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Keynote_RonLegon_Online Learning and Student Success

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Advocates and practitioners of online education often come together to talk among themselves …

Advocates and practitioners of online education often come together to talk among themselves
To the converted, so to speak
This is a chance to share some of the remarkable developments in online learning with a broader audience
To talk about accomplishments and challenges
Like “global warming” online learning isn’t going away

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  • The report acknowledges that online study has more potential to increase time on task than does face-to-face study. The report acknowledges that there was too little data on any of the techniques or variations to draw solid conclusions.
  • Beat national pass rate in every subject except Economics and History! Beat Florida pass rate in every subject but History!
  • Consider the time and place challenged circumstances of the typical online student. Consider the student taking their first online course - it’s not for everyone. Tools like the Quality Matters Rubric reduce dropout rates by removing obstacles and clarifying the purposes of course activities.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Online Learning and Student Success Ron Legon, PhD Executive Director The Quality Matters Program
    • 2. Thanks for the Opportunity to Speak to this Audience
      • Advocates and practitioners of online education often come together to talk among themselves
        • To the converted, so to speak
      • This is a chance to share some of the remarkable developments in online learning with a broader audience
      • To talk about accomplishments and challenges
      • Like “global warming” online learning isn’t going away
    • 3. The Growth of Online Learning in Higher Education
      • Phenomenal growth over the last decade
      • 13% growth from 2006 to 2007
        • With overall growth at 1.2%
      • 22% of all students took at least one online course in fall 2007
      • 3.9 million students enrolled in online courses in fall 2007
    • 4. Growth in Online Enrollment 2002 - 2007 Source: Sloan-C Survey, 2008
    • 5. Source: “Managing Online Education” (2009) WCET and The Campus Computing Project
    • 6. 2 Year Institutions Are At The Forefront
      • Growth is accelerating
      • Movement from individual courses to full online programs
    • 7. Community Colleges Offering Online Degree Programs Source: ITC Survey, 2009
    • 8. Similar Growth in K-12
      • K-12 got a later start, but is catching up
      • 75% of school districts report students enrolled in online or blended courses
      • More than 1 million K-12 students are taking online and blended courses
        • 47% increase in two years
    • 9. The Florida Virtual School 1997-2009
    • 10. Attitudes of Chief Academic Officers
      • Sloan- C annual survey
        • Continues to show growth in acceptance every year
    • 11. Source: Sloan-C Survey, 2008
    • 12. Most schools are on the down slope in adoption of online learning
    • 13. Why is Online Learning So Successful?
      • Fits today’s lifestyle
        • Multi-tasking students - work, family, school
        • Decline in number of traditional, full-time students
      • Uses current tools of communication
      • It works!
    • 14. Online Learning is Here to Stay
      • Growth trends will continue
      • The majority of schools will offer fully online programs
      • Most students will take some fully online or blended courses
      • Most faculty and almost all new faculty will be expected to teach some online courses
      • Online learning is becoming mainstream
    • 15. What Does ‘Mainstream’ Mean?
      • Online teaching assignments are routine
      • Workload differentials disappear
      • Class sizes increase to parity with face-to-face
      • Special incentives for faculty become rare
      • Online course creation no longer seen as experimental
        • unless truly innovative
      • Platform and software changes taken in stride
    • 16. ‘ Mainstream’ Does Not Mean…
      • Parity with face-to-face education in funding, tuition & fees, status, etc.
      • Acceptance by all faculty
      • An end to stakeholder skepticism
      • Maturity in its Technology and Pedagogy There’s lots of work to be done!
    • 17. Lingering Skepticism Reflected in the Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008)
      • Requires national accrediting agencies to
        • Demonstrate their standards for evaluating program quality
        • Create review teams that are well trained and knowledgeable regarding distance ed.
      • Requires National Research Council to compare quality of distance education with campus-based courses
    • 18. Skeptics’ Concerns About Quality
      • Courses are too easy
      • Course completion rates are too low
      • Cheating is rampant
      • Online students are not getting
        • the discipline of the classroom
        • direct contact with faculty and fellow students
        • Experience thinking on their feet
      • Bottom line: online learning shortchanges students
    • 19. Does the Evidence Support the Skeptics?
      • Growing body of research says
        • Students learn at least as much online or in blended courses as in the classroom
      • Early studies suggested “No significant difference”
      • Recent studies give the edge to online learning
    • 20. 2009 DOE Meta-Study
      • Compared 51 studies considered to be valid (44 post-secondary, 7 K-12)
      • Major conclusion: Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction
      • Astounding progress in a 15 year old medium competing with a 1,000 year old tradition.
    • 21. Additional Conclusions of DOE Meta-Study
      • The effectiveness of online learning approaches appears quite broad across different content and learner types.
      • Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction.
    • 22. Further Observations of the DOE Meta-Study
      • Studies in which learners in the online condition spent more time on task than students in the face-to-face condition found a greater benefit for online learning.
      • Most of the variations in the way in which different studies implemented online learning did not affect student learning outcomes significantly.
    • 23. Florida Virtual School AP Scores 2009 Innosight Institute Study
    • 24. But What About Completion Rates?
      • ITC Annual Survey Reports in 2006:
        • Completion Rate in online courses = 72%
        • Completion Rate in face-to-face = 78%
        • Difference = 6%
      • In 2007:
        • Completion Rate in online courses = 65%
        • Completion Rate in face-to-face = 72%
        • Difference = 7%
      • It is a problem, but not a game changer
    • 25. Is There More Cheating in Online Courses?
      • Not demonstrated
      • ‘ Cut and Paste’ plagiarism, purchased research papers and other forms of Internet cheating are serious problems
      • Widespread occurrence in face-to-face and online settings
      • The online setting has better tools to detect it
    • 26. What About the Supposed Advantages of the Classroom?
      • Students need
        • the discipline of the classroom
        • direct contact with faculty and fellow students
        • to learn to think on their feet
      • These benefits of face-to-face are real
      • A complete education should include some face-to-face courses - or blended courses
      • But online study challenges students in other important ways
    • 27. Unique Challenges of Online Study
      • Promotes self-discipline
      • Develops online communications skills essential in modern life and business
      • Expects all students to engage with the material on a regular basis
      • Encourages all students to fully develop and share their thoughts on the subject
    • 28. The Question Remains: How do we build on the early achievements of online learning, assure ongoing advances in quality, and enhance student success?
    • 29. The Components of Quality in Online Learning
      • Institutional Infrastructure
        • Are the tools, technology and training for students and faculty in place?
      • Course Design
        • Are courses built and evaluated using research based standards and best practices?
      • Course Delivery
        • Are faculty trained to implement best practices in teaching their online courses?
    • 30. More Components of Quality
      • Online Support Services
        • Can online students conduct their relationship with the school online? (registration, financial aid, counseling, tutoring, etc.)
        • Are library collections and services available to online students?
      • Resources and Institutional Commitment
        • Is the school leadership willing to commit sufficient resources?
      • Research and Evaluation
        • Are the schools online initiatives under ongoing review?
    • 31. Room for Improvement
      • Not all online Courses/programs are of equal quality
        • Many courses are still poorly designed
        • Some faculty still do not take their responsibilities to the online student seriously (like some classroom faculty)
        • Some institutions still place unnecessary hurdles in the way of online students
        • Some institutions still do not support a 24 x 7 x 365 online environment
      • The list goes on …
    • 32. Source: “Managing Online Education” (2009) WCET and The Campus Computing Project
    • 33. Source: “Managing Online Education” (2009) WCET and The Campus Computing Project
    • 34. Source: “Managing Online Education” (2009) WCET and The Campus Computing Project
    • 35. Online learning advances through communities of practice
      • Sharing what works and what doesn’t
      • Engaging in discussions of pedagogy, technology, best practices, etc.
      • Assuring that each generation of online courses is better than the last, and that
      • Examples: Sloan Consortium, WCET, ITC, MERLOT, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), TLT, MarylandOnline, Quality Matters, etc.
    • 36. The Quality Matters Program as a Community of Practice
      • QM’s focus is on improving course design and promoting a peer review process for evaluating it
        • A 40-standard Rubric
        • Richly annotated
        • Based on best practices
        • Confirmed by research
        • Applicable at every level of higher education
      • Over 5,000 faculty and designers trained
      • Subscriber network of almost 400 schools
    • 37. How the Community Grows
      • QM demonstrates that thousands of faculty are ready and willing to open their courses to their colleagues
      • QM becomes embedded in the campus culture
        • QM training as a faculty development activity
        • QM standards integrated with other QA activities
        • Spread of informal QM-based reviews of courses
      • Schools challenge QM to tackle other QA issues in online education
    • 38. QM and Student Success
      • QM standards are aimed at increasing
        • Student retention
        • Student satisfaction
        • Student performance / learning
      • But QM does not speak directly to students
        • Language of QM speaks to faculty and instructional designers
        • We hope to change this
        • Students should be informed consumers
    • 39. Quality Matters’ Online Learner Bill of Rights©
      • Students value the QM standards
        • Studies by
          • Rick Aman (College of Western Idaho)
          • Penny Ralston-Berg (Penn State)
      • Ralston-Berg study translates the language of the rubric into statements students would understand
      • High Correlation between standards and student’ concerns about online learning
    • 40. Course Overview and Introduction Ralston-Berg Research Literature and Standards Sets Support for Quality Matters Review Standards as of 12/5/05 © 2006 MarylandOnline, Inc. Students’ Rank Instructions for navigating the course 4.86 Instructor introduces him/herself 4.86 Prerequisite knowledge clearly stated 4.82 Minimum technology requirements stated 4.7 A statement introducing students to the course 4.62 Minimum student skills clearly stated 4.58 Netiquette/etiquette behavior 4.06 Students requested to introduce themselves 3.78
    • 41. Top 10 Student Countdown Ralston-Berg
      • Grading policy is easy to understand
      • Feedback received on work related to course activities
      • Required technologies are provided or easily downloaded
      • Assignments appropriate for online learning
      • Materials are easily accessible and usable by student
    • 42. Top 10 Student Countdown Ralston-Berg
      • Methods for submitting assignments appropriate for online learning
      • Materials are well organized
      • Requirements for course interaction clearly articulated
      • Outcomes are realistic and achievable
      • Adequate and easy instructions on how to meet outcomes
    • 43. Next Steps in Development of Online Learner’s Bill of Rights
      • Further testing of student attitudes
      • Seek institutional pledges to honor these practices
      • E.g.,
        • “ Online learners have a right to feedback on their graded assignments?”
        • “ Online learners have a right to know the purpose of each major assignment”
    • 44. Summing Up
      • Online learning continues to grow
      • Is joining the mainstream of higher ed.
      • Quality is remarkably high for a new medium
      • But quality improvements are needed to realize the full potential of online learning
      • Improvements will come through communities of practice like QM
      • Our efforts will focus on student success

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