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Best Practices in Online Learning

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John Coughlin

on 9 October 2014

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Transcript of Best Practices in Online Learning

Online learning
What do students think?
7 question student experience survey
Distributed to 1000 students who took at least 1 course in Winter 2014
We asked them to comment in a general sense about their experience taking online courses at OU.
Responses were not specific to any one course or instructor.
We received about 142 responses (which is about typical for a web survey).

Student Experience Survey
Questions 1-4 (scaled)
(all questions used a 1-5 scale, where 1 was stronly agree and 5 was strongly disagree)

1. The teachers actively engaged with me throughout these courses. (avg 2.31)

2. I felt connected to other students in the courses (avg 3.05).

3. The courses were designed in a way that made them easy to follow (avg 2.21).

4. I believe that the quality of education that I received in these courses was at least equivalent to what I would have received if I had taken the courses in a traditional face-to-face classroom (avg 2.57).
Student Experience Survey
Question 5 (why online choice)
5. Why did you take these courses online (rather than face-to-face)?

Convenience : 97
I prefer online courses over face-to-face courses : 21
Online sections were the only sections available : 46
I cannot travel to campus : 9

Most "other" choices were related to convenience.
Student Experience Survey
Question 6 - What did you like?
6. What did you like about your online courses?

Student Experience Survey
Question 7 - Suggestions

7. Do you have any suggestions that you think would improve the quality of your online courses?
Online Learning at Oakland University
By the Numbers

Knowing how online learning has grown over the last several years is useful in considering how to apply best practices.

While the following figures apply only to fully online courses, the best practice concepts we will be discussing later are applicable to hybrid courses as well.
Best Practices - the Web Site!
Earlier this year we launched the
Online Learning Best Practices site for Faculty
- this is available off the ELIS web site. This site summarizes online learning best practices, and encapsulates many of the ideas that we'll be talking about today.
Online Learning Best Practices Site
The best practice site currently has topic areas for engagement, syllabus design, course design, and objective design. It also gives links to some other resources which are useful.
Total sections in 2013 = 10527
(6% of sections are online)
Total enrollments in 2013 : 144096
(about 10% of enrollments were into online sections)
Total unique students 2013 : 26375
(about 30% of students took
an online section)
Total unique courses in 2013 : 2944
(about 12% of courses have an online section)
About 23% of students in
Winter 2014 took at least
one online section
Students overwhelming liked the convenience.
Many students liked being able to review Webex and Panopto recordings afterward - "very helpful".
Students liked it when expectations were spelled out clearly.
Students preferred when the course was laid out clearly (consistently) in Moodle.
Some students liked one having one face-to-face session, especially at the start of the course.
Student Experience Survey
What did you like?
"Not having face to face interaction forced me to exhaust all resources (book, classmates, internet, etc.) before contacting the professor."
"I have severe test anxiety so i really like being able to test in my own home"
"Courses were front-loaded, and all assignments were explicitly clear."
"I knew what was due and when with plenty of notice ahead of time. They were very organized and easy to follow."
"I loved that the teacher created video lectures and got back with us very quickly with everything. I also liked that she made us interact with different students on a daily basis."
"The teachers were usually very clear in their expectations and posted many resources to help in the course. Assignment expectations and deadlines were made very clear ahead of time."
"I liked being able to express my views - I would not be able to express them as fully in a classroom."
Students felt that workload was too high (more than a F2F course).
Students want recorded lectures.
Students want teachers to reply quickly.
Students don't like having to come to campus for exams - they think everything should be online.
Some students don't like online group work.
Student Experience Survey
Question 7 - Suggestions
"Instructors should more actively engage the students and encourage students to actively engage with each other."
"Having professors available to FaceTime/video chat instead of in person meeting hours. This allows the course to keep its convenient nature and still allow a better connection with professors than just via email."
"One of my courses had video lectures and another didn't. I found the video lectures extremely helpful."
"I would suggest that every online course have lecture notes that can be printed."
"Sometimes I felt disconnected from my professor and peers, so I think that more weekly emails just to check in (or notes on moodle) would help with that from the professor side. There isn't an built in mode for housekeeping (like there is with an in person class) so both sides need to reach out to make this happen."
"Having a routine each week makes it much easier to follow along."
"Continue to evaluate the online course experience to ensure that expectations are met."
"I liked the classes that had discussion boards every week because it was the closest I felt to an actual in-person class discussion. I think more online classes should incorporate this. Some online classes have a lot of busy work to complete each week for class participation, and I think the discussion boards are a better alternative. Overall, my experience In online classes was highly positive."
"No suggestions, online classes are not for every one and I am one of those people."
e-Learning and Instructional Support (e-LIS)
We provide training and support for Moodle and other online learning applications like Panopto and WebEx.
We coordinate various stipend programs and events like our upcoming e-Cornucopia conference.
We administer the online learning environment and provide web application development services (for things like new Moodle features, bug fixes, etc.).
We also handle many other peripheral processes and applications, like scantron and course evaluations.
Effective Teaching Online
(Best Practices in Online Learning)

"How would you convert a face-to-face activity, lecture, or piece of content into an online equivalent?"
Online Learning Best Practices
Online learning is emerging from its infancy.
New focus on quality rather than quantity.
Best practice information comes from many sources including...
Quality organizations like Sloan-C and Quality Matters
Other universities
OU faculty
e-LIS staff members
Feedback from students
Full transcript