Category Archives: Student Engagement

Link: Students Favor Summer Online Courses for Convenience

A summary of how summer online courses are developed at the University of Connecticut, and the value they add to the undergraduate residential experience.

Every year, the university offers 35 to 40 new online courses for its shortened summer session, a popular time for students to earn credits away from campus, Associate Director of UConn eCampus Desmond McCaffrey said.

Wright, Bailey. “Students Favor Summer Online Courses for Convenience.” Daily Campus, 3.2.16.

Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States

The 13th and final comprehensive annual report on online education, put out by the OLC, the Babson Survey Research Group, and others. Full report available for download.

The decision to end the reports in their current form is also based on the maturation of distance education programs in higher education and the growing number of other reports and surveys that have launched since we began this particular effort back in 2003. When more than one-quarter of higher education students are taking a course online, distance education is clearly mainstream.

Allen, I. Elaine, and Jeff Seaman, with Russell Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut. Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States. February 2016.

 

Link: Mapping a MOOC Reveals Global Patterns in Student Engagement

A professor at Penn State reflects on trends in engagement among the 49,000 registered students in his MOOC. A blog post by one of his graduate students goes into more detail and breaks down engagement by various demographic factors.

The map shows places in South Asia where engagement was low but people earned passing grades, which signals a different type of motivation for taking the course in that part of the world compared with other locales. We also see places in the United States and Europe where people were engaging with the course and not earning a passing grade — so these would be the folks who were interested in the topic but probably didn’t care about earning the credential at the end.

Robinson, Anthony. “Mapping a MOOC Reveals Global Patterns in Student Engagement.” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 11, 2016.

Fish, Carolyn. “Making Maps of a MOOC.” The CartoFish Blog. August 14, 2015. 

Link: Summiting by the Online Route

Excerpts from a conversation between Michael Rodgers (Southeast Missouri State) and Carl Lashley (UNC Greensboro), on Lashley’s experiences teaching in an online doctoral degree program.

UNCG’s doctoral program is attractive because it is sensitive to the needs of working professionals. The strong online component saves commuting time. From the relative comfort of home, students are fresher and more relaxed when it is time to log into the online course after a very busy day of work. Even so, most of Lashley’s students live relatively nearby (less than a 2 hour commute), which affords them the opportunity to come to campus from time to
time for face-to-face courses, meet with faculty, and attend advising sessions and seminars. Lashley’s awareness of his students’ need for a sense of belonging motivates him to use the on-campus events to establish relationships that Lashley characterizes as “accidental cohorts,” which create connections and lend authenticity to the virtual relationships born of online interactions within discussion boards and group activities.

Rodgers and Lashley. “Summiting by the Online Route.” Tomorrow’s Professor (Stanford), #1454. January 2016.

File: Stories from Students in Their First Semester of Distance Learning

This unique study used video diaries to collect data on student experiences as first-term distance learners.

Learner stories reveal many shades of grey to the “soft factors” of what it means to be a distance learner and provide a unique insight into the complexity of studying from a distance.

Link: Mobile Learning: Moving Past the Myths and Embracing the Opportunities

The authors of this paper–a condensed version of which was the top post on eCampus News for 2015–articulate and debunk several myths about mobile learning, including the idea that mobile learning is limited to phones, that it is only applicable in distance education, or that it fails to make use of existing good pedagogical practice. They also discuss its pedagogical affordances.

mLearning is appropriate for designing learning environments for a variety of learning contexts.

Brown and Mbati, “Mobile Learning: Moving Past the Myths and Embracing the Opportunities.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol 16 no 2, April 2015.

Link: Online Teaching, it Turns Out, Isn’t Impersonal

Excellent reflections by UCONN professor Gregory Semenza, who taught an online course for the first time this year, over on the Chronicle’s Vitae site.

Now that I’ve completed this first course, I feel strongly that Edmundson and other critics — however well-intended — are simply misguided about online learning being too impersonal. I got to know my group of 30 online students as well as, or better, than any undergraduate course I’ve taught in recent years.

Read the full article here.