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Excellence in Distance Education Judy Miller, Virginia Highlands CC Tom Long, Tidewater RCTE Eric Hibbison, Midcentral RCTE Sponsored by the VCCS Centers.

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Presentation on theme: "Excellence in Distance Education Judy Miller, Virginia Highlands CC Tom Long, Tidewater RCTE Eric Hibbison, Midcentral RCTE Sponsored by the VCCS Centers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Excellence in Distance Education Judy Miller, Virginia Highlands CC Tom Long, Tidewater RCTE Eric Hibbison, Midcentral RCTE Sponsored by the VCCS Centers for Teaching Excellence

2 Abstract: Judy Miller Using FirstClass conferencing software to keep in touch with my students, especially through the conferences in which they – exchange essays for peer review – discuss reading assignments – engage in problem solving – take a much more active role in their own learning experience in these conferences

3 Abstract: Tom Long Teaching Technical Writing with an on-line option and Survey of World Lit exclusively on line this year – 1. Resources needed/resources available (instructional design, Web design, IT support) – 2. Retention – 3. Faculty evaluations by students

4 Abstract: Eric Hibbison Results of my extra Saturday sessions for my online course this semester (mainly) and (secondarily) on re-design of the course web site and syllabus to improve navigation.

5 Changes in Pursuit of Excellence revising the online course syllabus to be six units that include course syllabus six units – objectives for each unit objectives – more exact instructions for each assignmentexact instructions – a summary of each unit's evaluation tasks evaluation revising the online syllabus to be "webbier" with – more photo illustrations related to assignments illustrations – calendar pages calendar pages – trouble-shooting pages illustrated with actual error messages trouble-shooting pages frequent messages Eric Hibbison

6 More Changes preview sessions to demonstrate the skills needed for the midterm and final presentations preview sessions a positive and patient tone in all dealings with students adding a week with no assignments due near the end of the course adding a week with no assignments due flexibility in helping students meet course objectives with assignments they could take an interest in (this is a section of a required course, not a course in anyone's major) assignments they could take an interest in

7 Even More Changes sent step-by-step, click-by-click directions on how to move through the first two units, including each URL – for an quiz – for writing to a forum weekly phone calls 1 or 2 optional computer labs on most weekendsoptional computer labs

8 Results So Far (9/9/00) Dependent-type students – don’t like choices – like simple, step-by-step directions – often prefer f2f – like individual contact with teacher (phone or face, not just ) – may be slow to trust teacher (turn in work) – may be “disorganized” and “procrastinate”

9 Retention Poll Results Reasons for lagging (n = 7/21) – Overextended 8 = 50% = avg. of answers – Readings too dull4 = 33% avg – Confusing website5 = 24% avg – Writings too hard5 = 24% avg – Lack of lit. exper.2 = 25% avg. – Tech. Trouble1 = 3% avg.

10 Research Confirmation A recent poll of four groups of educators and students agreed across the board that time is the top-ranked barrier to distance education. My students seem to agree. (See Berge, Z.L. and Muilenburg L.Y. (2000). Barriers to distance education as perceived by managers and administrators: Results of a survey. In Melanie Clay (Ed.), Distance Learning Administration Annual 2000.) at 4/5/00

11 Open-Ended Question #1 Screen out probably unsuccessful students? – 3 yes – 4 no No: DE is too young, but easier assignments for failing students and not covering so much would help. Yes: “It takes a certain special student to stay on task and be disciplined enough to succeed in distance education.” Make this clear up front.

12 Plans Based on Results of Q1 Examine departmental file of colleagues’ syllabi (again) to determine how much reading and what sort is assigned. Provide menu in each unit instead of alternate list. Modify group work to transcend individual readings, e.g. what students liked best so far in course.

13 Open-Ended Question #2 Do more than the “Changes in Pursuit of Excellence”? – 3 no – 4 yes: 2 cut load, 2 suggestions: * Mandatory meeting with failing students * Staying positive encourages s’s to try. “I’ve never seen a teacher with this much passion before about teaching.”

14 Plans on Results of Q2 Keep calling late students until I reach them in person (no messages on machines or with other people) to discuss strategy to complete task or get to optional lab. More incremental steps—simple, objective quiz; short writings, longer writings comparing works, stating preferences & reasons, relating to real life, by major?

15 Trade-Offs + more students were retained + I learned more ways to get more students to meet course standards -- The extra time it took to persist with these reluctant students was stolen from released time projects for which not as much got done ? Only intensive counseling before unprepared or overextended students get into a course might satisfy students’ needs.


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