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CHALLENGING OUR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ONLINE LEARNING: A VISION FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF ONLINE HIGHER EDUCATION Distance Learning Administration 2009 Maria Puzziferro, CSU Global Campus Kaye Shelton, Dallas Baptist University This presentation is available for download on Slideshare.net
ONLINE LEARNING We have just completed the first generation of online learning… What’s in store for the next generation?
GUIDING QUESTIONS ,[object Object]
Which theories really apply to online learning and are they accurate?
Do we understand what quality is, and do our policies and practices support quality?,[object Object]
Will online learning transform the academy?,[object Object]
TOP CONCERNS OF ACADEMIC LEADERS Lack of control over student learning (foundational, content knowledge) Concerns regarding students cheating Distracted students A lack of faith in student ability to learn independently (Sloan-C, 2007; New Media Consortium, 2008)
STUDENT CENTERED? WHO’S REALLY IN CONTROL? Is our course design for learner control? Learning Management Systems No learner control Standard assessments and discussion activities
Online learning is interactive, collaborative, and engaging ASSUMPTION 2
WHAT IS INTERACTION? Interaction is defined as: Number of discussion postings Group projects Number of contacts “Engagement” vs. “Interaction” vs. “Participation” How do we define and measure engagement?
TOWARD A NEW DEFINTION OF INERACTION Do our students log into their Facebook page more or less often than their online course?  Do students have more interaction within Facebook, or within their online course? “Authentic interaction” Spontaneous Situational Physical Qualitatively measured
One learning approach fits all ASSUMPTION 3
BASIC APPROACH TO ONLINE COURSE DESIGN Courses as discrete, narrow, sequenced, linear collection of units Compartmentalization of faculty and disciplines Constructivism Learning is an active (rather than passive) process of creating knowledge. Instruction is the process of supporting and facilitating knowledge construction.
CONNECTIVISM? Learning and knowledge are best attained by exposure to numerous and diverse opinions Learning is a process of connecting nodes of information from multiple sources  The ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill Currency of knowledge is the goal of learning activities Decision making itself is a learning process…decisions may be altered and/or new decisions made (Siemans, 2004)
WHERE DO WE START? Universities begin to “let go” of their content and not see it as a proprietary product Stop “shutting off access” to previously completed online courses Find ways to utilize technology to enable students to save content that they may want to use again Creating more collaboration and connection between discrete courses in degree programs and faculty teaching those courses
Standardized course shells control quality ASSUMPTION 4
STANDARDIZED  COURSE  SHELLS Is it similar to Marx’ Theory of Alienation? McDonald’s approach or routinization Is there a better way?
Comparing f-2-f and online courses Should determine the effectiveness of online learning ASSUMPTION 5
NO  SIGNIFICANCT  DIFFERENCE Is classroom superior?  44% of respondents surveyed on how to assess quality responded that a comparison of f-2-f and online student outcomes is necessary (Kim & Bonk, 2006) Classroom Benchmarks Interaction = measured by discussion/participation Critical thinking = measured by case studies, papers, and reflective essays Comprehension of content = measured by online quizzes and exams Synthesis = measured by research papers
POSSIBLE NEW BENCHMARKS Student ability to spontaneously and intuitively apply course material in real-contexts Interaction that is motivated by interest, rather than quantitative participation requirements Interaction beyond the discussion board and beyond the course
POSSIBLE NEW BENCHMARKS Collaboration that is individually-driven and comfortable; rather than forced groupwork with assigned groups that hasn’t worked in the f-2-f classroom, and is even worse in the online classroom More emphasis on student-created content, and less on static, instructor-developed, or “canned” content Student ability to make connections between disciplines and knowledge domains
Online instructors should be the “guide on the side” not the “sage on the stage” ASSUMPTION 6
INSTRUCTOR ROLE One of the most significant complaints of students in the online environment is not receiving enough direction from the instructor, a lack of responsiveness of the instructor, and a lack of feedback When teaching presence is high, students are more successful, feel more connected, and learning outcomes are improved (Shea, Li and Pickett, 2006)
FACULTY DEVELOPMENT There is no single role of the instructor Cultivate an environment of shared and collaborative decision making Focus on developing faculty, not training faculty Develop faculty skill and ability to know when to be a leader, a guide, an authority, a scholar, a manager, and an advisor
Faculty workload issues do not applyto adjuncts ASSUMPTION 7
WORKLOAD OR OVERLOAD? Consider a typical 25-student class with a weekly student workload of two short papers, and discussion participation with a minimum of 2 posts per week per student. This translates a single week of work into 50 papers, a minimum of 50 discussion postings to read and respond to at least half of them, and 25 discussion postings to grade!
FACULTY  WORKLOAD How do online adjunct faculty manage the workload; many of whom are “professional adjuncts” teaching as many as 10 courses concurrently? Do faculty cut corners? If we know it takes more time, then why do we continue to raise class size?
WHAT TO DO? Review workload and faculty issues as institutional issues, not just faculty performance issues  Do more to understand the impact of workload issues on adjunct faculty, their professional lives, and their instructional practices Do online courses contain “busywork” for students, which translates to “busywork” for faculty? Are our teaching expectations reasonable, and accomplish the learning goals we intend?
There is a typical “profile” of the online learner  ASSUMPTION 8
IS THIS FOR REAL?
TODAY’S ONLINE LEARNERS 73 percent of all undergraduate students are nontraditional students 39 percent of all undergraduate students are 25 years or older (NCES, 2000)
TYPICAL ASSUMPTIONS Delayed entrance or later return to higher education Attends school part time and  works full time Is considered financially independent Has dependents other than self Is a single parent Has a GED
NO HOMOGENOUS PROFILE Don’t allow marketing materials to influence our assumptions…students are not stress free How do we meet diverse educational needs? Diversity should be leveraged
Those who oppose, doubt, or resist online learning are afraid of technology ASSUMPTION 9
THOSE WHO DO AND DON’T Resistor conversion necessary? It’s not about technology but learning Still about learning which can promote unity, shared visions, and shared goals
Online learning will transformthe traditional academy ASSUMPTION 10
CAN IT CAUSE TRANSFORMATION? The online education revolution represents the changing landscape of the global economy and the impact on higher education New values for new learners are necessary New definitions are emerging of education, quality, access, learning, and relationships Can higher education adapt…?
OR IS IT TOO LATE FOR PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION? Online education is still not mission-critical at many public higher education institutions Private, for-profit schools continue to experience the highest percentage of growth among nontraditional students University of Phoenix was reported to enroll more students than any other university in America US News and World Report (2009) reported that the largest Business program in the U.S. is offered by the University of Phoenix.  Top 5 Largest: Walden University, University of Phoenix, National University, Nova Southeastern University and Capella University
Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
How can we make online learning more student centered? Is this the end of the “learning management system” and the rise of the “personalized learning environment?” What new assessment measures are needed to assess engagement, interaction, self-directed learning, and learner control?
What new theories of learning are needed to propel us to the next generation of online learning? Have we boxed the definition of quality into only the things we can measure?  Is there no significant difference between f-2-f and online learning because there is no significant difference?
How can we best support faculty in moving toward a less defined and more dynamic role in the online classroom?  What is the future of online learning for traditional higher education? Should traditional universities just step aside and leave it to the for-profits to step in and serve nontraditional students?
WILL TECHNOLOGY PUSH US THERE? Pew Foundation (2008) predicts that by the year 2020, most people across the world will be using a mobile device as their PRIMARY means to connect to the Internet The potential for education is largely untapped!
TECHNOLOGY and THE FUTURE:KEY TRENDS Globalization and the connection of learners Collective intelligence with multiple answers, grassroots intelligence and learners controlling their learning environments Games as social interaction, civic engagement and engaged learning Visualization literacy and tools Mobile devices (The Horizon Report, 2009)
TECHNOLOGY and THE FUTURE:KEY TECHNOLOGIES Mobiles Cloud Computing Geo-everything The Personal Web Semantic-Aware Applications Smart Objects (The Horizon Report, 2009)
TECHNOLOGY and THE FUTURE: CRITICAL CHALLENGES Growing need for formal instruction in visual literacy, information literacy, and technological literacy Students are different, but educational materials are not Students who are living and learning with technologies that generate dynamic content may find the current formalism and structure of the academy “dead” Current assessment systems are not equipped to measure learning that occurs in real-time, authentic  ways Higher education is obligated to reach its constituents in new and compelling ways (The Horizon Report, 2009)
Maria PUZZIFERRO Dean, ACADEMIC AFFAIRS CSU Global Campus Maria.puzziferro@csuglobal.org Kaye Shelton Dean, online education Dallas Baptist University kaye@dbu.edu Questions…

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Challenging Our Assumptions About Online Learning: A Vision for the Next Generation of Online Higher Education

  • 1. CHALLENGING OUR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ONLINE LEARNING: A VISION FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF ONLINE HIGHER EDUCATION Distance Learning Administration 2009 Maria Puzziferro, CSU Global Campus Kaye Shelton, Dallas Baptist University This presentation is available for download on Slideshare.net
  • 2. ONLINE LEARNING We have just completed the first generation of online learning… What’s in store for the next generation?
  • 3.
  • 4. Which theories really apply to online learning and are they accurate?
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7. TOP CONCERNS OF ACADEMIC LEADERS Lack of control over student learning (foundational, content knowledge) Concerns regarding students cheating Distracted students A lack of faith in student ability to learn independently (Sloan-C, 2007; New Media Consortium, 2008)
  • 8. STUDENT CENTERED? WHO’S REALLY IN CONTROL? Is our course design for learner control? Learning Management Systems No learner control Standard assessments and discussion activities
  • 9. Online learning is interactive, collaborative, and engaging ASSUMPTION 2
  • 10. WHAT IS INTERACTION? Interaction is defined as: Number of discussion postings Group projects Number of contacts “Engagement” vs. “Interaction” vs. “Participation” How do we define and measure engagement?
  • 11. TOWARD A NEW DEFINTION OF INERACTION Do our students log into their Facebook page more or less often than their online course? Do students have more interaction within Facebook, or within their online course? “Authentic interaction” Spontaneous Situational Physical Qualitatively measured
  • 12. One learning approach fits all ASSUMPTION 3
  • 13. BASIC APPROACH TO ONLINE COURSE DESIGN Courses as discrete, narrow, sequenced, linear collection of units Compartmentalization of faculty and disciplines Constructivism Learning is an active (rather than passive) process of creating knowledge. Instruction is the process of supporting and facilitating knowledge construction.
  • 14. CONNECTIVISM? Learning and knowledge are best attained by exposure to numerous and diverse opinions Learning is a process of connecting nodes of information from multiple sources The ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill Currency of knowledge is the goal of learning activities Decision making itself is a learning process…decisions may be altered and/or new decisions made (Siemans, 2004)
  • 15. WHERE DO WE START? Universities begin to “let go” of their content and not see it as a proprietary product Stop “shutting off access” to previously completed online courses Find ways to utilize technology to enable students to save content that they may want to use again Creating more collaboration and connection between discrete courses in degree programs and faculty teaching those courses
  • 16. Standardized course shells control quality ASSUMPTION 4
  • 17. STANDARDIZED COURSE SHELLS Is it similar to Marx’ Theory of Alienation? McDonald’s approach or routinization Is there a better way?
  • 18. Comparing f-2-f and online courses Should determine the effectiveness of online learning ASSUMPTION 5
  • 19. NO SIGNIFICANCT DIFFERENCE Is classroom superior? 44% of respondents surveyed on how to assess quality responded that a comparison of f-2-f and online student outcomes is necessary (Kim & Bonk, 2006) Classroom Benchmarks Interaction = measured by discussion/participation Critical thinking = measured by case studies, papers, and reflective essays Comprehension of content = measured by online quizzes and exams Synthesis = measured by research papers
  • 20. POSSIBLE NEW BENCHMARKS Student ability to spontaneously and intuitively apply course material in real-contexts Interaction that is motivated by interest, rather than quantitative participation requirements Interaction beyond the discussion board and beyond the course
  • 21. POSSIBLE NEW BENCHMARKS Collaboration that is individually-driven and comfortable; rather than forced groupwork with assigned groups that hasn’t worked in the f-2-f classroom, and is even worse in the online classroom More emphasis on student-created content, and less on static, instructor-developed, or “canned” content Student ability to make connections between disciplines and knowledge domains
  • 22. Online instructors should be the “guide on the side” not the “sage on the stage” ASSUMPTION 6
  • 23. INSTRUCTOR ROLE One of the most significant complaints of students in the online environment is not receiving enough direction from the instructor, a lack of responsiveness of the instructor, and a lack of feedback When teaching presence is high, students are more successful, feel more connected, and learning outcomes are improved (Shea, Li and Pickett, 2006)
  • 24. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT There is no single role of the instructor Cultivate an environment of shared and collaborative decision making Focus on developing faculty, not training faculty Develop faculty skill and ability to know when to be a leader, a guide, an authority, a scholar, a manager, and an advisor
  • 25. Faculty workload issues do not applyto adjuncts ASSUMPTION 7
  • 26. WORKLOAD OR OVERLOAD? Consider a typical 25-student class with a weekly student workload of two short papers, and discussion participation with a minimum of 2 posts per week per student. This translates a single week of work into 50 papers, a minimum of 50 discussion postings to read and respond to at least half of them, and 25 discussion postings to grade!
  • 27. FACULTY WORKLOAD How do online adjunct faculty manage the workload; many of whom are “professional adjuncts” teaching as many as 10 courses concurrently? Do faculty cut corners? If we know it takes more time, then why do we continue to raise class size?
  • 28. WHAT TO DO? Review workload and faculty issues as institutional issues, not just faculty performance issues Do more to understand the impact of workload issues on adjunct faculty, their professional lives, and their instructional practices Do online courses contain “busywork” for students, which translates to “busywork” for faculty? Are our teaching expectations reasonable, and accomplish the learning goals we intend?
  • 29. There is a typical “profile” of the online learner ASSUMPTION 8
  • 30. IS THIS FOR REAL?
  • 31. TODAY’S ONLINE LEARNERS 73 percent of all undergraduate students are nontraditional students 39 percent of all undergraduate students are 25 years or older (NCES, 2000)
  • 32. TYPICAL ASSUMPTIONS Delayed entrance or later return to higher education Attends school part time and works full time Is considered financially independent Has dependents other than self Is a single parent Has a GED
  • 33. NO HOMOGENOUS PROFILE Don’t allow marketing materials to influence our assumptions…students are not stress free How do we meet diverse educational needs? Diversity should be leveraged
  • 34. Those who oppose, doubt, or resist online learning are afraid of technology ASSUMPTION 9
  • 35. THOSE WHO DO AND DON’T Resistor conversion necessary? It’s not about technology but learning Still about learning which can promote unity, shared visions, and shared goals
  • 36. Online learning will transformthe traditional academy ASSUMPTION 10
  • 37. CAN IT CAUSE TRANSFORMATION? The online education revolution represents the changing landscape of the global economy and the impact on higher education New values for new learners are necessary New definitions are emerging of education, quality, access, learning, and relationships Can higher education adapt…?
  • 38. OR IS IT TOO LATE FOR PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION? Online education is still not mission-critical at many public higher education institutions Private, for-profit schools continue to experience the highest percentage of growth among nontraditional students University of Phoenix was reported to enroll more students than any other university in America US News and World Report (2009) reported that the largest Business program in the U.S. is offered by the University of Phoenix. Top 5 Largest: Walden University, University of Phoenix, National University, Nova Southeastern University and Capella University
  • 39. Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
  • 40. Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
  • 41. Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
  • 42. Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
  • 43. Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
  • 44. Shift in Higher Education Values Traditional Higher Education Next Generation Higher Education
  • 45. How can we make online learning more student centered? Is this the end of the “learning management system” and the rise of the “personalized learning environment?” What new assessment measures are needed to assess engagement, interaction, self-directed learning, and learner control?
  • 46. What new theories of learning are needed to propel us to the next generation of online learning? Have we boxed the definition of quality into only the things we can measure? Is there no significant difference between f-2-f and online learning because there is no significant difference?
  • 47. How can we best support faculty in moving toward a less defined and more dynamic role in the online classroom? What is the future of online learning for traditional higher education? Should traditional universities just step aside and leave it to the for-profits to step in and serve nontraditional students?
  • 48. WILL TECHNOLOGY PUSH US THERE? Pew Foundation (2008) predicts that by the year 2020, most people across the world will be using a mobile device as their PRIMARY means to connect to the Internet The potential for education is largely untapped!
  • 49. TECHNOLOGY and THE FUTURE:KEY TRENDS Globalization and the connection of learners Collective intelligence with multiple answers, grassroots intelligence and learners controlling their learning environments Games as social interaction, civic engagement and engaged learning Visualization literacy and tools Mobile devices (The Horizon Report, 2009)
  • 50. TECHNOLOGY and THE FUTURE:KEY TECHNOLOGIES Mobiles Cloud Computing Geo-everything The Personal Web Semantic-Aware Applications Smart Objects (The Horizon Report, 2009)
  • 51. TECHNOLOGY and THE FUTURE: CRITICAL CHALLENGES Growing need for formal instruction in visual literacy, information literacy, and technological literacy Students are different, but educational materials are not Students who are living and learning with technologies that generate dynamic content may find the current formalism and structure of the academy “dead” Current assessment systems are not equipped to measure learning that occurs in real-time, authentic ways Higher education is obligated to reach its constituents in new and compelling ways (The Horizon Report, 2009)
  • 52. Maria PUZZIFERRO Dean, ACADEMIC AFFAIRS CSU Global Campus Maria.puzziferro@csuglobal.org Kaye Shelton Dean, online education Dallas Baptist University kaye@dbu.edu Questions…
  • 53. RESOURCES Allen, E., and Seaman J. (2007). Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning. Available online: http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/pdf/online_nation.pdf Findings from the Condition of Education 2002: Nontraditional Undergraduates. (2002). http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002012 Horizon Report. (2009). http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2009-Horizon-Report.pdf Kim, K., and Bonk, C. (2006). The Future of Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: The Survey Says. Educause Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4, pp. 22–30. New Media Consortium Report. (2008). http://www.nmc.org/pdf/Future-of-Higher-Ed-(NMC).pdf Shea, P., Li, C.S., and Pickett, A. (2006). A study of teaching presence and student sense of learning community in fully online and web-enhanced college courses. The Internet and Higher Education, 9(3), 175-190. Siemens, George (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved February 14, 2008 from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm