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Copyright SR Hiltz 20081 E-Learning: Effectiveness and Scenarios for Higher Education in Romania Starr Roxanne Hiltz (Distinguished Prof. Emerita, Information.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright SR Hiltz 20081 E-Learning: Effectiveness and Scenarios for Higher Education in Romania Starr Roxanne Hiltz (Distinguished Prof. Emerita, Information."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright SR Hiltz E-Learning: Effectiveness and Scenarios for Higher Education in Romania Starr Roxanne Hiltz (Distinguished Prof. Emerita, Information Systems, NJIT)

2 Copyright SR Hiltz Outline 1. Background: What is “ALN”?: Nature, philosophy, history 2. Overview of Comparisons of outcomes 3. Trends: Growth in ALN and other forms of e-learning in the U.S. and elsewhere 4. University futures- Potentials and Scenarios – U.S. and Romania…

3 Copyright SR Hiltz “Asynchronous Learning Networks” or ALN Although many different technologies are used in delivering online courses, this is the technology and approach for which there has been the most success and research. ‘Asynchronous’ refers to Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) systems that allow ‘anytime’ “anywhere” communication via the Internet, systems such as computerized conferencing or discussion boards that support threaded discussions for a class (e.g., Blackboard, Moodle).

4 Copyright SR Hiltz ALN Definition, 2 ‘Learning Networks’ refer to the social network or community of learners that emerges when students and faculty communicate and work together to build and share knowledge. ALN thus integrates social and technical aspects; it depends upon technologies such as the Internet to link together teachers and learners, but it is an effective means of learning only when collaborative social/pedagogical processes emerge from the communication that is supported by the technology.

5 Copyright SR Hiltz (Philosophy) The objective of ALN is not just to be ‘as good as’ traditional classroom-based learning, but to use CMC to encourage and support new forms of collaboration and learning together online, that can be more effective than the traditional classroom. Goals include critical thinking, communication skills, teamwork skills Implementation: may also use some “synchronous” media such as Skype or virtual worlds, but these are hard to schedule for working students May be combined with limited face to face meetings in “hybrid” mode ( e.g., a few intensive days at start of course).

6 Copyright SR Hiltz Two views of Online Courses: A means of cutting costs-- Post materials on the web; tutorials and quizzes; collect assignments; can handle thousands of students. ( and is not very effective except if you call memorizing a fixed body of knowledge “learning“ OR: A means of supporting learning communities (requires small classes (or groups) mentored by faculty members; goals are improved access and effectiveness- ALN, CSCL

7 Copyright SR Hiltz Typical Components of a Complete ALN Course 1.Complete syllabus, with course activities, expectations, readings and due dates for each module- before the course starts. 2.For each module (1-4 weeks in duration): 1.Overview/ Learning Objectives 2.Assigned readings 3.Lecture type materials: delivered by Powerpoint + audio, streaming video, online tutorial, Ipod audio files, or whatever – 4. Tests or self-tests (optional) (may be online testing module)

8 Copyright SR Hiltz Unique Components of a Complete ALN Course: Collaboration is the Key 5. Online group discussion topics and activities are central and required/graded and, and facilitated by an instructor. 6. A project/ artifact/ deliverable, preferably created by collaborative group activity; sometimes global partially distributed teams of students in classes from different countries

9 Copyright SR Hiltz Interaction and Higher-Order Learning are key to effective online learning Active involvement (Alavi and Dufner, 2004) Interaction with classmates, instructors, and content (Leidner & Fuller 1997; Swan 2004) Small group discussions that generate meaningful discourse and deep reflection (Hiltz 1986; Harasim, 1990; Hiltz, Coppola et al., 2000; Swan and Shea, 2004)

10 Copyright SR Hiltz Active Participation and Student Outcomes: What we know from research Collaborative learning can increase student achievement and high-level thinking [Kitchen & McDougall 1998] Participation is key for enabling collaborative learning [Hardless, Lundin, & Nulden 2001] A strong correlation exists between an instructor’s requirement for discussion and a student’s perceived learning [Jiang & Ting, 2000].

11 Copyright SR Hiltz Studies of Effectiveness of Learning Networks

12 Copyright SR Hiltz Survey of All Comparative Studies Criteria for Inclusion Empirical studies of the effectiveness of learning networks published in a refereed journal or conference proceedings, in the English language, as of studies compared FtF and Online courses. Most were field studies (in which students self-select mode); only 5 experiments with random assignment.

13 Copyright SR Hiltz Procedure Results for each study were categorized in terms of whether they, in total, showed ALN to be better, worse, or no different on the whole.

14 Copyright SR Hiltz Measures of student learning used in the studies Student learning has been the most frequently measured variable for comparative studies. In 47 instances, objective measures of learning have been used, including grade (10 instances), midterm examination (4 instances) or final exam grade (11).

15 Copyright SR Hiltz Detailed findings on learning effectiveness: For 16 comparisons of objective measures, ALN was found to be significantly better. The majority of studies (29 instances) have found no significant difference in objective outcomes. Two studies found ALN significantly worse. Conclusion: The evidence is overwhelming that ALN tends to be as effective or more effective than traditional modes of course delivery, at the university level.

16 Copyright SR Hiltz Trends: Online Enrollments and Research are Growing First online courses in the 1970’s, but no real growth until the spread of the Internet in the 1990s. About 2 million university students in the U.S. were in online courses by the spring of 2004; about 4 million by (Source: Allen & Seaman, “Staying the Course: Online Education in the US, 2008,” Babson Survey Research Group/ Sloan Consortium- survey of chief academic officers; N= 2577)

17 Copyright SR Hiltz · The 12.9 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population. · Over twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2007.

18 Copyright SR Hiltz Trends · Online Education is Critical to the Long-term Strategy of my Institution Fall 2002 Fall 2003 Fall 2004 Fall 2005 Fall 2006 Fall 2007 Agree 49% 54% 56% 58 Public institutions continue to be the most likely to believe that online education is critical to their long-term strategy. Most prevalent in undergraduate education

19 Copyright SR Hiltz Expanding “reach” ? The belief that online education extends the geographic boundaries of institutions is not borne out when we look at where, geographically, the online students reside. For all types of institutions, Carnegie Classifications, and size of institutions, the current geographic reach of schools is predominately local with over 85 percent of all online students coming from within 50 miles of campus (local) or from within the state or surrounding states (regional).

20 Copyright SR Hiltz ALN: Costs and revenues Faculty spend at least as much time teaching an ALN course online as they do in an FtF class ( daily availability and interaction) and one “discussion section” should be no larger than 30 BUT… Can use more adjuncts Can increase class size by use of TAs and breakout group discussions Can draw students from anywhere (at least a small proportion) No need to fund the non-academic “Ps” for non-residential students (Pillows, Pizza, Pools…) No need to build buildings Can have consortia to share courses For fixed material- can use open source course materials such as those posted online by MIT.

21 Copyright SR Hiltz Trends Do not have the comparable data for Europe, but institutions such as the British Open U. are expanding their enrollments This is a trend and a strategy that Romania has to take account of in planning the future of education.

22 Copyright SR Hiltz Trends- Consortia Many universities and campuses SHARE the development and offering and enrollments and revenues for online courses EG: Many Australian and other U’s are offering “hybrid” courses in collaboration with Asian Universities (one week intensive ftf faculty visit, rest of courses online) SUNY New York has about 54 campuses: any student on any campus can enroll in an online course offered through any of these campuses (decreases costs of replicating the same course for less popular courses of study in particular)

23 Copyright SR Hiltz Some Scenarios 1.The bleak future of universities… from the National Association of Scholars in the U.S. (partly to scare everybody? Satire?) (version of “Higher Ed Inc”) “The Great Transition” - see full text at “In 2024, the movement to close state colleges and universities crested. This movement began in 2017 with the passage of a ballot proposition in California promoted by the taxpayer group, Citizens for Free College. CFC argued that California could offer a free college education to all who wanted it at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers of maintaining the state’s public systems. In the end, only the University of California Berkeley survived the five-year phased-in shut-down. Berkeley was purchased by a company based in Shenzhen, PRC, with extensive interests in mining and telecommunications.

24 Copyright SR Hiltz By 2024, eighteen other states had followed suit, and twenty more had opted for less drastic forms of phasing out state colleges and universities. The NCAA quickly reorganized as an umbrella group of professional sports teams. Pennsylvania State University became the first formerly public university actually owned by a sports franchise, Nittany Lions, Inc… Online education had been thriving long before this, of course, but the huge new demand for online courses and programs turned online education into something like the railroad boom of the nineteenth century. Perhaps the most surprising change was that the new online sector was almost entirely for- profit. ”

25 Copyright SR Hiltz Discussion: Building an Alternate Scenario for Romania Components? What can/ should Romania do to take advantage of ALN or other e-learning technologies/ pedagogies? How do policy makers get informed about the need for “classroom-like” interaction and project work for quality learning, not just posting fixed materials and exams? EG: what proportion of university students can take courses in English or German or another (non- Romanian) language and thus enroll in consortia type courses in partnership with other European or U.S. universities? How do you motivate and train Romanian HE faculty? Should E-learning be extended down to secondary schools? ( where it is also increasingly prevalent in the U.S., e.g., as part of “home schooling” movement)


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