Immersion continuity-nercomp2011


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Position Paper on Effectiveness Study of Blended Learning Model - 2007-2009

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Immersion continuity-nercomp2011

  1. 1. Daria Valentini, PhD (Stonehill College) and Mark Lewis, PhD (Regis College and University of Massachusetts Boston) Immersion and Continuity: A Blended Model for College Level Introductory Language Courses Italian 101-102: 2007-2009IntroductionThe principal investigators for this research project are: Daria Valentini, who has taught Introductory Italian for many years at Stonehill College, where blended learning environments have yet to be implemented on a broad scale Mark Lewis, who participated in a grant to develop and implement blended learning across different sectors of the liberal arts and sciences curriculum at Regis College from 2003-2008The project idea evolved from the opportunity to compare students in the blendedcourse with those in the traditional face-to-face course, in order to ascertain thelevel of effectiveness of the blended learning model.Results include survey data from students in the blended sections, as well as acomparison of student grades on multiple assignments. Also discussed will be thedecision by Professor Valentini to adopt e-learning strategies and resources atStonehill College. Specifically, she has created a web-enhanced Introductory Italiancourse that continues to take full advantage of the three weekly face-to-facemeetings, while expanding students’ exposure to the language outside class.Context: Blended Course Design and Instructional ObjectivesStudents in first and second semester Italian demonstrated their knowledge using avariety of methods. In class, they worked for a portion of each class period with apartner to a) act out a dialogue or b) transform sentences using newly introducedvocabulary and focusing on newly introduced grammar topics. Similarly, outside ofclass each student completed between eight and ten sets of computer-based onlineexercises and submitted them to the publisher’s course management system forreview by the instructor. Spread out over the 15 weeks of the semester, theseassignments counted for a total of 20% of their grade for the course. Each weekstudents received a homework grade, which allowed them to monitor their ownprogress and performance. While opportunities for students to practice their 1
  2. 2. Daria Valentini, PhD (Stonehill College) and Mark Lewis, PhD (Regis College and University of Massachusetts Boston)spoken Italian were frequent within these sets of exercises, assessment andimprovement of their spoken Italian occurred only in the face-to-face classroom. 1Furthermore, four chapter tests were taken in class to assess comprehensiveknowledge. Like the online exercises, these tests emphasized grammar, vocabulary,culture, and communication pertinent to everyday situations. Also like the onlineexercises, the tests assessed students’ skill development in listening, reading, andwriting. In addition to the chapter tests, three timed quizzes were administeredonline using the learning management system’s quiz generator.In addition to quizzes, the functions of the LMS most heavily relied upon forinstruction were the online gradebook, announcements, links to Internet resources,and the uploading of instructor generated text and image resources as a supplementto instruction. Such resources helped to personalize the online learningenvironment, and they were often spontaneously added, accompanied by anannouncement as well as an email message alerting students to the new content.Timed release of content in the LMS helped student stay focused on each week’slesson, although content from previous weeks was continuously available.Our primary objectives in this redesign of Introductory Italian were as follows: Enable students to succeed with 33% reduction in seat time Make effective use of f2f class time to improve communicative competence, and shift a larger portion of comprehension and review of structure to online environment Increase the frequency of interactive assignment due dates, and provide rich and rapid feedback on each one Create a preferred overall language learning experienceComparison of Blended Model with F2F Model Our research compares the blended format for Introductory Italian (50 mins. twice weekly f2f + unlimited asynchronous online) with traditional format (50 mins. thrice weekly with limited web-enhanced component) Course design was streamlined by assigning dynamically released interactive exercises twice weekly. This content provided a concentrated amount of interactive learning and practice using “Quia”, the online lab manual to accompany a major textbook, Prego! 7th edition (McGraw Hill, 2007)1 In an online course with a virtual classroom, students could record themselvesusing widely available tools for digital audio, and instructors could provideindividualized feedback either in written or oral form at several points throughoutthe course. 2
  3. 3. Daria Valentini, PhD (Stonehill College) and Mark Lewis, PhD (Regis College and University of Massachusetts Boston) Variables that were consistent between the two delivery models include: same course duration and approximate number of students, same textbook, same material covered in the same amount of time, same quizzes and exams administered Two different instructors taught these courses at two different private Boston area colleges (Regis College and Stonehill College), working to ensure consistency Four semesters of teaching were studiedMethods & ResultsA Student Evaluation of Blended Course Design survey was conducted using theTLTGroup’s Flashlight Online survey generator, version 1.0, and was administeredfor three populations of IT 101-102 students in three different semesters between2008 and 2009. The survey contained 27 items.2Student Evaluation of Blended Course Design results:Percentage of students who agreed with the following:86% - I learned the same as (43%) or more than (43%) in a traditional format.71% - I was better able to understand ideas and concepts in this course.71% - I gained confidence in my ability to learn difficult subject matter.78% - I learned at my own pace and was encouraged to spend more time on task.78% - I was better able to visualize ideas and concepts taught in this course.100% - The instructor gave clear explanations of what was expected in a blended course.In addition, the standard paper-based course evaluation was administered. Bothinstructors received positive feedback about their respective courses and teachingabilities, including accessibility outside of class.Finally, grades for these sections of IT 101-102 were compared with grades earnedby students in traditional IT 101-102 courses that did not use technology-assistedlearning and were not taught as blended courses. Blended student grades (ave. over two years) o Homework – 90.2% o Tests – 91.0%2Some of the wording from the original items in Flashlight 1.0 has been eitheradapted or abbreviated. 3
  4. 4. Daria Valentini, PhD (Stonehill College) and Mark Lewis, PhD (Regis College and University of Massachusetts Boston) o Course – 90.7% Face-to-face (ave. over two years) o Homework – 89.9% o Tests – 89.9% o Course – 87.4% 4