AECT 2013 - A Student’s Perspective: Effective Asynchronous Course Design for Virtual Schools

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Barbour, M. K., & Adelstein, D. (2013, October). A student’s perspective: Effective asynchronous course design for virtual schools. A paper presented at the annual convention of the Association for …

Barbour, M. K., & Adelstein, D. (2013, October). A student’s perspective: Effective asynchronous course design for virtual schools. A paper presented at the annual convention of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, Anaheim, CA.

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  • 1. A Student’s Perspective: Effective Asynchronous Course Design for Virtual Schools Michael Barbour Sacred Heart University David Adelstein Wayne State University
  • 2. Teacher Roles Virtual School Designer: Course Development • design instructional materials • works in team with teachers and a virtual school to construct the online course, etc. Virtual School Teacher: Pedagogy & Class Management • presents activities, manages pacing, rigor, etc. • interacts with students and their facilitators • undertakes assessment, grading, etc. Virtual School Site Facilitator: Mentoring & Advocating • local mentor and advocate for student(s) • proctors & records grades, etc. Davis (2007)
  • 3. Virtual School Designer Developed by team on behalf of the online program • a team of teachers, multimedia specialists, instructional designers • work for hire/contract Developed by the online teacher • hired to teach a non-existent course • course developed throughout semester
  • 4. Virtual School Designer Copyright • who owns the content? • what happens if teacher leaves? Expertise/Training • “more than 31% of teachers reported receiving no training in online lesson design” (Rice & Dawley,2007, p. 26) • to create one hour of training it took 43 hours for instructor-led, 79 hours for basic e-learning, 184 hours for interactive e-learning, and 490 hours for advanced e-learning (Chapman Alliance, 2010) Lack of Research to Guide Practice • studies have focused on unreliable and invalid measures • primary data has been teacher and developer perceptions • no open access research-based standards
  • 5. Newfoundland and Labrador • area of the island is 43,359 square miles, while Labrador covers 112,826 square miles • according to the 2001 Census population for Newfoundland and Labrador was 512,930 (down from 551,795 in 1996) • 268 schools (down from 343 ten years ago) • 67,604 students (down from 118,273 fifteen years ago) • average school size 207.5 pupils – 13.8% have <50 – 13.8% have 50-99 – 21.6% have 100-199 -> 49.2% have <200
  • 6. Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation The CDLI was founded in December 2000 by the Department of Education, in response to the recommendations of the 1999 Sparks-Williams Ministerial Panel on Educational Delivery. The vision of the Centre is to • provide access to educational opportunities for students, teachers and other adult learners in both rural and urban communities in a manner that renders distance transparent; • eliminate geographical and demographic barriers as obstacles to broad, quality educational programs and services; and • develop a culture of e-learning in our schools which is considered to be an integral part of school life for all teachers and students.
  • 7. Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation Synchronous – Online • 30% to 80%, depending on subject area • taught via a virtual classroom (e.g., Elluminate Live) Asynchronous – Offline • remainder of their time • taught via a course management system (e.g., WebCT) • usually consists of independent work from posted homework or assignments or from their textbooks
  • 8. Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation • • • • • You Will Learn – briefly lists, in student friendly language, the instructional outcomes for the lesson; You Should Know – lists, and when necessary elaborates on, knowledge and skills students are expected to have mastered prior to the lesson; Lesson – is self-explanatory and may be broken into multiple pages; Activities – contains further instructional events the student that students need to carry out in order to master the lesson outcomes; and Test Yourself – offers an opportunity for the student to gauge the degree to which the outcomes were achieved.
  • 9. Initial Study The perceptions of the characteristics of effective web-based design for secondary school students within the CDLI environment by • the administration of the CDLI, • course developers and, • those who held the role of both course developer and electronic teacher
  • 10. Initial Study Course developers should: 1. prior to beginning development of any of the web-based material, plan out the course with ideas for the individual lessons and specific items that they would like to include; 2. keep the navigation simple and to a minimum, but don’t present the material the same way in every lesson; 3. provide a summary of the content from the required readings or the synchronous lesson and include examples that are personalized to the students’ own context; 4. ensure students are given clear instructions and model expectations of the style and level that will be required for student work; 5. refrain from using too much text and consider the use of visuals to replace or supplement text when applicable; 6. use multimedia to enhance the content and not simply because it is available; and 7. develop their content for the average or below average student, while including enrichment activities for above average students.
  • 11. Student Study Kari is a grade 12 student at a school of approximately twenty teachers and one hundred and seventy students, with about 50 of those in the high school. The school receives eight different CDLI courses, while Kari has completed three of those and is currently enrolled in three more. Jenni is one of two grade 10 student at a necessary existent school of approximately twenty students and four teachers. The school receives thirteen courses from the CDLI. Jenni has taken one of those as a grade nine student and is close to finishing another four this year. Carla is a grade 12 student at an all grade school with twelve teachers and approximately one hundred and twenty students. The school receives seven different CDLI courses and Carla has taken three of those courses. Annette is a grade 12 student at an all grade school with sixteen teachers and approximately one hundred and fifty students, with about thirty of those in the high school. The school offers three different CDLI courses and Ashley is taking her first one. Becky is a grade 12 student. Her school has approximately one hundred and seventy students, with about fifty students in the secondary grades. Becky has taken a total of seven web-based courses through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation, including four of her six courses this year. Lori is also a grade 12 student. She attends a school with only nineteen students and four teachers in a geographically isolated portion of the province. She is the only student in her particular grade and has taken six courses through the CDLI over the past four years.
  • 12. Findings • • Use of webbased content Lessons for webbased design
  • 13. Use of Web-based Content • Students initially indicate that they don’t use the webbased content that much. “myself personally, I hardly use those lessons” (Kari) “but overall, if they weren’t there it wouldn’t make much of a difference to me I don’t think.” (Kari) “I don’t hardly use these at all” (Jenni) “I have only used them three or four times” (Kari) “in my offline time, I would say one out of five.” (Becky)
  • 14. Use of Web-based Content • However, when discussing each of the individual components it comes out that they do use them more than they initially let on. “I like when the “Lessons” just deal with the content that we learn” (Kari) “the lessons are really good for studying” (Jenni) “I use the MLOs a bit, but not as much as the WebCT content.” (Carla) “I use the WebCT content a lot more.” (Jenni) “I’d say I’d spend half of the class, so about half an hour, every class on the WebCT content.” (Lori) “if I still, I’m still puzzled and I can’t find the answer, can’t find an explanation, I’ll go to my WebCT, to my WebCT material and see if there’s anything there that can help me” (Becky)
  • 15. Use of Web-based Content • One barrier to using the webbased content is the amount of work assigned during offline time. “they always have assignments that you have to do, they’re always, they’re like constantly giving you assignments and stuff” (Jenni) “its almost like the teachers don’t realize that you have courses in school too” (Kari) “there’s always so much work to be done” (Kari) “teachers always have labs or questions or assignments for you to do we’re never short of work” (Becky) “you’re always doing work, there’s always, there’s always work to do.” (Becky)
  • 16. Use of Web-based Content • Another barrier to using the webbased content is how little eteachers actually use it. “but rarely he takes assignments out of those lesson thingies out there” (Kari) “sometimes we do lessons like the one you have there on the board, but other times she just assigns questions from the book.” (Carla) “the only time we do the “Activities” is if there’s readings or extra things that we should know” (Carla) “in the limited time that the teachers have, but if we have extra time to be given to look through the WebCT material or if our teachers always made reference” (Becky) “remind students that it is there and to use it” (Becky)
  • 17. Use of Web-based Content • Another barrier to using the webbased content is they may not trust it. “I use my book a lot more than the WebCT, it might not be explained as good as the book.” (Carla) “not sure if I trust what is in WebCT” (Becky)
  • 18. Web-based Design • Students don’t like text. “instead of just reading out of the old textbook, which gets pretty boring” (Kari) “he has many pictures and write things in his own words, which is really interesting and a lot better than sitting down and reading the book.” (Kari) “basically text is boring and pictures are exciting” (Becky) “text is alright, but sometimes is not really useful” (Becky) “more than just reading through text.” (Becky)
  • 19. Web-based Design • Students enjoy the various media that the Internet is able to offer. “I think the links that they give you because they take you in the other, in other really useful sites that you can really use.” (Jenni) “maybe some more, you know, video type things so that you could actually see what they’re doing” (Lori) “videos and stuff for to show them how its done” (Lori) “interactive things, and like, links to videos and pictures and anything” (Becky) “graphics and videos and things like that, they’re always exciting and can teach you just as much as the text sometimes” (Becky) “there is a little bit of text and some diagrams and examples and little questions throughout” (Becky)
  • 20. Web-based Design • Students want multimedia used to explain concepts and provide information. “watch MLOs and I find they’re really good and they explain things in the video clips and the, there’s a guy there explaining how to do the topics and just background, and its really interesting and it really helps a lot.” (Kari) “diagrams are really good to, for stuff that you don’t really understand, something that could actually show you and be like, let you see how it works.” (Jenni) “the information in there was all done for you exactly what you have to do and you could just keep playing with it over and over that, you, it was really easy to get it after.” (Lori) “I find like, graphics really good and videos, and things like that, and, like I said, they’re just good because it gives you a different way of, ah, understanding the concepts.” (Becky)
  • 21. Web-based Design • Students want to have a good set of notes. “a summary of all that you learned that day and pretty much just summarizing everything up” (Kari) “Yeah, if there good notes, it’s really easier to study.” (Carla) “you need a good set of notes to follow or get someone else to help you, you’ve got to have good notes.” (Annette) “I don’t even use my textbook because he has such good notes done up.” (Annette) “I think it’s important to have a really good set of notes because if you don’t you really, its going to be hard for the course.” (Jenni) “i agree the notes are excellent” (Carla) “to explain it to you and show you how to do it” (Lori)
  • 22. Web-based Design • Students find the review questions, particularly “Test Yourself” quizzes, quite useful. “the thing I like about it is those “Test yourself” because they really give you an idea of what it is going to be like for the test and they help you remember” (Jenni) “the test yourself is really helpful” (Carla) “I always do the “Test yourself” at the end” (Carla) “the test yourself, like I was telling you, which is really good for studying and review.” (Lori) “I find the test yourself really good” (Becky) “the test yourself, is always good, like, it lets you know if you’re on track, if you understand what the lesson’s about” (Becky)
  • 23. Your Questions and Comments
  • 24. Director of Doctoral Studies Sacred Heart University, USA mkbarbour@gmail.com http://www.michaelbarbour.com