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Online Learning Communities: Build     Them and They Might Stay               Alison Hedrick                Debra Geist   ...
Session Description• Do your online courses tend to have higher withdrawal rates  than their traditional or hybrid counter...
Agenda•   Introduction•   Background•   Engaging and Retaining Online Students•   Future Study•   Conclusion
Introduction• Sense of isolation is often cited as a reason  for lower retention rates in online courses.• An abundance of...
Background• IT 2101  – Digital literacy course• Hybrid and Online formats• QM Certified Course
Engaging and Retaining Online Students•   Online discussions•   Videos•   Social Media•   Emerging Technologies•   Persona...
Online (threaded) discussions• Spring 2012         • Summer 2012  – Introductory        – Introductory    Discussion post ...
Student Feedback• This is by far the best online class I have taken. I feel like I am  getting to know the people in the c...
Videos• Spring 2012    • Summer 2012  – No videos!     – Weekly Introduction                     Videos                   ...
Student Feedback•   I love the videos! Im not someone who asks a lot of questions during a    class or needs a lot of atte...
Social Media• Visualization   – Glogster   – Wordle
Social Media• Social Bookmarking   – Pinterest
Emerging Technologies• Synchronous  –   Wimba Classroom  –   Google Hangouts  –   Skype  –   Chatroom (within LMS)• Asynch...
Personalization• Email students who did not meet weekly  requirements.• Address students by name in emails.• Create and sh...
Student Feedback• I am planning on staying enrolled in this  class, but I registered late and had a minor  issue getting s...
Future Study• Two approaches to online courses  – One section has a more personal approach    and incorporates weekly vide...
Future Ideas• Glogster Group Project• Study Session  – Google Hangout  – Google Drive
Results• Withdrawal Rates (Online)  – Spring 2012    • 17%  – Summer 2012    • 7%  – Fall 2012    • 4%
Conclusion• As educators, we must better understand  how to engage students and motivate  them to learn.• After seeing way...
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Course Tech 13, Alison Hedrick & Debra Geist, Online Learning Communities: Build Them and They Might Stay

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Do your online courses tend to have higher withdrawal rates than their traditional or hybrid counterparts? Sense of
isolation is often cited as a reason for lower retention rates in online courses; therefore, an abundance of literature
advocates the benefits of building a close-knit online learning community. The question is, how do you build a
true community that inspires peer-to-peer learning? In this session, presenters will demonstrate ways they have
successfully leveraged technology to build this type of community, resulting in a decreased withdrawal rate (from
17 percent to 4 percent)in an actual online course. Specific strategies for using synchronous and asynchronous
tools to create more involved learning communities will be discussed to offer participants new approaches for
engaging and retaining online students.

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Course Tech 13, Alison Hedrick & Debra Geist, Online Learning Communities: Build Them and They Might Stay

  1. 1. Online Learning Communities: Build Them and They Might Stay Alison Hedrick Debra Geist Kennesaw State University
  2. 2. Session Description• Do your online courses tend to have higher withdrawal rates than their traditional or hybrid counterparts? Sense of isolation is often cited as a reason for lower retention rates in online courses; therefore, an abundance of literature advocates the benefits of building a close-knit online learning community. The question is, how do you build a true community that inspires peer-to-peer learning? In this concept focused session, presenters will demonstrate ways they have successfully leveraged technology to build this type community, resulting in a decreased withdrawal rate (from 17 percent to 4 percent) in an actual online course. Specific strategies for using synchronous and asynchronous tools to create more involved learning communities will be discussed to offer participants new approaches for engaging and retaining online students.
  3. 3. Agenda• Introduction• Background• Engaging and Retaining Online Students• Future Study• Conclusion
  4. 4. Introduction• Sense of isolation is often cited as a reason for lower retention rates in online courses.• An abundance of literature advocates the benefits of building a close-knit online learning community.• Student-student interaction is a key component of online learning.• How do you build a true community that inspires peer-to-peer learning?
  5. 5. Background• IT 2101 – Digital literacy course• Hybrid and Online formats• QM Certified Course
  6. 6. Engaging and Retaining Online Students• Online discussions• Videos• Social Media• Emerging Technologies• Personalization
  7. 7. Online (threaded) discussions• Spring 2012 • Summer 2012 – Introductory – Introductory Discussion post Discussion post • 79 posts • 105 posts – Stuck on SAM – Stuck on SAM • 33 posts • 58 posts – Class Café – Class Café • 43 posts • 67 posts – Weekly Participation Posts • Games, new technology tools
  8. 8. Student Feedback• This is by far the best online class I have taken. I feel like I am getting to know the people in the class just through how active everyone is in the discussions.• I appreciate how personal this course feels for an online course. For instance I feel like Im getting to know my classmates through introduction and discussion posts.• I believe our class has amazing energy and is very enthusiastic. Its great how we can all come together and help each other out, form groups and communicate.• I loved Voki, Poll Everywhere and Eyejot is really cool. I love how you incorporate all of these different things into what were learning, it really keeps things from getting boring.
  9. 9. Videos• Spring 2012 • Summer 2012 – No videos! – Weekly Introduction Videos • Eyejot & Voki – Instructor Introduction Video • YouTube
  10. 10. Student Feedback• I love the videos! Im not someone who asks a lot of questions during a class or needs a lot of attention, but I really appreciate the videos. A human voice explaining things is nice after sitting at the computer for so long!• I think the videos are great! After being on the computer doing assignment, it really helps to put a face to the class. If theres no real figure I think Id have a hard time visualizing the person giving me the work and probably wouldnt do it...or at least be less motivated.• Personally, I really enjoy your weekly use of Eyejot. Its a nice form of one- way communication for me (as a student) to actually get to see you so I can relate better when I read your e-mails and responses to posts. Its reassuring to see that you are there to help us if we need it. I hope you continue to use Eyejot for your future classes, its really great!• I LOVE the weekly messages you post because I get to see that you are a real person, not just a professor. Your son is so adorable too. Your videos make this online class feel less distant.• This class is my first online class that the teacher has made such an effort to be real with the students.
  11. 11. Social Media• Visualization – Glogster – Wordle
  12. 12. Social Media• Social Bookmarking – Pinterest
  13. 13. Emerging Technologies• Synchronous – Wimba Classroom – Google Hangouts – Skype – Chatroom (within LMS)• Asynchronous – Google Drive – Screencasts • Screencast-O-Matic – Poll Everywhere
  14. 14. Personalization• Email students who did not meet weekly requirements.• Address students by name in emails.• Create and share PowerPoint presentation of class roster.
  15. 15. Student Feedback• I am planning on staying enrolled in this class, but I registered late and had a minor issue getting signed into the new online platform. I will finish the work tonight if thats ok. Im sorry if this has caused any inconvenience for you, but I appreciate you checking - it makes the online environment feel more personal.• Thanks again for the reminder. I read the chapter but I cannot find the binary conversion which is why I havent done it yet.
  16. 16. Future Study• Two approaches to online courses – One section has a more personal approach and incorporates weekly videos. – One section uses a less personal approach and communicates mainly by email. – Feedback, grading, assignments, quizzes and are the same in both courses.
  17. 17. Future Ideas• Glogster Group Project• Study Session – Google Hangout – Google Drive
  18. 18. Results• Withdrawal Rates (Online) – Spring 2012 • 17% – Summer 2012 • 7% – Fall 2012 • 4%
  19. 19. Conclusion• As educators, we must better understand how to engage students and motivate them to learn.• After seeing ways in which we have successfully leveraged technology to build an online learning community, hopefully you can take home some new approaches for engaging and retaining online students!

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