fully online. There are many advantages of students taking online courses as it contributes to their growth of familiarity with technology. However, there are disadvantages with choosing this option as well. Students and educators need to be aware of what can potentially go wrong with their online interactions and learning abilities. In order to ensure and predict student success in learning via the internet there are some steps and attributes that will contribute to a higher success rate that both students and instructors can look for and understand.



History of Student Success
Early online education had a great dependence on technology and self-motivated individuals (Volery & Lord, 2000). Online education in the early stages allowed for connection to course content, working with peers and instructors, evaluation of students working solo or in combination with others, and providing assistance to both the learner and instructor (Volery & Lord, 2000). Success in online education was based on three determinants:
1. electronic components - reliable, high-standards, platforms used, ease of use
2. teacher attributes - outlook on technology, pedagogical preferences, ability to use the technology
3. learner attributes - access, prior knowledge of technology, self-motivated, independent learners, preference to work alone over collaborating with others (Volery & Lord, 2000)
Miltiadou and Savenye (2003) as well as Ronsisvalle and Watkins (2005) reference three main categories for success in online education:
1. learner’s self-perception and external perceptions of the online education experience
2. leaner purpose or motivation
3. learner’s ability to self-motivate (Miltadou & Savenye, 2003)(Ronsisvalle & Watkins, 2005)
Tying all of these historical success factors and indicators together, how different is online education today than it was five, ten, fifteen years ago?
References
Al-Salman, S. M. (2011). Faculty in Online Learning Programs: Competencies and Barriers to Success. Journal Of Applied Learning Technology, 1(4), 6-13.

Guiterrez, K. (2012, 08). 5 Tips for Beating Boring eLearning. Retrieved 07 15, 2013, from SHIFT's eLearning Blog : http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/203137/5-Tips-for-Beating-Boring-eLearning

Hachey, A. C., Wladis, C. W., & Conway, K. M. (2012). Is the Second Time the Charm? Investigating Trends in Online Re-Enrollment, Retention and Success. Journal Of Educators Online, 9(1),

Miltiadou, M. & Savenye, W.C. (2003). Applying Social Cognitive Constructs of Motivation to Enhance StudentSuccess in Online Distance Education. AACE Journal, 11(1), 78-95. Norfolk, VA: AACE. Retrieved from http://0-www.editlib.org.darius.uleth.ca/p/17795.

O'Brien, C., Aguinaga, N. J., Hines, R., & Hartshorne, R. (2011). Using Contemporary Technology Tools to Improve the Effectiveness of Teacher Educators in Special Education. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 30(3), 33-40

Perry, E. H., & Pilati, M. L. (2011). Online learning. New Directions For Teaching & Learning, 2011(128), 95-104. doi:10.1002/tl.472

Ronsisvalle, T., & Watkins, R. (2005). Student Success in Online K-12 Education. Quarterly Review Of Distance Education, 6(2), 117-124.

Volery, T., & Lord, D. (2000). Critical success factors in online education. The International Journal of Educational Management,14(5), 216-223. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/229143743?accountid=12063
Interview with an Online Student
Q. What is your impression of online education?
A. Online education serves a purpose for me. I would not be able to complete my degree in my hometown, so online education provides me with that opportunity.

Q. What has your experience been with online education?
A. I am now half way through completing my master's degree through an online university. I have spent approximately one year working on this degree.

Q. What would you change?
A. I really enjoy face to face contact and learning. I also learn more quickly from listening to a lecture than reading material. That said, I think I learn my course content in much greater depth because of how the online learning process is structured. In a way, I want to say that I would like to reduce the amount of time I spend in the discussion forums, but that would mean reducing my learning. There is certainly a give and take when I consider online education versus traditional university education and overall, I don't think I would change too much.

Q. What is a typical day as an online student?
A. I am a full-time student and I spend an average of 8 hours a day working on school.

Q. How many students are in your class(es)?
A. Most of my classes have averaged around 20 people.

Q. How do the instructors shape your experience, do they play a big or small role in your perception of the course(s)?
A. The instructors definitely shape my learning experience. My program is structured so that I need to spend at least 3 hours each week interacting online, in a purposeful manner with my classmates, discussing the weekly reading topics.

Q. How do you define success?
A. Learning new content, mastering the content, and grades.

Q. Would you say that you are a successful online student?
A. Yes

Q. What do you need in order to be successful in online education?
A. - Be committed to spending a lot of time studying and interacting each week.
- Have lessons and assignments that are clearly outlined and the marking expectations are explicitly delineated.
- Instructors who are available to answer questions and clarify expectations.

Q. What do others need (if you have made observations or had this conversation with your peers)?
A. I believe the same requirements that I have.

Q. Since you started, have you seen online education evolve? If so, please elaborate:
A. No, not really.

Q. Would you recommend online education for K-12 students?
A. Maybe, I'm not sure. It would really depend on how the courses were structured. I think a lot of my ability to persist with my education in an online format is because I am very committed to getting my degree and I can hold my ultimate goal in my mind, to motivate me during times when I don't feel like exercising the self-discipline it takes to complete online courses.
Historic Characteristics of
a Successful Online Student
Self-motivated
Can work individually
Active learner
Familiar with technology
Current Characteristics of
a Successful Online Student
Self & social motivation
Can work with digital classmates & independently
Active learner
Familiar with technology

How Instructors Can Contribute to Student Success

How Instructors Can Contribute to Student Success Continued...

Social Issues:

• Instructors can establish community, interactivity, team projects and support systems to increase the efficiency of students learning (Al- Salman, 2011, Page 7).

Technical Issues:

• Instructors should be prepared for technical issues, whether it be their own or their students. This is where instructors should take precautionary steps such as having different communication strategies. Through phone or e-mail instructors should be prepared to get this information from students in case something goes wrong with technology, as it so often does.

• General familiarity with the internet can be one of the simplest solutions to ensuring success in an online course. Even if it’s using social media sites, blogging or email, students who have a prior basic knowledge to navigating the internet will be more likely to choose to take online courses in the future. So if a student is hesitant in their abilities to go the route of an online class, it may be as simple as trial and error through practicing beforehand.

• Students who successfully completed prior online courses would be more likely to successfully complete future online courses. (Hacey, Wladis & Conway, 2012)

• Being able to measure and understand one’s ability to perform and complete tasks in a way specific to an online class is a key component that helps increase in situations where they are subjected to fully online courses.

• Self-motivation, self-directedness and persistence are important factors students need to be aware of when taking an online class.

Student Success
by Sarah L., Michael K., & Jen R.
Full transcript