Course Tech 2013, Angie Rudd & Kelly Hinson, Strengthening Academic Internet Learning


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Strengthening Academic Internet Learning (SAIL)is Gaston College’s new online quality initiative. The expectation is
that with an increased effort on online course quality and a comprehensive online student support system, student
learning will improve in online courses. In a concepts-based presentation,two Gaston College instructors will show
attendees how these SAIL standards were used to improve their online course quality. Examples will be presented
from Introduction to Computers, Web Fundamentals, Emerging Technologies and User Support&Software
Evaluation courses. Statistics will be used to show the increase in student learning outcomes from the SAIL
initiative. Attendees will get to take away the online course standards used by the college and approved by SACS.
Come SAIL with us!

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  • Welcome!I am Angie Rudd and this is Kelly Hinson and we are instructors from Gaston College in Gastonia, NC.In this session we will be presenting Gaston College's new online quality initiative - QEPStrengthening Academic Internet Learning (SAIL) This initiative was built on the expectation that - with an increased effort on online course quality and a comprehensive online student support system, -----student learning will improve in online courses.
  • AngieJust a little information about where we are located—GC is part of a statewide Community College System in NC.The NC Community College System is made up of 58 schools AND is the third largest in the nation, based on the number of colleges.GC serves two counties and enrolls over 5,000 students each term in curriculum programs and 16,000 students in continuing ed programsWe are accredited by SACS to award Associate Degrees
  • Just a quick visualof where we are located. Gaston County is about 30 miles West of Charlotte.A little fun timeAudience Participation: We traveled about 2,300 miles to be here today. So who in the room is the closest to Gaston College?
  • During the last ten years, Gaston College has seen unprecedented growth in student demand for more flexible course offerings. Online courses help community colleges serve students whose job and family situations compete with their ability to attend traditional classes. Gaston College first offered courses via the Internet during academic year 1999-2000. Eight Internet courses were offered. Last year * now two years ago (2010-2011), the College delivered 443 online course sections, serving 4,760 students, representing 53% of the total curriculum student population. Over the years, the College has guided online instruction by maintaining an Online Instruction Committee (OIC) charged with identifying and implementing established best practices in online course delivery. In 2007, this committee established a voluntary pilot project, Gaston College Online Quality Initiative, certifying online courses which utilized these best practices.
  • KellyIn support of the Gaston College mission to promote student success and lifelong learning through high caliber, affordable, and comprehensive educational programs and services, Gaston College has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) called Strengthening Academic Internet Learning (SAIL).The benefits are:Promoting student learningResponding to the increased demand in distance educationExpanding the College’s commitment to online course excellence AND to distance education as a viable method of course delivery
  • Kelly:Here is the Link to the QEP document if you are interested. the plan is---- to show you each of the standards in practice in courses showing similarities and creativity across disciplines. Remember, we did not have any influence over these standards. Yes, we might have been occasionally asked for an opinion, but overall, we just went to a meeting, decided to give this a try, and then did battles as we needed to.As we go thru you will notice that our Learning Management System is Blackboard just so you understand our lingo.
  • Kelly:This is what the SAIL standards look like in practice. Each of you should have a handout of the details which we will also cover in our presentation.The SAIL standard rubric has eight parts.Each of the 8 areas also have sub-areas that you will find in the QEP document and we are going to talk about today.
  • The first area on the rubric isCourse Introduction. This area emphasizes that the design/organization of the course materials is made clear to students from the start of the course. This means that as instructors we do not change big items in the course after the class starts. It also means we all have an announcement that greets the students and tells them how to navigate around the course.PULL UP THE COURSE- course announcement at beginning – CIS 110
  • Show this in CIS 110 and Web 110.7 components make up the Course Introduction. Besides the welcoming announcement, we need a statement of purpose of the course and how to approach the online learning environment.We need etiquette expectations for discussion boards, emails, and even phone calls. All instructors need a biography and a picture along with office hours and preferred method of communication. Minimal technical skills for the course are included as well as the syllabus and the course calendar. Most of these items are put under COURSE INFORMATION and FACULTY INFORMATION.
  • You can see this in our CIS 110 class and our Web 110. These courses look similar, but contain information specific for the class.
  • PULL UP COURSE – Course Information for Whole Course – cis110Learning Outcomes – number 2 – has 2 components. This components require us to have clear and measurable learning outcomes for the course. This, of course, required some re-wording of outcomes – sometimes combining or removing some. At other times, we could just change some words around. This component also directs us to have outcomes with each module or folder of work. The outcomes on the folder can be different that the overall course outcomes. Many times we just list the learning objectives of each chapter.
  • Having measurable outcomes has helped us focus the outcomes. In most cases, we had to tweak the wording so that the outcomes are “measurable”. Sometimes this involved the approval of the department chair.In CIS 110 this looks like …… In ????? This looks like….
  • PULL UP COURSE – Assignments - CTS 110 vs CTS 287For component 3, Assessment Strategies, we have 5 areas to check. Some are easy to meet – like “self-check” or practices tests. Or we can give instructor feedback without a grade on a “practice” assignment. Grades must be available within one week of the assignment due date – but you can have noted exceptions. The grading policy should be in place at the beginning of the semester and in COURSE INFORMATION.
  • The two areas that instructions struggle with the most are the “varied” and “a variety” of assignments. The reason behind this is to keep an instructor from only have a discussion board class or a multiple-choice test class.Because of different learning styles, we are encouraged as instructors to provide different types of assessments and assignments. You can see that in CIS 110 – we use SAM – training/projects/exams and Discovering computer practice tests, multiple choice tests and fill-in-the-blanks; HoHowever in Angie’s CTS 287 class -----Project based Assessments – group work online, we create wiki’s based on different Emerging Technologies with criteria that are set forth.Individual work – a culminating emerging technology proposal that the student chooses and presents online.Exam – Final – Choose an Emerging Technology from the Gartner Top 10 lists that was not covered this semester and analyze and make a prediction based on the what they have learned from the Hype Cycle process.
  • Component 4 makes sure the online course is comprehensive. It has 4 areas which address the depth of the material as well as just making sure the instructions are clear. As you know, we can write instructions thinking one thing, and 3 students will pop up who read it a different way.
  • By chunking our material into folders/chapters/modules and having all the learning objectives for that chapter together, the student can easily see that the assignments for that chapter tie to the learning objectives.We also must have some critical thinking – it does not have to be every chapter.We consider practice tests that can be taken over and over to be remedial activities. We also some times provide flash cards on quizlet. And we have links to additional information to encourage advanced learning.
  • The course must be evaluated by a content expert. For us, this is usually our loving department chair, Mark Shellman. However, on occasion, I will go it or Angie can depending on who has taught the course before. You just can’t vet your own class!
  • DB, Email, announcements with emailInstructor-student – CIS 110 - SAMStudent-student – CTS 287Sometimes other tools….blogs, wiki CTS 286 wikiComponent 5 covers Interaction between instructor and student, among students and between the student and the course. This is to encourage a learning community or environment that makes students feel like they belong.
  • Component 5 has 5 areas which are fairly easy to meet. Turn around for grading is 1 week and turn around for responses is 1 business day. This is a change from the initial 3 business days, and this change was implemented because of student expectations in the world today.It’s easy to use Announcements to communicate and also send the announcement in an email. Discussion boards can be used and email.
  • Number 5 has changed since the start of SAIL and has been the most controversial – it started out as 5 synchronous opportunities. An instructor had to offer 5 synchronous opportunities per online SAIL course per semester. In technology areas, we found that students did not come to these. However, in math or accounting, the students would show up or participate in a web conference. After some heated discussions – Angie leading the way for us – this was amended to 5 synchronous and/or asynchronous communication events.
  • ANGIEShow SAIL shell so more focus on content but standards that can be copiedThis covers CAMPUS RESOURCES, BLACKBOARD VIDEOS, BLACKBOARD HELP, etc.
  • Course Navigation and Technology covers 3 areas, all of which are to make sure that courses look fairly consistent and logical and that the first 3 areas areAnnouncements, Course Information, and Faculty Information. We are allowed to use our own color choices as long as they meet ada requirements. We also need dividers between headings.
  • AngieAgain, This objective can be fulfilled simply by copying some tabs and information from the SAIL standard course. This component is to make sure the student has access to college information by linking to it within bb. The SAIL team create folders and tabs that we can copy into our course to make things consistent and so that instructors can focus on content.
  • AngieWe are encouraged to make online courses accessible to all regardless of having a student who is identified as needing an ADA compliance. Of course, this is a constantly changing and improving area. We are only asked to do our best to make the courses ADA compliant; however, as any instructor would, we work with identified students who need extra accessibility features.
  • The accessibility features are reviewed by the SAIL administrators using a screen reader. This helps them identify areas that we can correct for students before the course is deployed. We are encouraged to always have closed captioned videos or an accompanying transcript with the video.And pictures must have a caption. If you miss something while working on the course, when the SAIL team uses the screen reader, they will let you know what needs to be fixed. So we can say this is not a “turn it in and get turned down” project. The SAIL team works with us, and sometimes against us, but to always focus on what is best for the student. It is a give and take, but also another pair of eyes finding your spelling mistakes or inconsistencies.
  • KellySo the big question is does this really work? At the beginning of this QEP/SAIL project, the SAIL team picked certain course to take measurements of based on the final exam and learning outcomes. CIS 110 is one of the courses monitored every fall semester. So the summer before the fall semester, I sit down with the questions bank and start picking questions for the final and matching them to the learning outcomes. For the Fall 2011 semester this looked like….
  • We have 5 student learning outcomes which were determined before the start of the SAIL project. At the start of every new book, I then compile the 100 question multiple choice exam. After compiling the exam, I then mark each question with a number 1 – 5, indicating which learning objective it measures. Each question can only measure one objective. I sort the questions so that all of the questions for each objective are together. Then exam is then put into the SAIL course so that when each instructor has the SAIL course copied into their course for the semester, then exam is already in place. The exam cannot be randomized at present, due to the need to collect such large amounts of data and the limited way that Blackboard can provide that.
  • As you can see, each learning objective is mapped to certain questions.
  • Some learning objectives, by their nature, get more questions than others.
  • This learning objective always has the most questions.
  • At the end of the exam period of the fall semester, each instructor exports the exam data into an excel file and sends the file to a SAIL team member. This person sorts through all the data and gives us feedback. At the current time, we do not have results from fall 2012. The results we will show you are from fall 2011.
  • ANGIEThe SAIL team started with the hypothesis that seated students will out-perform online students.Remember we had 5 SLO’s that we measured.**the online students out-performed the seated students in every category!
  • ?removeANGIEThe SAIL team started with the hypothesis that seated students will out-perform online students.Remember we had 5 SLO that we measured.
  • ?removeANGIEAs you can see, the online students out-performed the seated students in every category.
  • ? removeAngie- so what we found from the data –The Failure Rateof online student is 7.89%of seated student 14.93%As you can see, more seated students than online students fail CIS 110 (~double)Our theory for that is that when students show up for class, regardless of whether or not they complete work, we tend to let them stay in the class and fail them.If students are online attendance is measured as active participation…~if you are not actively doing your work (participating) you are dropped.
  • ?removeBaseline retention rate of online student is 69.09%Baseline retention rate of seated student is 84.01%Retaining doesn’t mean passing.Same theory holds from the previous failure rateOur theory for that is that when students show up for class, regardless of whether or not they complete work, we tend to let them stay in the class and fail them.If students are online attendance is measured as active participation…~if you are not actively doing your work (participating) you are dropped.We find that online instructors are quicker to drop students. We don’t know why except that if students stop signing into Blackboard, we tend to drop them as soon as we can.
  • Retention Rate lower in online classesFailure rate higher in seated classes
  • Kelly:As an instructor if you chooseto have your course SAIL qualified these are steps in the process. The first of which is to attend SAIL training which the SAIL team offers 1 – 2 times a semester – more at the start of the project.The first page of the form that we turn in once we are ready to submit a course is where we put the course name and get the appropriate signatures. Attached to this form is a template with all the SAIL standards. We write where things are located in the course on the template for the SAIL review team.
  • The current rules in place are listed on the screen. If you see Pilot Level 1, 2 or 3, those would be from our pilot project. In the pilot project you could take your online course to different levels, with level 3 being the highest and level 1 being the minimal changes. Therefore, level 2 and 3 course are considered to be closer to meeting the SAIL guidelines and there for pay a little less.In technology, most of our classes have changed so much they are all considered new even if they were previously Level 3.Any questions?Last question giveaway -
  • Thanks for coming today! We hope you will see that these standards work to enhance the online learning environment.
  • Course Tech 2013, Angie Rudd & Kelly Hinson, Strengthening Academic Internet Learning

    1. 1. Strengthening Academic Internet Learning Angie Rudd Kelly Hinson Instructors, Gaston College, Gastonia, NC
    2. 2. Background Information• serves Gaston and Lincoln County• enrolls over 5,000 students each term in curriculum. programs and about 16,000 students in continuing education programs.• part of the statewide North Carolina Community College System • made up of 58 schools • is the 3rd largest in the nation based on number of colleges• is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award Associate Degrees.
    3. 3. Background Information.
    4. 4. Online Course Growth Online Course Growth600 443 Internet courses offered 4,760 students ~ 53% of total curriculum student population Online Course Growth500400300200 8 Internet courses offered100 0
    5. 5. The Benefit of Gaston College‘s QEP• Promotes student learning• Responds to the increased demand in distance education• Expands the College‘s commitment to online course excellence and to distance education as a viable method of course delivery
    6. 6. Link to Gaston College QEP
    7. 7. SAIL Course Standard Rubric1. Course Introduction2. Learning Outcomes3. Assessment Strategies4. Instructional Materials5. Interaction6. Course Navigation and Technology7. Student Support8. Accessibility
    8. 8. SAIL STANDARD COURSE• In Blackboard, our QEP/SAIL directors have a shell containing much of the needed information for an online course as well as a good layout to follow. We are encouraged to copy some items, but are allowed to make changes necessary to the course.
    9. 9. COURSE INTRODUCTIONThe overall design of the course ismade clear to the student at thebeginning of the course.
    10. 10. COURSE INTRODUCTION1.1 Instructions make clear to the student how to get started andwhere to find various course components, including a welcomemessage on the front page.1.2 A statement introduces the student to the purpose of thecourse and to its components, and how best to approach theonline learning environment.1.3 Etiquette expectations (sometimes called “netiquette”) foronline discussions, email, and other forms of communication arestated clearly.
    11. 11. COURSE INTRODUCTION1.4 A self-introduction by the instructor is appropriate and availableonline. This includes an instructor “bio” with a photo, along withmultiple forms of communication (for example, email, phone, chat,etc.), office hours and clear instructions on how best to contact theinstructor.1.5 Minimum technical skills of the student are clearly stated.1.6 An approved syllabus as determined by the divisional dean ispresent.1.7 A course calendar/timeline detailing all due dates for assignmentsis present.
    12. 12. Learning OutcomesLearning outcomes are clearly stated andexplained. They assist students in focusingtheir efforts in the course.
    13. 13. Learning Outcomes2.1 The course learning outcomes are clearly stated andmeasurable.2.2 The module/unit learning outcomes are clearly stated andmeasurable, and are consistent with the course level outcomes.
    14. 14. Assessment StrategiesEstablished methods are used to measureeffective learning, evaluate student progressby reference to stated learningoutcomes, and are designed to be integral tothe learning process.
    15. 15. Assessment Strategies3.1 Varied assessments measure all of the stated learningoutcomes and are consistent with course activities and resources.3.2 A variety of types of assignments are used to assess studentlearning (i.e., quizzes, discussionforums, projects, papers, exams, surveys, etc.) and toaccommodate different learning styles; activities occur frequentlythroughout the duration of the course.
    16. 16. Assessment Strategies3.3 The course grading policy is stated clearly, detailing themethod by which assignments will be graded and including howthe grades will be made available.3.4 Grades are made available to students online in a secureenvironment and posted within 1 week of due date (some assignmentsmay require more grading time; details of extended times must be clarified by instructor.)3.5 “Self-check” or practice assignments are provided, withtimely feedback to students.
    17. 17. Instructional MaterialsInstructional materials are sufficientlycomprehensive to achieve stated courselearning outcomes and are prepared byqualified persons competent in their fields.
    18. 18. Instructional Materials4.1 The relationship between the instructional materials andthe assignments is clearly explained to the student.4.2 The instructional materials have sufficient depth for thestudent to master the required outcomes.4.3 The instructional materials provide activities that helpstudents develop critical thinking, analysis and problem-solvingskills and are explained with examples or models; individualizedinstruction, remedial activities, or resources for advancedlearning activities are provided.
    19. 19. Instructional Materials4.4 Clear instructions are provided for completing andsubmitting course assignments, activities, and assessments.4.5 Course content has been evaluated by a content expert andadequately reflects potential mastery of the course studentlearning outcomes.
    20. 20. InteractionMeaningful interaction between theinstructor and students, among students,and between students and course materialsis employed to motivate students and fosterintellectual commitment and personaldevelopment.
    21. 21. Interaction5.1 Learning activities require instructor-student, content-student, and if appropriate to the course, student-studentinteraction.5.2 Clear standards are set for instructor responsiveness oravailability.• Instructor’s methods of collecting and returning work are clearly explained.• Turn-around time for response is one (1) business days and grades should be posted within one (1) week.
    22. 22. Interaction5.3 The requirements for student interaction are clearlyarticulated.5.4 Learning activities use a variety of technologytools/teaching methods to facilitatecommunication, enhance learning, and interactively engagestudents.5.5 The instructor must provide five (5) opportunities forsynchronous and/or asynchronous communication eventsthroughout the semester
    23. 23. Course Navigation and TechnologyCourse navigation and the technologyemployed in the course foster studentengagement and ensure access toinstructional materials and resources.
    24. 24. Course Navigation and Technology6.1 Navigation follows the college standard and islogical, consistent, and efficient.• Content is made available or “chunked” in manageable segments (i.e., presented in distinct learning units or modules).• Courses are to be structured per the SAIL template with the first three items being; Announcements, Course Information, then Faculty Information, with the use of sub headers and dividers.6.2 Students have ready access to the technologies required inthe course.6.3 Course materials use standard formats to ensureaccessibility.
    25. 25. Student SupportThe course facilitates student access toinstitutional services essential to studentsuccess.
    26. 26. Student Support7.1 The course instructions articulate or link to a clear description ofthe technical support offered.7.2 Course instructions articulate or link to an explanation of how theInstitution’s academic support system can assist the student ineffectively using the resources provided.7.3 Course instructions articulate or link to an explanation of how theInstitution’s student support services can help students reach theireducational goals.7.4 Course instructions answer basic questions related toresearch, writing, technology, etc., or link to tutorials or otherresources that provide the information.
    27. 27. AccessibilityThe face-to-face and online coursecomponents are accessible to all students.
    28. 28. Accessibility8.1 The course incorporates ADA standards and reflectsconformance with Institutional policy regarding accessibility inall courses.8.2 Course pages and course materials provide equivalentalternatives to auditory and visual content.8.3 Course pages have links that are self-describing andmeaningful.8.4 The course ensures screen readability. (Fonts are easy toread and consistent throughout the course.)
    29. 29. Does this really work?
    30. 30. Student Learning Outcomes Measured1. Demonstrate proper use of terminology inrelation to information technology.Questions: 1 – 15 (15 points)
    31. 31. Student Learning Outcomes2. Use critical thinking to identifylegal, ethical, social, and security issuesrelated the different areas of informationtechnology, including ways to safeguardagainst computer viruses, worms, andTrojan horses.Questions: 16 – 31 (16 points)
    32. 32. Student Learning Outcomes3. Demonstrate knowledge of currentapplication packages (including wordprocessing, spreadsheet, database, andpresentation tools) and operating systems(including basic operating system functions)and the relationship between them.Questions: 32 – 52 (21 points)
    33. 33. Student Learning Outcomes4. Demonstrate understanding of the interrelationshipbetween hardware, application packages, systemssoftware and servers by being able to:• Describe the categories of computers• Summarize how various input devices work• Identify the various types of printers• Describe the characteristics of various storage devices• Describe commonly used communications devices• Differentiate among the various types of programming languages.• Questions: 53 – 79 (27 points)
    34. 34. Student Learning Outcomes5. Demonstrate knowledge of how theInternet and World Wide Webwork, including explaining how to viewpages and search for information on theWeb.Questions: 80 – 100 (21 points)
    35. 35. So what did the Data tell us?
    36. 36. Charting our Waves Charting our Waves % of points earned 95.00% 90.00% 85.00%Axis Title Online WAVE sections Seated, Traditional Sections 80.00% 75.00% 70.00% SLO #1 SLO #2 SLO #3 SLO #4 SLO #5
    37. 37. Charting Our Waves Student Learning Outcome #1 Student Learning Outcome #2 Student Learning Outcome #3 (15 points) (16 points) (21 points) Total Total Percentage of Percentage of Percentage of Total Points Points Points Points Earned Points Earned Points Earned Earned SLO #1 Earned Earned SLO #1 SLO #2 SLO #3 SLO #2 SLO #3Online WAVE Sections 519 91.05% 565 92.93% 713 89.35%Seated, Traditional Sections 3148 90.46% 3278 88.31% 4096 84.07%Difference 0.59% 4.62% 5.28%
    38. 38. Charting Our Waves Student Learning Outcome #4 Student Learning Outcome #5 (27 points) (21 points) Percentage of Total Points Percentage of Total Points Points Earned Earned SLO Points Earned Earned SLO #4 SLO #4 #5 SLO #5Online WAVESections 882 85.96% 691 86.59%Seated, TraditionalSections 4931 78.72% 3969 81.47%Difference 7.24% 5.12%
    39. 39. Indirect Assessment QuestionsWhat is the baseline failure rate for students in the onlinecourse?• Out of the 38 students who completed the online CIS 110: Introduction to Computers, three of them received a failing grade in the course. This represents a failure rate of 7.89%.What is the baseline failure rate for students in the seated,traditional courses?• Out of the 268 students who completed a seated, traditional CIS 110: Introduction to Computers course, 40 of them received a failing grade in the course. This represents a failure rate of 14.93%.
    40. 40. Indirect Assessment QuestionsWhat is the baseline retention rate for students in the onlinecourse?• Out of the 55 students who registered for the online CIS 110: Introduction to Computers course, 38 of them completed the course. This represents a retention rate of 69.09%.What is the baseline retention rate for students in the seated,traditional courses?• Out of the 319 students who registered for the seated, traditional course in CIS 110: Introduction to Computers, 268 of them completed the course. This represents a retention rate of 84.01%.
    41. 41. Charting Our Waves Total Enrollment Number Total Registered Retention Rate Failure Rate at End of Semester of FsOnline WAVE Sections 55 38 69.09% 3 7.89%Seated, Traditional 319 268 84.01% 40 14.93%Difference -14.92% -7.03%
    42. 42. Theories?• Retention rate is lower in Online classes – Active participation • Online – attendance measured by active participation -- -dropped if not active • Seated – you can come to class and do turn in no work and not be dropped. – Retention rate is tied to attendance – Online students are different• Failure rate higher in Seated classes – The way active participation is measured
    43. 43. The Instructor Process• Attend SAIL training• Discuss with the Department Chair• Fill out the SAIL Request form• Get the appropriate signatures• Have the SAIL shell created in Blackboard• Meet with the SAIL QEP administrators• Begin work on the course• Meet with the SAIL QEP administrators as needed• Have course content verified by a content expert• Submit the course for SAIL evaluation
    44. 44. Rules• February 28 and September 30 are the only 2 dates that courses can be submitted• Pay Scale for Faculty: – New Course $1000 – Pilot Level 1 course $1000 – Pilot Level 2 or 3 course $750• Paid 2 times a year – May and November
    45. 45. Come SAILing with Gaston College