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Online Learning Report

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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 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
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 offcampus 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
On-line Learning
 What Kind of Course Works
Best?
– Non-major
– General Education
– Discrete content: ReadWrite-Take Test
– Writing courses: Have time
to develop inspiration and
think about assignments
and feedback
 What Kind of Student
Learner Does Best?
– Self-motivated, selfeducating, 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)
Valued Learning Experiences
Reported by Participants
Ways in Which Valued Learning
Experiences Were Compromised for
Some in On-Line Courses
 COMMUNITY of LEARNERS
 PROFESSOR-STUDENT INTERACTION
 DEEP LEARNING AND ENGAGED
LEARNING
 DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES [prompted by
focus group facilitator, not generated by
participants]
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 PROFESSORS’ EXPLANATIONS &
FEEDBACK
 CAMPUS
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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
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: Email & 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
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
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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