June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.163.1 - 26.163.14
Advancing Online Teaching at an On-Ground Institution by Assessing Technical and Humanity Online CoursesAbstract:Online learning has been expanding on many university campuses throughout the United Statesas well as worldwide, but the quality of such education need to be assessed as compared to on-ground face-to-face education. To continue growth and experience in e-learning, universities areencouraged to develop online graduate and undergraduate courses and specialized certificateprograms. Many of these universities offer these courses mainly during the summer andintersession periods. A large comprehensive state university in New England created a task forceto look closely at the university’s online and hybrid courses to ensure that the university delivershigh quality online and hybrid instruction. Comprised of educators, administrators andtechnology experts, the task force’s objective is to develop recommendations to ensure that 1)online and hybrid courses taught at this state university reflect the best practices for onlinecourse design, 2) faculty teaching online and hybrid courses reflect the best pedagogicalpractices for online instruction, and 3) online and hybrid courses taught provide a positivelearning experience for our students. The purpose of this study is to explore the educationalexperience in the online classes offered to the primarily on-ground students, to evaluate theinstructional effectiveness of various instructional tools used in the online class, and to assessviability of online course offering across majors, from technical (e.g., engineering andconstruction management) to humanity (e.g., communication and sociology). A survey wasgiven to students who took online courses during the Summer 2014 sessions to assess theinstructional tools used and their effectiveness among other pertinent variables. The total numberof academic departments that offered online courses was 38 and the total number of responderswas 249 students. This paper, based on this survey and continuous discussion with faculty andadministration, will recommend action items to maintain and improve online education byapplying best teaching practices. This study will serve as a benchmark to continually monitor theprogress of quality online education as the recommendations are implemented. Moreover, qualityof online courses as compared to on-ground courses will be studied comparing the rigor andquality of the instruction. As in many other areas a mixed strategy based on an appropriatecombination of on-ground and online is desirable. The challenge is to determine that “mix” andsupport its multiple components. Implementation should include significant, ongoing training offaculty and investment in service and support for students and faculty.
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