Hadsell, Kent Faculty Perceptions of Online Engagement
Faculty Perceptions of Online Student Engagement: California Community Colleges and The California State University STUDIES BY Jory Hadsell, Sacramento City College Tracy Kent, CSU Sacramento December 1, 2011 DET/CHE Conference
Changing TimesQuestion:Do we really understand how to activelyengage our students in a changing world?
Introduction• Student engagement is commonly viewed as a key element in predicting and ensuring the success of online learners.• It can be difficult to separate effective engagement strategies from ancillary course administration activities.• Researchers have taken multiple approaches to defining student engagement -- the universe of elements construed as contributing to engagement of online students can seem very broad.• Is student engagement in the "eye of the beholder" -- in this case, the faculty teaching online? If so -- how do faculty define and perceive engagement?
Background• Purpose: o Exploring faculty attitudes and perceptions of student engagement in online courses California Community Colleges (Hadsell) California State University system (Kent)• Scope: o Mini-qualitative research projects o Comparative analysis: Sacramento City College CSU Sacramento• Focus: o Explore the faculty perspective of student engagement in the online learning environment.
Online Engagement• The instructor may use his or her role to evoke student motivation and spur students to persist in online learning environments. (Christian & John, 2010)• Students who feel disconnected or physically isolated from their classmates are more likely to drop out of online programs. (Angelino, et. al, 2007)• Maki and Maki (2007) found that students were often required to do more in online courses than in traditional courses. They wrote that to be effective, online instructors need a strong methodology and opportunities for students to interact with each other and the instructor.• Synchronous tools can assist in humanizing the classroom with interaction between student-student and instructor (Kolsaka, 2001).
Preliminary Research Approach• Preliminary Research o Qualitative interviews o Comparative analysis of interviews and artifacts• Data collection o Interviews with faculty who teach online (at least two years experience); Los Rios CCD and CSU Sacramento o Limited by a small sample size o Conducted a review and analysis of artifacts (Syllabi, assignments, related articles, etc.) o Identification of emergent themes in each study
FIVE EMERGENT THEMESBASED ON PRELIMINARY RESEARCH
Emergent Themes• Background / Mental Models o Who the faculty member is o Background Training and certifications Relating to experiences as an online student o Instructional Mental Models Interest in student learning & progress Interest and tendencies relating to technology experimentation• Structure and Content o Organizational strategy o Variety and clarity of assignments o Construction of syllabus o Multi-modal approach (videos, podcasts, textbook, etc.)
Emergent Themes• Community/Interaction o Frequency and depth of interaction (faculty-student, student-student, whole class presence) o Fostering of creativity and expression o Encouraging participation o Overall availability of faculty member• Assessment o Grading features o Timeliness and frequency of feedback to students o Use of statistical reports or analytics
Emergent Themes• The Online Learning Experience o Faculty awareness of their actions o Assumptions on the part of all parties o Clarity of expectations (both faculty and student) o Faculty assumptions/perceptions of student patterns of behavior o Challenges and barriers for students (e.g., deadlines, maintaining focus, motivation)
Questions Raised• Questions raised by the preliminary research: o How do personal experiences, traits, and the attitude of the instructor impact the instructional approaches online? o Do the personal values of faculty differ from what is projected to students via course materials? o How can faculty best create clarity in the organization of an online course? (assignments, grading scheme, online classroom, etc.) How is this impacted by experience as an online student? o How can faculty be more active in seeking engagement with students, rather than passively expecting it to happen? o How do learning analytics inform/impact engagement?
Contact InformationJory HadsellSacramento City Collegejory.firstname.lastname@example.org@joryhadsellTracy KentCSU Sacramentokentt@saclink.csus.edu
ReferencesAngelino, L., Williams, F., & Natvig, D. (2007). Strategies toengage online students and reduce attrition rates. The Journal ofEducators Online, 4(2), 1-14.Christian, G., & John, G. (2010). Interaction in Online Courses: Moreis NOT Always Better. Online Journal of Distance LearningAdministration, 13(2).Kosalka,K. (2001, August 10). Using synchronous tools to buildcommunity in the asynchronous online classroom. FacultyFocus. Retrieved from www.facultyfocus.comMaki, R.H. & Maki, W.S. (2007). Online Courses. In F.T. Durso(Ed.), Handbook of applied cognition (2nd ed., pp. 527-552). NewYork: Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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