VSS 2006 - Lessons Learned in Virtual Schooling: The Newfoundland Experience
Lessons Learned in VirtualSchooling: The Newfoundland and Labrador Experience
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)• 305 schools (down from 343 just three years ago)• 81,458 students (down from 118,273 a decade ago)• average school size 233 pupils (over 40% have less than 200)
Centre for Distance Learning and InnovationThe 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.
Centre for Distance Learning and InnovationSynchronous – 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
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.
CDLI StudiesLearning Styles and Teacher and Developer Student PerformanceWeb-based Design Perceptions of DesignStudents’ Usage of Student Perceptions Online Learning inInstant Messaging of Design a Rural School Student PerceptionsMediating Teachers of Online Learning
The studyThis presentation represents the initialportion of a study on the perceptions of thecharacteristics of effective web-baseddesign for secondary school students withinthe CDLI environment. This initial portionconsiders the perceptions theadministration of the CDLI, coursedevelopers and those who held the role ofboth course developers and electronicteachers.
The studyJohn was one of the initial developers and was perceived as one of the stronger course developers until accepting a new job with the understanding he would not seek to be seconded by the CDLI.Cliff, a retired teacher who spent twenty-nine years in the classroom, is designing his first course.Norman, one of four original developers who went on to be an e-teacher, has also developed of sections of two other courses and is teaching a second web-based course.Bill, began his thirtieth year of teaching this past September, is another of the initial developers that went on to be an e-teacher for the past three years.Sam is a principal of a small, rural school, where he has taught in almost every subject area at every grade level, even though he is trained as a Science teacher.George, an administrator with the CDLI has been involved in distance education for the past decade and a half; first as a distance education coordinator in a rural school, then as an instructor and content developer, and later with a web-based program.
Why?• there has been much research on web-based course design – Collins, 1999; Gallini and Barron, 2001-2002; Stein, 2004• however, this research conducted in online learning has focused upon post-secondary institutions and corporate America – Kolbe and Bunker, 1997; Gunawardena and McIsaac, 2004; Hill, Wiley, Nelson and Han, 2004• the problem with this focus upon an adult population is that there is a difference between how adults learn compared to the way adolescents learn – Knowles, 1970; Moore, 1973; Bright, 1989; Cavanaugh, Gillan, Kromrey, Hess and Blomeyer, 2004
Initial findingsCourse 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. only use multimedia that will enhances the content and not simply because it is available; and7. develop their content for the average or below average student.
Planning and preparationDevelopers should “not attempt to writeanything, do not attempt to constructanything, until you have designed yourproject out from end to end, from start tofinish… if you fail to do this, here’s whathappens… if you get in there and get on withit and make a misstep, … undoing thatmistake usually means changes thatpeculate right through the web of work thatyou’ve constructed. So, undoing you’remistakes is horrendously difficult. Secondthing is that when you take the time to layyour project out from start to finish, thechances are you will confer with otherpeople and that means that you will addlayers of… important content… to yourproject that would not otherwise have beenthere if you did not take the time.” (George)
KISS, but not the same way all the timeInstead of going… “You will learn,” or “You should know,” and so on, they’ll click right to the “Lesson”… if I have any activities assigned to them, they’ll simply just go right to the “Activities,” they won’t even bother with the “Lesson” itself. (Norman)Each lesson “has to offer a certain sense of choice to the students preferred style or mode of learning. Some students learn better by reading, some… with their hands, [and] some… by discussing items. Now a well designed lesson would either a) provide a couple of approaches or b) at least in the long scheme of things the lessons taken in aggregate would provide… a varied approach” (George).
Useful and personalDevelopers should “try to develop a good set of notes [and] a good set of worked examples.” (John)He had students “looking a lot at their own lives [and] their own communities” (Bill).“For example, if it’s… a student in Newfoundland and Labrador, you would use organisms that would reside in the province themselves,” which “can provide [the students] with something a little more substantive and relate to where they are” (Norman).
Clear directions and expectationsStudents “need to have clearly defined what has to be done [over] a certain period of time.” (John)“The directions and the expectations [need to be] precise enough so students can work effectively on their own, not providing a roadblock for their time.” (Bill)
Text, text and more text“You’re trying very often to explain things... [that are] difficult to understand. The more explanation you have there the less chance… students are going to read it, but some of the concepts are just too difficult to be… presented very concisely.” (Bill)“By providing students a visual cue with the written information it does provide a connection for them.” (Norman)
Appropriate selection of tools“There should be a lot of distractions there with things that… might be gimmicky.” (Bill)“Trying to be too flashy… really may distract… from the lesson itself and students may miss the message.” (Norman)
Who’s your audience“Appropriateness… [is] an important thing… because a lot of… people who develop courses… design… for… top students… but we’re also going to have some very, very weak students… so even if you’re into doing complicated material… keeping it as simple as possible.” (Bill)“Students are still students and… we shouldn’t assume that they’re all self motivated… it’s much better to shoot… for the average and below average student… making sure that… there’s a structure in place that guarantees they’re doing their… work.” (Cliff) Back to the studies
Background• Research was conducted with students enrolled in Enterprise Education 3205 through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. (CDLI)• Students completed the prescribed curriculum solely through e-Learning.• 32 of the 44 students completed a learning styles inventory and agreed to the release of their marks.
Purpose of Research• In the classroom, we are able to adapt our instructional approach, our methods, even our instructional material.• This is much more difficult to accomplish in an e-learning environment.• Does the e-learning environment created by the CDLI lend itself to one learning style over another?• If it does, what can the CDLI do to help learners achieve in the environment that they have created?
Research Profile• KB Personal Learning Guide• Standard learning styles measure (visual, auditory, tactile)• Gardner’s multiple intelligences
Personal Learning Guide• Students rate sets of words on how well the words describe them.Discriminating Tentative Involved Practical 4 Best characterises 3 Next best 2 Next best 1 Least characterises• Once the students have rated nine sets, they are asked to add their responses to certain sets together to give them four totals
Personal Learning Guide • The four totals are plotted on the chart below to form a kite.
Personal Learning Guide• The Accommodative Learning Style - you have the ability to learn primarily from hands-on experience. You probably enjoy carrying out plans and involving yourself in new and challenging experiences. Your tendency may be to act on intuition and "gut feel" rather than careful analysis. When a thoughtful approach does not seem to be working out, you will be quick to discard it and improvise.• The Divergent Learning Style - you probably have the ability to view specific situations from many perspectives. For example, you may enjoy brainstorming and small group discussions. You also like to gather information and probably have broad interests. Your tendency may be to watch events rather than participate in them.• The Convergent Learning Style - you have the ability to find practical applications for ideas, concepts and theories. In particular you enjoy situations where there is a single or best answer to a question or problem. You may usually assume there is one best answer and use technical analysis to reveal it. You also may usually prefer to deal with technical issues rather than people issues.• The Assimilative Learning Style - you have the ability to create theoretical models (ideas that predict outcomes and descriptions of how different factor interact). You most likely enjoy inductive reasoning and distil disparate observations into logical explanations.  David A. Kolb and Richard J. Baker, Personal Learning Guide: A practical guide to increasing your learning from a training program or workshop, (Baker & Company: Dallas, TX, 1979-80), pp. 11-17.
Standard Measure• Students were given a statement and asked to give it a ratingI remember information better from lectures with explanations and discussions.I chew gum or snack when I study. 3 Often 2 Sometimes 1 Seldom• After students had responded to 24 of these statements, they were asked to write the numbers they selected for each statement into three different columns and total each column.
Standard Measure Visual Learners - you have to see it to believe it • needs to see it to know it • strong sense of colour • may have artistic ability • difficulty with spoken directions • over-reaction to sounds • trouble following lectures • misinterpretation of words Auditory Learner - if you hear it, you remember it • prefers to get information by listening • needs to hear it to know it • difficulty following written directions • difficulty with reading and writing Tactual Learner - if you can touch it with your hands, you will remember it • prefers hands-on learning • can assemble parts without reading directions • difficulty sitting still • learns better when physical activity is involved • may be very well co-ordinated and have athletic ability  Unknown, "Learning Lab - Learning Styles Evaluation," University of Northwestern Ohio (1998): 3 pages. 08 August 1999 <http://bsd- server.nc.edu/virtcol/ss/learn.html>.
Standard MeasureNumber of Visual Auditory TactilestudentsHighest 73.5% 61.4%(n=9) 66.6% (n=14)number (n=13)Above 20 74.2% (n=6) 53.0%(n=1) * 67.7% (n=7)Above 18 75.7% (n=15) 63.2%(n=10) 66.2% (n=17) * Only one respondent
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences• Students were given a statement and asked to state if it was true or false. If the statement was true sometimes and false sometimes, they were to leave it blank.2. If I am angry or happy, I usually know why.8. I pick up new dance steps quickly.• After students had responded to 35 of these statements, they were asked to write an X over the numbers that they had responded “T” to based on the following table: A 9 10 17 22 30 = B 5 7 15 20 25 = C 1 11 14 23 27 = D 8 16 19 21 29 = E 3 4 13 24 28 = F 2 6 26 31 33 = G 12 18 32 34 35 =
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences• Interpersonal Intelligence - Telecommunications programs; programs which address social issues; programs which include group presentation or decision making; games which require two or more players; TV production team approach• Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence - Software requiring alternate input such as joystick, mouse, or touch window; keyboarding and word processing programs; animation programs; programs which allow them to move objects around the screen; science probeware• Intrapersonal Intelligence - Computer assisted instruction/ILS labs; instructional games in which the opponent is the computer; programs which encourage self-awareness or build self- improvement skills; any program which allow them to work independently; brainstorming or problem solving software• Logical/Mathematical Intelligence - Database and spreadsheet programs; problem solving software; computer programming software; strategy game formats/simulations; calculators; multimedia authoring programs
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences• Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence - Programs that combine stories with songs; reading programs which associate letter/sounds with music; programs which allow them to create their own song; constructing presentations using CD audio discs, videodisc player, and barcode program; sing along videodisc programs that display work "karaoke" style• Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence - Word processors that allow voice annotations; desktop publishing programs; programs with speech output; programs which encourage them to create poetry, essays, etc.; multimedia authoring; using videodiscs and barcode programs to create presentations; tape recorders; telecommunications/electronic networking• Visual/Spatial Intelligence - Draw and paint programs; reading programs that use visual clues such as rebus method or colour coding; programs which allow them to see information as maps, charts, or diagrams (i.e. charting capability of spreadsheet program; multimedia programs; science probeware  Jack Edwards, "Multiple Intelligences and Technology," About Face 10 3 (1995): 4 pages. 08 August 1999 <http://www.firn.edu/~face/about/dec95/mult_int.html>.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Inter- Bodily- Intra- Logical- Musical- Verbal- Visual- personal Kinestheti personal Mathematics Rhythmi Linguistic Spatial c cHighest 71.6% 70.3% 95.0% 67.7% 60.0% 62.3% 68.9%Number (n=5) (n=10) (n=1)* (n=7) (n=10) (n=12) (n=16)Above 4 69.7% 68.1% 74.0% 65.6% 64.8% 57.6% 67.1% (n=14) (n=12) (n=2) (n=16) (n=15) (n=16) (n=19) * Only one respondent
Trends and Patterns• Students with the assimilative learningstyle (KB) tend to perform better thanstudents from any of the other threelearning styles.• Students with the convergent learningstyle (KB) tend to perform better thanstudents from the divergent andaccommodative learning styles.
Trends and Patterns• Students who are visual learners performbetter than students who are tactile learners,who perform better than auditory learners.• While there are few differences in studentperformance based upon Gardner’s multipleintelligences, students who have aptitudes for“Musical-Rhythmic” and “Verbal-Linguistic”appear to be lower than the other fiveintelligences.
Ramifications• When teaching in an e-learningenvironment, instructors should providemore feedback to students, particularlythose with the accommodative learningstyle.• Instructors should also provide additionalopportunities for students to interact in averbal (e.g., audio or text-based) way.
Ramifications• Finally, instructors in an e-learningenvironment should consider allowingstudents to choose to complete more oftheir work in groups.• In designing e-learning environments,developers should make sure to includemore audio items.
ReferencesEdwards, Jack. "Multiple Intelligences and Technology." AboutFace 10 3 (1995): 4 pages. 08 August 1999<http://www.firn.edu/~face/about/dec95/mult_int.html>.Kolb, David A. and Baker, Richard J.. Personal LearningGuide: A practical guide to increasing your learning from atraining program or workshop. Baker & Company: Dallas, TX,1979-80.Unknown. "Learning Lab - Learning Styles Evaluation."University of Northwestern Ohio (1998): 3 pages. 08 August1999 <http://bsd-server.nc.edu/virtcol/ss/learn.html>. Back to the studies
The Students StudyKari Baker is a grade twelve student at Beaches All Grade, 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 Mills is one of two grade ten student at St. Rita’s All Grade, 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 Saunders is a grade twelve student at Ocean Academy, 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 Kean is a grade twelve student at St. Christopher’s School, 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 Manning is a grade twelve student at Beaches All Grade in Beaches. 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 Bursey is also a grade twelve student. She attends St. Rita’s All Grade in McBrides, 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 Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation over the past four years.
Findings• Use of Web-based Content• Web-based Design
Use of Web-based Content• Students initially “myself personally, I hardly use those lessons” (Kari) indicate that “but overall, if they weren’t they don’t use there it wouldn’t make the web-based much of a difference to me content that I don’t think.” (Kari) “I don’t hardly use these at much. all” (Jenni) “I have only used them three or four times” (Kari) “in my offline time, I would say one out of five.” (Becky)
Use of Web-based Content• However, when “I like when the “Lessons” just deal with the content that we learn” (Kari) discussing each “the lessons are really good for of the individual studying” (Jenni) “I use the MLOs a bit, but not as components it much as the WebCT content.” (Carla) comes out that “I use the WebCT content a lot more.” (Jenni) they do use them “I’d say I’d spend half of the class, so more than they about half an hour, every class on the WebCT content.” (Lori) initially let on. “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)
Use of Web-based Content• One barrier to “they always have assignments that you have to do, they’re always, using the web- they’re like constantly giving you assignments and stuff” (Jenni) based content is “its almost like the teachers don’t the amount of realize that you have courses in school too” (Kari) work assigned “there’s always so much work to be during offline done” (Kari) “teachers always have labs or time. 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)
Use of Web-based Content• Another barrier “but rarely he takes assignments out of those lesson thingies out to using the there” (Kari) “sometimes we do lessons like the web-based one you have there on the board, content is how but other times she just assigns questions from the book.” (Carla) little e-teachers “the only time we do the actually use it. “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)
Use of Web-based Content• Another barrier “I use my book a lot more than the WebCT, it might to using the web- not be explained as good based content is as the book.” (Carla) they may not “not sure if I trust what is trust it. in WebCT” (Becky)
Web-based Design• Students don’t like “instead of just reading out of the old textbook, which gets text. 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)
Web-based Design• Students enjoy the “I think the links that they give you various media that because they take you in the other, in other really useful sites that you can the Internet is able to really use.” (Jenni) offer. “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)
Web-based Design• Students want “watch MLOs and I find they’re really good multimedia used to and they explain things in the video clips explain concepts andand the, there’s a guy there explaining how provide information. to do the interesting and it really helpsand its really topics and just background, 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)
Web-based Design• Students want to “a summary of all that you learned that have a good set of day and pretty much just summarizing everything up” (Kari) notes. “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)
Web-based Design• Students find the “the thing I like about it is those “Test review questions, yourself” because they really give you an particularly “Test idea of what it is going to be like for the Yourself” quizzes, test and they help you remember” (Jenni) quite useful. “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)Back to the studies
Students’ Final Course Averages Based Upon Delivery Model and Location by Year 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 Web delivered rural 71.3 68.1 69.3 69.6 (n = 291) (n = 886) (n = 1,143) (n = 1,132) Web delivered urban 64.2 56.5 67.5 71.8 (n = 12) (n = 20) (n = 10) (n = 39) Classroom delivered rural 68.2 68.1 68.5 69.0 (n = 11,233) (n = 21,334) (n = 26,601) (n = 31.022) Classroom delivered urban 67.1 66.6 67.8 68.5 (n = 13,390) (n = 27,227) (n = 35,555) (n = 38,857) # of missing cases 259 (1%) 464 (1%) 1366 (2%) 3693 (5%) Total # of cases 25,185 49,931 64,675 74743 # of courses 11 21 24 30 The designation of an urban area follows that definition utilized by Statistics Canada, see Appendix A fora list of communities that were designated as urban for each of these four years. The dramatic increase in the number of cases was due to the increase in the number of courses offeredby the CDLI. For example, adding Art Technology 1201 in 2002-03 increased the number of web-basedcases by seventy-eight web-based cases and classroom cases by 1578, or English 1201 in 2003-04 whichadded 19 web-based cases and 5306 classroom cases.
Students’ Public Exam Scores Based Upon Delivery Model and Location by Year 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05Web delivered rural 61.4 60.5 63.4 (n = 210) (n = 323) (n = 293)Web delivered urban 71.0 60.5 66.4 (n = 1) (n = 2) (n = 8)Classroom delivered rural 60.6 64.5 61.7 (n = 3,919) (n = 4,907) (n = 6,558)Classroom delivered urban 61.4 64.7 62.6 (n = 5,623) (n = 8,153) (n = 9,304)# of missing cases 40 (0.5%) 189 (1%) 800 (5%)Total # of cases 9,793 13,574 16,963# of courses with public 5 6 7 exams
Students’ Scores Based Upon Delivery Model and Location Public Exam Final Course AverageWeb delivered rural 61.7 69.3 (n = 826) (n = 3,452)Web delivered urban 65.7 66.3 (n = 11) (n = 81)Web delivered total 61.8 69.2 (n = 837) (n = 3533)Classroom delivered rural 62.3 68.5 (n = 15,384) (n = 90,190)Classroom delivered urban 63.1 67.7 (n = 23,080) (n = 115,029)Classroom delivered total 62.8 68.1 (n = 38464) (n = 205219)# of missing cases 1,029 (2.6%) 5,650 (2.6%)Total # of cases 40,330 214,402
Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this study was to examine the nature of web-based learning in Newfoundland and Labrador secondary education. Specifically, this study examined the how students interacted with their web-based courses and the process they undertook when they needed help. This general purpose lent itself to three research questions:1. What are the students’ experiences during their synchronous time online?2. What are the students’ experiences during their asynchronous time online?3. When students require content-based assistance, where do they seek that assistance and why do they choose those sources?
ParticipantsStudent Pseudonyms Gender Grade Community From Courses TakenJasmine Female 10 Cape Random Fine ArtsJustine Female 11 Beaches Language Arts Mathematics ScienceConstance Female 11 Beaches Language ArtsJason Male 11 Clarke’s Bay Language Arts MathematicsPeter Male 11 Beaches Mathematics ScienceNorah Female 11 Beaches Mathematics ScienceMya Female 12 Beaches Language ArtsMax Male 12 Beaches Language Arts Science MathematicsDayna Female 12 Beaches Language ArtsDarlene Female 12 Clarke’s Bay Language ArtsKevin Male 12 Clarke’s Bay Fine ArtsKathy Female 12 Cape Random Language Arts Science Mathematics  Fine Arts include courses in art and music.  Language Arts include courses in both English language arts and French as a second language.
InterviewStudent Interview 1 Interview 2 Interview 3 Interview 4Jasmine X X X XJustine X X X XConstance X X X XJason X X X XPeter X X XNorah XMya X X X XMax X X X XDayna XDarlene X X XKevin X XKathy X X X X* Plus four teacher and administrator interviews.
Journal EntriesStudent Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15Jasmine X X X X X X X X X X X X X XJustine X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XConstance X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XJason X X X X X X X X X X X X X X XPeter X XNorahMya X X X X X X X X X X X X XMax X X X X X X X X X X X X X XDaynaDarlene X X X X X X XKevinKathy X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Participant Observation – In SchoolDate Fine Arts Language Arts Mathematics Science Synch Asynch Synch Asynch Synch Asynch Synch Asynch03 May 2 104 May05 May08 May 1 1 1 109 May 1 1 1 110 May 111 May 1 1 1 112 May 1 115 May 116 May17 May 118 May 123 May 1 1 1 124 May 1 1 1 125 May 1 1 1 126 May 1 1 2Total 5 5 7 4 4 3 6 4
Participant Observation - OnlineTeacher/Tutor Content-Area Asynchronous Synchronous TutorialPseudonyms (WebCT) (Elluminate Live)Bill Martin Language Arts 2 different 3 classes from 1 course areas courseLori Green-Paul Language Arts 3 different 2 classes from 2 course areas different coursesPamela Bond Language Arts 2 different 2 classes from 2 course areas different coursesJoe Cole Science 2 different 3 classes from 1 course area different courseMegan Matthews Science 2 different 2 classes from 2 course areas coursesDustin Nelson Science 1 TWEP sessionNorman Tiller Social Studies 2 different 4 classes from 1 course areas coursePat Blake Mathematics 7 classes from 3 different coursesPaul Murray Fine Arts 4 classes from 1 different course  One of these synchronous classes was conducted by a substitute teacher.
Surveys• Potential variables in transactional distance (Lowell, 2004)• High school Internet education survey (Roblyer & Marshall, 2002-2003)• Learning styles inventory (Barbour & Cooze, 2004)• Online learning experiences (Barbour, 2006)
TrendsSynchronous Time• students tended to stay on task during this time (although not always)• students tended to rely upon each other more than the online teacher for help• students tended to communicate using text rather than audio
TrendsAsynchronous Time• when the students decided to work, they worked well• students decided to work less than half of the time• students would complete work in a collaborative effort, particularly in the mathematics and sciences• asynchronous time was easy to give up for other school related activities
TrendsTurning for Help• students primarily relied upon each other for help• local class size played an important role – the smaller the class the more likely the students were to turn to their online teacher as opposed to a school-based teacher• student colleagues, teachers (both online and school-based), and general Internet searches were primarily the only sources students used for help, even though they had access to a textbook, supplemental material in WebCT, a live tutor available in the virtual classroom after schools and during the evenings Back to the studies
Purpose of Research• The researchers investigated the use of Instant Messaging (IM) usage among students as a means of community building in an e- Learning environment.• What are the implications of IM usage for e- Teachers as online learning continues to grow?• Which IM tools will students use to further their learning online?• Will the use of IM tools increase students’ chances of success via e-Learning?
Study Group • Research was conducted with 41 students enrolled in Enterprise Education 3205 through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. (CDLI) • Students completed the prescribed curriculum solely through an e-Learning environment. • An initial message posted to the discussion forum during the fall term, 15 students replied publicly with their IM accounts. • Near the end of the course, 24 students completed an online survey.
“As a general rule it will bebreakthroughs in teaching practice that will make e-Learning more useful and not breakthroughs in technology.” (Nicholas, 2003)
Findings • Of the 24 students, 20 indicated that they utilized IM. • 100% of IM users indicated that they utilized MSN as their chat tool. Type of IM Tool Used MSN
Findings • 67% of students indicated that the reasons why they utilized IM was to communicate with other students. Use of IM Yes No
Findings • Students listed the following reasons for chatting with other students: – Socializing – getting to know others. – Communicate feelings about the course in general. – Discuss course work. – To gain feedback regarding progress in the course. “Studies have found that chat sessions are more often used by participants for socialization purposes.” (Nicholas, 2003)
Findings • 79% indicated that they did utilized chat to communicate with others outside of the course. Use of IM to Communicate Outside of Course. Yes No
Findings • Students listed the following reasons for chatting with others outside of the course: – Communicate with family and friends from away. – Meet new people. – General chat. – Gaming.
Findings • 83% indicated that they did not utilize IM to communicate with their instructor. Use of IM to Communicate with Instructor Yes No
Findings • Those that did use IM to communicate with their instructor were split in their reasons which included: – Related to course work. – General chat. – Both. “In terms of collaboration, the chat tools nurture learner brainstorming and questioning, presenter clarifications and explanations, role- play and private one-to-one mentoring.” (Bonk, 2002)
Findings • 56% indicated that IM allowed them to feel more at ease during vClass sessions. Comfort Level in vClass and IM Yes No
Findings • Reasons listed why IM made them feel more at ease in vClass sessions: – IM allowed them to get to know others outside of vClass. – Felt more comfortable once they got to know others. – “Putting a virtual face to the names” “…the use of Internet-based communication increases the likelihood of completing course activities…” (Ohlund et al, 1999)
Findings • 56% indicated that IM assisted them in their course work. IM and Course Assistance Yes No “It is important, for the sake of the content aspect to integrate synchronous communication tools.“ (Avigail, n.d.)
Findings • Students listed how IM could assist them during online learning in the following ways: – Assistance with assigned work. – Pick up from missed classes. – Get to know others and feel more comfortable. – Talk to more than one person at a time. – Obtain information quicker. – Get in contact with the teacher quicker. – Collaboration with classmates. – Easy way to communicate.
Overall Student Impressions“I think that if instant messaging was more widely used for online courses, it may allow students to have more contact with their teachers, and for them to get more help with their assignments, or the work that they are doing in the chapter at any given time. vClass is good, but there are only certain times that it can be used. Also, vClass may not fit on most home computers (and is harder to use on dial-up). With IM, it could be accessed at any time, and would be a lot easier.”
General Trends • IM is a tool that students feel comfortable in utilizing, given the amount of use during personal time. • Students personally feel that IM assists both in their learning and their sense of “knowing” their virtual classmates. • Based on these trends, e-teachers should give consideration to adopting a more formal role for IM in their e- Learning environments. Back to the studies
Mediating TeachersThe use of a school-based classroom teacher (a mediating or m-teacher) whose job it was to ensure appropriate interaction between the students and their “e-teacher, more specifically, this m-teacher was responsible for all non-technical, non- instructional aspects of distance education in their own school
PurposeThis study considered the role of the m- teacher in the CDLI by examining how teachers in this role in one school district felt about the position after the first year
The Study• two surveys – one given to the m-teacher at the mid- point of the year – one given to them at the end of the year• all m-teachers from five schools representing all of the schools participating in the CDLI in one complete school district
Findings• they had quite a burden placed upon them due to the wide range of duties and time commitment associated with these new responsibilities• in addition to the time associated with the position, in many cases the mediating teachers responsibilities did include technical and instruction aspects• teachers provided content-based assistance above and beyond their contractual obligations to the school or the school district
Ramifications and Recommendations• after the first year of operation the CDLI changed the structure of the mediating role to include multiple teachers who formed an m-team• so, while the workload has probably remained constant or even increased, with additional teachers and administrators involved in this role the extra work has been spread out over more people Back to the studies
Student Perceptions• This study was a part of a larger initiative by an online learning research group at the University of Georgia• Specifically this study examined of the perceptions of useful and challenging characteristics by with a population of virtual high school students
Student Perceptions• post-secondary student (i.e., Song, Singleton, Hill & Koh, 2003; Singleton, Song, Hill, Koh, Jones & Barbour, 2004)• corporate web-based trainees in the United States and in South Korea (i.e., Jones, Koh, Hill & Singleton, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c, 2004d)• post-secondary faculty members perceptions of why they initially decided to and continue to participate in online teaching (Singleton, 2006)
Research Questions1. What virtual school learning components do secondary students recognize as helpful in the learning process?2. What virtual school components do secondary students recognize as challenging?
Sample• all four English-speaking school districts• eighteen schools• a total of 38 rural school students completed the survey between February and May 2005
Findings• when asked, if they were satisfied with taking virtual school courses, 86.8% indicated that they were satisfied• when asked if they were satisfied with all of their experiences in their virtual school courses, only 5.3% selected either of the two dissatisfaction options• this was consistent with the low number of students (7.9%) who indicated that they were less satisfied with their virtual school courses compared to their classroom-based courses• 63.2% of students indicated they were more satisfied with their virtual school courses• a little surprising, given that 50% of students stated that their virtual school courses were more difficult than their classroom-based courses
Findings• students reported to spending between three to six hours per course each week• only 10.5% of the students indicated that they could access the Internet at home, while 34.2% said they could accessed at a public library and 76.3% could accessed at a friend’s home• 81.6% stated that the reason they took the course through the virtual school was because it was the only way the course was offered, 47.4% wanted to try one, and 26.3% of the students indicated it was a required course
FindingsHelpful tools in their virtual school course Internet tool Mean response (1-5) Virtual Classroom 4.82 E-mail 4.00 Discussion Forums 3.24 Interactive Items 3.03 File Transfer Protocol (FTP) 3.03 Audio Clips 2.84 Chat 2.74 Video Clips 2.50
FindingsProblems encountered in their virtual school courseProblem Percentage of students who selected this problemTechnical problems 71.1Lack of time 50.0Difficulty understanding goals/objectives of the 34.2courseCan’t find the information I need in order to be 15.8successfulLack of sense of community 13.2Other – can’t always get in contact with the 7.6instructorLack of adequate Internet knowledge 2.6Other – slow Internet connection 2.6Other – large classes 2.6
Findings Factors important for success in a virtual school course Percentage that responded MeanFactor (1-4) Not Somewhat Important Very important important ImportantClear objectives 11.1 36.1 52.8 3.42Well-organized content 2.6 7.9 33.3 67.7 3.67Exercises 5.3 13.2 50.0 36.8 3.24Quizzes 7.9 34.2 44.7 34.2 3.11Tutor Feedback 7.9 18.4 34.2 2.83Motivation of the student 21.6 70.3 3.62Time management of the 10.5 21.1 76.3 3.78studentTechnology comfort level 42.1 44.7 3.35
Ramifications• the ability of adolescents to learn in independent learning environments is less than that of adult learners because of differences in their development• the reality of the challenges being faced by rural schools is forcing more and more secondary school students into these independent learning environments
Ramifications• secondary student perceptions of the helpful and challenging characteristics of learning in this type of environment is the consistency between what they have indicated are the important factors for success and what the various adult populations have identified
Ramifications• there may be differences in the things that secondary students find useful and the things that they find challenging compared to their older counterparts, how to best situate them for success remains relatively the same: ensure that learners are provided with well designed and organized content, and provide them with time management and motivational skills to be able to work effectively in this independent environment
Conclusions• many adolescent learners probably won’t possess these two skills• more will need to be done at the secondary school, and even middle school level, to prepare students for learning in these environments• this is particularly true in rural jurisdictions, where many students do not have a choice on whether or not to enroll in these virtual school courses because this is the only means that they have to access, in some cases, these required courses