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Motivating the Distance Learning Student


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Motivating the Distance Learning Student

  1. 1. Motivating theDistance LearningStudentFlorida State College – Open CampusDr. Sheri Litt, Academic DeanAmy Moore, Instructional Program Manager
  2. 2. Purpose:The purpose of this workshop is to explore ways ofmotivating online learners by introducing you tosome important standards and best practices inDistance Learning today. Over the course of the next three hours, you will have the opportunity to learn, engage scenarios, and - of course - to participate in ongoing discussion.
  3. 3. What Is ?Motivation hasmany different definitions:
  4. 4. The MUSIC modelof student motivationBrett Jones, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at Virginia Techhas developed a helpful model by which to understand online student motivation.
  5. 5. Real comments from online students• My professor helped me to understand the materials and gave me encouragement to stay focused. I enjoyed his class and will recommend it to other students.• This professor was amazing, she follows up quickly, answers all emails promptly and is very helpful. I definitely recommend her to anyone.• I have taken MAT0028 4 times between 2 different schools and failed miserably. 2 because of concentration issues outside of school (life going downhill!) and the other 2 because the professors were a joke, they had no concern for the students or a desire to teach students. I have struggled with factoring since 10th grade and after watching one of his videos it clicked in, NOW I am helping a friend of mine who’s having difficulties. I would recommend this professor any day to anyone who struggles with math, I just wish he was teaching MAT 1033 • The class was challenging, but the professor made it easier by encouraging interaction through the discussions and team project• I have taken other online courses before, but I have never had a better online Professor as Professor Haworth. He seems to be always present which can be very hard to do when everything is being done online. Professor Hayworth is a pro, he was timely with his responses to my emails and always posted the weekly announcements clearly.
  6. 6. Real commentsfrom online students• I will never take another course by this professor. She was very uninterested in helping with problems, and had an attitude of "figure it out yourself".• Uncommunicative, and when the professor did choose to communicate, it was usually on an entirely different subject than that proprosed/questioned. Several times, I received response emails about entirely different topics/subjects and eventually, no response to the original email topic.• All I got was posted grades. Absolutely no feedback on the work that I did. While satisfied with the grades themselves, a little commentary from time to time would have been nice.• This class was very weird from the beginning and the instructor could[n’t] care less! I am not sure if all the hard work I put into this class even matters.What do these say about each student’s motivation, if you go by the MUSICmodel?
  7. 7. Let’s TalkOnline Students
  8. 8. Online student profile• Most online students are adults (25 or older)• Many juggle jobs and families, in addition to school “Compared to traditional students, many more adult students have full-time jobs, spouses, and/or dependent children—in short, they are place-bound and busy people.” “Addressing the Needs of Adult Learners” (AASCU)• Whether young or older, most students entering college require some remediation So, how do we respond to these diverse student needs?
  9. 9. Open Campusstudent demographics Gender Age 0% 4% Male 17% < 19 34% 34% 19-20 Female 21-24 66% 25-29 26% 30+ 19% Source: JIRA Data Report
  10. 10. A Typical Online Student
  11. 11. With a diverse student body… … a “one-size-fits-all” approach won’t work.Digital Natives Digital ImmigrantsThink of themselves as Think of themselves asstudents teachersShort attention spans, parallel Longer attention, linearprocessing, random processing, step-by-step, textaccess, graphics first, play- first, work-oriented, stand-oriented, connected aloneSelf-centered Instructor-centeredProcess is more important Content is more importantAdapted from Alexandra Pickett and Marc Prensky, 2005 and 2007
  12. 12. Potential barriersWhat can “unmotivate” students? Technology or content issues Lack of communication Lack of empowerment Life issues + instructor inflexibility Lack of individualized engagement They often have questions they’re afraid to ask… What if it’s too much work? What if I don’t understand? What if I fall behind? Is it too late to get back on track?
  13. 13. Combating those barriersWe will focus on three important areas to helpincrease online student motivation. Communication Grading and feedback Making technology work for you
  14. 14. A note before we begin…“Online learners must understand the increased personalresponsibilities that come with the flexibility of a virtualenvironment, while online educators must differentiatebetween academic rigor and an unyielding rigidity thatwould conflict with the benefits associated with taking acourse through the Internet.”“Maximal Interaction inthe Virtual Classroom:Establishing Connectionswith Adult Online Learners.”Walter Rankin, PhD.George Mason University.
  15. 15. Communication
  16. 16. OverviewEspecially online, students are looking for a sense ofconnection and engagement; this, in turn, contributes totheir persistence and success in the classroom.Therefore, it is vital that we look for ways to connect andprovide the personal attention that students crave.We set the stage for the tone of each class through avariety of communications, including our syllabi, ourannouncements, our e-mails, our feedback notes, and oursynchronous contact with students. So, how do we start providing better communication?
  17. 17. An encouraging tone countsOne recent study of online students found thatwhen comments were communicated respectfully, “Students felt agency. They felt more involved in the class.”Five Pedagogical Practices to Improve Your Online Course, Feb2013, Vol. 13, Num. 2, Online Classroom
  18. 18. Types of communication
  19. 19. Course syllabusAre you communicating what you want to communicate?Think of your syllabus as part of yourfirst impression. What you say, andhow you present yourself, matters.Personalize• Professional photo• Standard and synchronous contact information and virtual office hours• Course information• Important dates• Assignment due dates• Assignment late policy• Grading and plagiarism policies• IT Maintenance windows• Any additional items unique to your courseAdopt a tone that is professional but approachable. This will makestudents more likely to feel comfortable contacting you with issues.
  20. 20. Regular announcements• Provide feedback for the class on recent work• Provide a wrap-up of previous week• Provide a list of assignments for current week• Preview next week• Post additional reminders and encouragement as needed• Capitalize on your responses to common e-mail questions by sharing your answers with the class, remembering always to avoid identifying individuals.
  21. 21. Example announcementHello Students,Ive graded the Written Assignment, and given you feedback.I thoroughly enjoyed the candid and thoughtful analyses most of youcreated. These are rich sources of our culture in very different ways andyou spent the time to explore them and respond. Consensus: medievalmusic is more familiar if you were raised in a traditionalchurch, contemporary sculpture owes much to the development of thegenre, Platos cave analogy is widely open to our individualinterpretations (and that is good) and most of you would prefer anAthenian style society, though the Spartans are much moreexciting to think about.One strong caveat: some of you simply posted a list of URLs forsources. As Ive been saying all along, URLs are NOT MLA citations.So, be sure that in your final project works - PowerPoint and paper -your Works Cited and citations are correct. You have plenty ofresources, and ignorance of the format will not serve as an excuse. As agroup, be sure no one has plagiarized and everything is carefully cited.Keep up the good work!
Professor Cheryl Huff-Marmora
  22. 22. Timely, personalized e-mailShowing genuine concern can go a long way inretaining students who have may had other eventsarise that have hindered their progress.“Maximal Interaction in the Virtual Classroom: Establishing Connections with Adult OnlineLearners.” Walter Rankin, PhD. George Mason University. • Send progress messages addressed to the individual student • Respond to students, by name, when they contact you with questions. When possible, use the same rule of thumb you would in an office – respond by the end of the day and certainly within 24 hours. • Reinforce class announcements by sending also through e-mail. This will help ensure students “get the message” one way or another.
  23. 23. Example e-mailDear Student,I very much enjoyed reading the week 5 discussions this week. You allare doing a GREAT job of tying in outside sources using APA formatting!I did notice that there are a large number of students that did notcomplete Exam 1. It was due last week, although I extended it officiallythrough tonight. Please make sure you have COMPLETED it by 11:59pm EST TONIGHT (2/13).Contact me if you have any questions.Best regards,Professor Corey Hall
  24. 24. Discussion forum participation• Participate early and often• Create a sense of activity in the classroom• Require participation• Include a grade for participation• Provide an overview of what is due for each week• Make the discussion interesting. Ask questions.• Keep your tone clear, concise and conversational• Structure the discussion• Include ideas, and information generated in discussion on exams• Deal with unacceptable behavior via private email. Include policies on unacceptable behavior in syllabus and orientation materials.Source:
  25. 25. Discussion ExampleThe professor seeds the discussion with a series of thought provokingquestions.What was Cleopatras role in the First and Second Triumvirates?Who did she align with in each Triumvirate? Who did she have romantic affairswith in each Triumvirate?Why was Egypt strategically important to would be rulers of Rome during thisperiod?Jane (student) submits a post.In the first Triumvirates, Cleopatra fell in love with Julius Caesar. The relationshipstrengthened Caesars power. He now had access to her military. Cleopatra boreJulius a son. Cleopatra followed Caeser back to Rome, but returned to Egypt in 44B.C., following his assassination. In the Second Triumbirates, Marc Anthony fell inlove with Cleopatra. Both Leaders were embroiled in a battle of Romes control.
  26. 26. Discussion Example, cont’dThe Professor does not stop there. He continues the conversationand provides feedback.Jane, It is important that you made this connection. When Juliuspursued Cleopatra, it was not love that he was initially after butleverage and control over Egypts military. Great job!Here is a great scene where Julius Caesar presents Cleopatra andhis first born son to the people of Rome [attached video link]I have a question for you: How would a situation like this be beinterpreted in todays society?The Professor grades the students discussion post. His message ispositive and encouraging.Jane, You have done your research and will receive full credit foryour post. I enjoy reading your often thoughtful posts. Please keepup the good work!
  27. 27. Presence in the virtual classroomSynchronous office hour sessionsand visual communication Why? and what?
  28. 28. Synchronous Meetings
  29. 29. Video Announcements
  30. 30. Other Synchronous Tools
  31. 31. Remember, Being Rigid and “One-Size-Fits-All” Does Not Motivate Students “When forced to make a choice between an important project just assigned by the boss and a long-planned research paper for an instructor, the online learner will most likely have little choice but to fulfill work obligations first. Perhaps the biggest mistake an online educator can make is to maintain rigidity that conflicts with the benefits associated with taking a course through the Internet.” “Maximal Interaction in the Virtual Classroom: Establishing Connections with Adult Online Learners.” Walter Rankin, PhD. George Mason University.
  32. 32. Grading andFeedback
  33. 33. OverviewImportanceJust as we need feedback to grow and improve, onlinestudents rely on feedback to make progress over thecourse of the term. The more specific and personalizedthe feedback, the better! When giving feedback, remember: • Refer to students by name • Acknowledge strengths • Identify areas for improvement • Be specific and substantive • Be timely!
  34. 34. Targeted feedback is essential“The online classroom might be the only educationaloutlet in which the one-to-one interaction betweenthe instructor and the student is more important thanthe textbook, assignments or lectures. . . studentshave no other gauge of their ability thantargeted, specific feedback from the instructor.”The Journal of Educators Online, Volume 3, Number 2, July 2006
  35. 35. Feedback and success“Monitoring and feedback is a condition for studentsuccess. Students are more likely to succeed insettings that provide faculty, staff, and studentsfrequent feedback about their performance.”“Taking Student Success Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College”V. Tinto, Syracuse University. 2005.
  36. 36. Model critical thinking“Ask a yes-or-no questionfollowed by why or why not?It balances quantitative andqualitative feedback.”Five Pedagogical Practices to Improve Your Online Course,Feb 2013, Vol. 13, Num. 2, Online Classroom
  37. 37. When is feedback necessary?Types of Assignments• Essays• Reflective papers• Discussion responses• Journal entries• Open response quizzes and tests• Multiple choice quizzes and tests
  38. 38. Feedback video
  39. 39. Discussion: What Goes into Feedback Creative Thinking – Putting things together in new ways, new patterns, alternate approaches Knowledge “Models and Metaphors: Developing Critical Thinking in Asynchronous Threaded Discussions” Fredericka Joyner, Indiana University East
  40. 40. In providing feedback, considerwhether students:• include the Why beneath their response? (e.g. I think that it is important to have fun at work because . . . . .)• include illustrative examples? (e.g. A time when I experienced boredom at work was . . . )• make connections to other theories, models, and/or frameworks from current or from other courses? (e.g. The text discussed recognition as an important aspect of engagement and this fits with my best job experience.)• ask questions.“Models and Metaphors: Developing Critical Thinking in Asynchronous ThreadedDiscussions” Fredericka Joyner, Indiana University East
  41. 41. Essay: Anatomy of good feedback
  42. 42. Activity• Discuss ways feedback has helped you professionally, personally, or academically• What are some of your best tips regarding feedback for students?
  43. 43. MakingTechnology Workfor You
  44. 44. Overview“When students are using technology as a tool or a support forcommunicating with others, they are in an active role ratherthan the passive role of recipient of information transmitted bya teacher, textbook, or broadcast. The student is activelymaking choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, ordisplay information. Technology use allows many morestudents to be actively thinking about information, makingchoices, and executing skills than is typical in teacher-ledlessons. Moreover, when technology is used as a tool tosupport students in performing authentic tasks, the studentsare in the position of defining their goals, making designdecisions, and evaluating their progress.“Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students”
  45. 45. Create a bridge ratherthan a barrierTechnological Reasons for Lack of Persistence• Can’t log into LMS• Can’t access e-book• Don’t know how to submit assignments• E-mail reliability issues• “I don’t know how to do this!”Technological Foundations for Motivation• Student-centered informal community• Novel engagement with material• Caters to different learning styles• “This is fun!”
  46. 46. Fixed technologies What you have to know how to deal with:• Your LMS• Your e-mail application• Any external study platforms used in your class• Any e-books associated with your classIf you’re wondering how to usethem, your students are too!If you don’t want to lose students:• Take the time to learn the technology• Keep video and/or text tutorials handy to send students• Know the number for tech support (and be ready to call!)
  47. 47. Technologies you chooseYou have the luxury of learning what’s out there.• Gamification • Synchronous chat• Social Media • Virtual conferencing• Scholarly Annotation Sites • Virtual white-boards• Web-Based Research Sites • Online tutors
  48. 48. Gaming and Other Technologies
  49. 49. Intersection and Integration Image from
  50. 50. Some Options for Online Instructors• Conduct Office Hours via • Use a location app for students Skype or Elluminate to check in at assigned locations• Use Twitter hash tags to or to create an educational organize weekly discussions scavenger hunt• Use Social Bookmarking to • Create a college Wiki Note Important Sites for • Send Video Messages (via Learning Eyejot) rather than Standard E-• Create a Class Group Page on Mail Facebook • Use Google Earth or Google• Use Google Docs for Group Maps to Explore Cities or Work and Collaboration Regions of the World• Use Skype to Bring in a Guest • Have students create blogs to Speaker (and record the talk) journal and display work
  51. 51. ReminderCardinal Rule of Educational TechnologyDon’t just use it because it’s cool. Use itbecause it makes sense for you and your class.
  52. 52. Activity• How do, or your colleagues, you use technology in your classroom?• Brainstorm sites, tools, apps, software, hardware that might be helpful.
  53. 53. Break
  54. 54. SemesterMotivationChecklist
  55. 55. Semester ChecklistConsider sending students an email to let them know the class hasstarted. This is a great opportunity to welcome the. Include basicinstructions and answer frequently asked questions.The first week of class Set the stage - Help students feel connected  Set expectations  Answer intro posts  Answer questions  Address students by nameEach week Monitor activity/attendance If a student is not active:  Reach out - send them an email  If no response within first week, drop a student for non- attendance. This will weed out students who lack motivation and send them a consistent message that activity is required.
  56. 56. Semester ChecklistEach week Be visibly present at least 3 times a week  Host virtual office hours  Respond in discussion forums at least 5 times  Answer all student questions within 24 hours Post a weekly announcement  Wrap up of the previous week  Introduction to the upcoming week  Assignments due for the upcoming week
  57. 57. Semester ChecklistLast week of class Post a course wrap up Encourage students to complete course survey Prepare to post final gradesClose of the semester Review student evaluations of your class. Self reflection: What worked? What didn’t work? Provide feedback to your campus. Remain in contact – in case students have questions.
  58. 58. Small GroupActivity
  59. 59. Demonstrate Your ApproachNow we’ll split into small groups andreceive real-life scenarios to which you’llrespond as a team.  Take a few minutes to discuss and decide upon a presentation.  Share with the group.
  60. 60. or 904.633.8496