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On-line Learning Focus Groups  497 currently enrolled Hope students have taken on-line courses at Hope  Focus groups included 16 students: distribution.

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Presentation on theme: "On-line Learning Focus Groups  497 currently enrolled Hope students have taken on-line courses at Hope  Focus groups included 16 students: distribution."— Presentation transcript:

1 On-line Learning Focus Groups  497 currently enrolled Hope students have taken on-line courses at Hope  Focus groups included 16 students: distribution of majors across NS, SS, AH  Focus group participants had taken a total of 20 courses online at Hope (courses taken were in NS and AH, none in SS)  All online courses were taken to meet a requirement

2 Why do students take on-line courses? Participants reported reasons that are equally valid for all summer course offerings. The only unique factor was the ability to be off- campus and to schedule coursework around summer jobs.  Scheduling & Flexibility: –Complete degree in 4 years –Condensed time commitment (4 weeks instead of 16)  Focus: –Take one course at a time –Increased focus may increase GPA  Gen Ed Courses: –Difficulty prioritizing Gen Ed during academic year due to demands of major –Difficulty scheduling Gen Ed during academic year due to constraints of major

3 On-line Learning  What Kind of Course Works Best? –Non-major –General Education –Discrete content: Read- Write-Take Test –Writing courses: Have time to develop inspiration and think about assignments and feedback  What Kind of Student Learner Does Best? –Self-motivated, self- educating, self-disciplined –Visual Learners* and Kinetic Learners report more difficulty learning on-line * This seems to reflect lack of full-use of visual technology in many online courses; visual learners also seek immediacy in learning environment (seeing professor, watching professor or other students)

4 Valued Learning Experiences Reported by Participants  COMMUNITY of LEARNERS  PROFESSOR-STUDENT INTERACTION  DEEP LEARNING AND ENGAGED LEARNING  DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES [prompted by focus group facilitator, not generated by participants]  PROFESSORS’ EXPLANATIONS & FEEDBACK  CAMPUS Ways in Which Valued Learning Experiences Were Compromised for Some in On-Line Courses  Isolating  No feedback from peers  No interdisciplinary discussion  Miss exchange of ideas  Miss verbal expression of ideas  Want to know professor (personally)  Want to be known by professors (personally)  Reported working more in courses when they know professor and professor knows them  More difficult to retain knowledge  Little or no analytical learning  No reports of collaborative learning  Little interaction among peers – no presentations, discussions, or collaborative projects  No attention to diversity or even alternative perspectives to course content reported by participants even after prompting with examples of broad interpretation of alternative perspectives to theories or ways of thinking]  Some report lack of ability to ask questions of professors  Miss seeing and hearing professors’ explanations  Some report lack of feedback from professors  Accessibility of Resources: software, equipment, library resources, multicultural community, theatre/arts presentations necessary for coursework may not be available at ‘camp in the woods’ or small hometown

5 Participants’ Suggestions to Improve On-Line Learning at Hope 1.Make it Personal  Meet classmates prior to course  Meet professor in person prior to course: & chat interaction can feel awkward if don’t have relationship  Share personal stories and experiences 2. Make it Visual  Video lecture playback: Slide and audio lectures difficult to stay focused  Video chat instead of text chat or posting - Utilize Skype and webcams  Utilize online video content (YouTube), animation and images

6 3. Make it Interactive  Provide synchronous classes so can see and interact with peers and professor  Let us see and hear peers’ questions  Use video conferencing to create a real exchange of ideas (as opposed to on-line posts which are discrete statements and don’t encourage utilizing others to construct new knowledge and understandings) 4. Utilize Technology Wisely  Over-reliance on PowerPoint presentations is not conducive to focused attention or learning  Moodle discussion forums are tedious and content of postings is of low quality  Trying to engage us via Facebook and Twitter means we can never escape from class  Glitches in delivery of audio or visual content is frustrating

7 Conclusions  Good teaching is good teaching. It can occur on-line or face-to-face.  Many suggestions for making on-line learning more effective would also apply to traditional courses.  Students value the personal on-campus learning communities that contribute to deep learning at Hope College  There are specific and relatively easy things we can do to improve on-line courses by ‘blending’ the personal with the technology.  Students were satisfied with their online courses and were grateful for the availability of summer online courses at Hope.


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