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Guidelines for Student Success in the E-Learning Environment

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Kathy O'Neil

on 2 February 2014

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Transcript of Guidelines for Student Success in the E-Learning Environment

Guidelines for Student Success
in the E-Learning Environment

Five Phases of

Role of the Instructor and Student
Are you ready?
Role of the Online Instructor and Student
Online Readiness - Keys to Success
Cultural Diversity
Student Orientation
Access to Online Resources
Introduction to Foundation Training

Engagement in the
E-Learning Environment

Cultural Diversity
Access to
Online Resources

Student Affairs
Student Advising
Time Management
Introduction to
Foundation Training

“Teaching online is a dynamic process that involves high levels of energetic interaction and quiet moments of contemplation” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012, p. 11).

Online instructors no longer engaged in face-to-face interactions with learners are faced with the challenge of finding alternative ways to get to know their learners and encourage learner engagement.

“Modeling of dynamic interactions as an instructional strategy is a critical aspect of instructor-to-learning engagement. An important consideration for ensuring course success is a high level of communication opportunities between students and instructor” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012. p. 6).

Online instructors need to provide students with a clear structure for the class by delineating milestones and deadlines for course assignments; creating and facilitating collaborative and interactive assignments; promoting and building student-student and student-instructor engagement, establish teaching presence and providing timely and supportive feedback (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012).

Instructors do not simply provide information for learners. Instructors need to engage students, be present, attentive and supportive (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012).

Online instructors must be provided with training in regard to the pedagogy as it relates to the eLearning environment (Raj, 2011).

Instructors are being asked to develop new skills and teaching methods to use in the eLearning environment (Conrad Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012).

“Instructor engagement must begin with a revised personal definition of the instructor’s role and teaching philosophy and the creation of an encouraging virtual presence” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012, p.10).

Teaching an eLearning course is not simply transferring traditional classroom materials to an online environment (Guri-Rosenblit & Gros, 2011).

Key components of SRL and online readiness skills include: “students’ attitudes, abilities, personality characteristics, and affective responses toward online learning” (Hung, Chou, Chen learner control (Shyu intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for learning (Ryan computer and Internet self-efficacy (Compeau Eastin and online communication self-efficacy including students’ willingness, ability, and confidence in participating in online discussions (Roper, 2007).

Research suggests self-regulated learning skills (SLR), online readiness, and motivational beliefs are key factors in influencing student outcomes (Ahmed & Khatib, 2010).

The online student is expected to take more control and responsibility for their learning (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012).

“Today’s student is being asked to become an agent for change” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012, p. 8).

Take the Online Learning Readiness Assessment

Students are not necessarily prepared with the skills necessary to succeed in the online environment (Henry, 2011).

Through the interaction of cognitive, social and teaching presence, (i.e., Community of Inquiry (COI) model), development of online course collaborative and group activities promote engagement and interaction between learners and with the instructor, and provide learners with opportunities to acquire, construct, and apply new knowledge collectively, (i.e., transformational learning) (Conrad Horton, 2012).
E-learning can be a powerful venue for learning. Developing meaningful relationships between and among students and the instructor is a vital component of online learner success.

In the fourth phase of engagement, (i.e., co-facilitation), the instructor becomes a subject matter expert while the students take on the role of initiator (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012). “Providing additional resources, while challenging and questioning the student, is part of the instructor’s redefined responsibilities” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012, p. 10). Activities such as group presentations are created collaboratively and initiated by the team. Working collaboratively in groups to complete a shared task can effectively increase student motivation when compared to working independently (Papanikolaou & Boubouka, 2011).
In the third phase of engagement, (i.e., collaborate), the instructor becomes the facilitator and students become part of a team (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012). The instructor facilitates the team in collaborating to solve problems, participate in discussions and create an agreed upon group outcome. Activities should promote authentic and meaningful results with a long term purpose (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012). A study by Henry (2011) found internal factors, (i.e., personal goals, sense of accomplishment) were more influential in students’ course completion than external factors. When learners fail to connect the purpose of the content to their personal goals, become bored with the instructional design, or are faced with incorrect information, they lose their motivation to continue in the given learning environment (Gross, 2012).

In the second phase of engagement, (i.e., communication), the instructor takes on the role of a structural engineer and the student’s role encourages peer partnering (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012). Promoting peer interaction assists in developing a sense of community in an eLearning environment and is a necessary component for learner success (Omar, Kalulu, & Alijani, 2011). The instructor helps pair students together and may ask students to complete content-related tasks and evaluate peer responses to provide critical feedback. These activities promote sharing and reflection.
In the first phase of engagement, (i.e., connect), the instructor takes on the role of social negotiator while the student’s role is that of a newcomer (Conrad Palloff & Pratt, 2007). Ice breakers are quick and simple interactions intended to reduce learner anxiety, give the learners a chance to experience potentially new technologies, and introduce themselves in a non-threatening way (Horton, 2012).

Phases of Engagement
Guidelines for developing teaching presence in collaborative learning environments are represented by the five Phases of Engagement model, (i.e., connect, communicate, collaborate, co-facilitate, continue) (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012). Through the phases, the student-student and instructor-student interactions make a transition. The role of the online learner is expected to take more responsibility and control of their learning (Guri-Rosenblit & Gros, 2011). “Learning is an interactive learning community event” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012, p. 7).

In the newly added fifth phase of engagement, (i.e., continue), the instructor role is that of supporter while the student’s role is contemplator (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012). Activities may include opportunities to ponder, think critically through rhetorical questions and inspire self-reflection. “To foster transformational learning, the instructional process should include activities that encourage numerous opportunities for self-reflection on the student’s experience, including ways in which a learner has been transformed through engagement” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012, p. 8). These activities have the benefit of reaching beyond the time limit of the course in encouraging the student to recognize and acknowledge how they have transformed as a learner (Conrad & Donaldson, 2012).
Students must have access to adequate hardware and software necessary to participate in the eLearning Foundation Training, (i.e., word processing, graphics, embedded videos, interactive activities, email, discussion boards, and support tools). Additional guidance and support for students is anticipated and incorporated in the activities.

Asynchronous delivery, (e.g., discussion boards, email, blogs), offers occasions for interaction at a separate time (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek, 2012).

Synchronous technology, (e.g., live chat rooms, audio/video conferencing, instant messaging, two-way live satellite broadcasts (Skylar, 2009)), provides opportunities for collaboration in real time.

The use of synchronous and asynchronous technology and methods to deliver course content offers opportunities for learners to develop relationships with one another and the instructor.

Students must have the ability to connect with the learning environment using the hardware materials and software technologies including the Internet for access to the course information and supportive resources, (e.g., websites, files) (Peña-López, 2010).
Possible solutions to these challenges may include presenting the material in basic language, avoid using the most advanced technologies if not necessary for efficient learning, and offering content in at least two different learning styles, (e.g., visual, auditory) (Azer & El-Sherbini, 2011).

Culturally sensitive course design will avoid using the most recent and innovative technologies when their utilization is not necessary for effective eLearning (Azer & El-Sherbini, 2011).

Students from diverse cultures are entitled to equal access to the eLearning experience (Kogins1, 2011). The essential elements of access include connectivity, scheduling, language, design, and orientation (Kogins1, 2011).

Considerable attention must be paid to learners’ cultural differences. Instructors must be cognizant of various challenges such as language, technological accessibility, and learning styles (Azer & El-Sherbini, 2011).

This diversity in culture effects the way in which people learn, behave, and communicate, (i.e., language, clothing, food, art, work, interact, socialize, think). Students from different cultures come with different comfort levels with regard to their role as an online learner.

Culture is often described using Geert Hofstede’s 5 dimensions, (i.e., Power/Distance, Uncertainty/Avoidance, Masculinity/Femininity, Individualism/Collectivism, Long-Term Orientation/Short-Term Orientation), which designate diverse values collectively held by people in different cultures and identify the various ways in which they live their lives (Hofstede & Bond, 1984).

An eLearning environment that recognizes and supports cultural diversity is a vital component for students’ online learning success.

Student Orientation
Course Outcomes
• Identify fellow Foster Parents with similar motivating circumstances.
• Explain the foster child’s separation response to others.
• Identify the stages of grief for foster children and recognize appropriate strategies and interventions.
• Develop a plan to avoid disruption.
• Contribute to a family/community resource guide.

The overall Foundation Training goal is to provide prospective Foster Parents with high quality training to assist in their preparation to become licensed.

If requirements are met although the participation suggests follow-up assessment is necessary, then the trainer will provide concerning information to the assessment personnel, (i.e., licensing specialist), for further discussion with Foster Parents. Foster Parents’s attendance and participation are reflected in timely posts and comments as noted in each activity. Lack of attendance/participation will result in no credit for the class.

Foster Parents are expected to meet the requirements for all activities in the course. If requirements are not met, the applicants will not get credit for completing the class. Completion of all Foundation Training classes is necessary for licensure.

Course Outline
Section 1: Foundation Training – Separation/Placement - Introduction
Activity 1: [Icebreaker] Why are you here?
Section 2: Foundation Training – Separation/Placement - Course-Related Activities
Activity 2: [Collaborative] Separation
Activity 3: [Content] Grief
Activity 4: [Collaborative] Placement and Disruption
Section 3: Foundation Training – Separation/Placement - Collaboration
Activity 5: [Interactive/Collaborative] Community Resources

eLearning Foundation Training – Separation/Placement
Syllabus Effective Date: 02/01/2014
Course Description
In this course, prospective Foster Parents will participate in online interactive, collaborative and content-related activities to identify fellow Foster Parents with similar motivating circumstances, contribute to a community resource guide, examine how children feel when separated from their family, understand the stages of grief, know how and when to apply appropriate strategies and interventions, understand the trauma associated with children in foster care, and understand the effects of multiple transitions in order to provide the appropriate guidance, support and empathy to foster children in their care.

A child placed in out-of-home care, (i.e., foster care), is a traumatic and temporary situation. The most valuable resource for a child in need of out-of-home care, (i.e., removed from their home due to safety issues), is a qualified licensed foster parent.
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