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“Whenever a thing is done 
for the first time, 
it releases a little demon.” 
Pilot Strategies for Blended Learning 
Progr...
Interactive Session Prompt 
On Twitter use 
#aln14 #aln7717 & #demonpilot 
How have you used traditional data collection 
...
D Min Pilot Overview 
#aln14 
#demonpilot
Process 
• One D Min faculty member and 10 accepted D Min students 
• One typical course week of activities with primary t...
Student Perceptions 
#aln14 
#demonpilot
Student Perceptions 
Wanted to work with 
the named 
Professors 
Needed convenience 
of online format and 
no long residen...
Student Perceptions 
How long are the 
synchronous sessions? 
Live and die by my 
calendar 
Felt so alone 
when audio 
was...
Insight into fulfilling student 
expectations 
• Caliber of faculty 
– Originality of perspective- scholarship 
– Personal...
Student Behavior 
Access Summary 
• Students tend to leave assignments to last day possible 
DAY	1 DAY	2 DAY	3 DAY	4 DAY	5...
Student Behavior 
Access Summary 
• Students who access the course the most, are not necessarily the most 
active 
30	 25	...
Student Behavior 
Discussion Forum 
• Standard personal introductions do not foster community, but 
decentralized assignme...
Student Behavior 
Discussion Forum 
Course Roundtable  INFLUENCERS 
generate more posts from others than 
they contribute...
Student Behavior 
• Opportunity to advise students on effective 
strategies for interacting with asynchronous 
video conte...
Insight into doctoral level 
program evaluation 
• Acknowledge that students are advanced level 
professionals- typical ap...
Next time 
• Authentic sample useful for gathering 
data but also for preparing 1/3 cohort 
prior to orientation 
• False ...
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"Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon": Pilot Strategies for Blended Learning Programs

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Co-presented with Roxanne Russell at the 2014 Online Learning Consortium International Conference (October 30, 2014)

ABSTRACT: We are in a transitional time for online learning at traditional higher education institutions- passing from a period of majority resistance to online learning and into a period of either acquiescent or enthusiastic acceptance of online learning as an inevitable disruption to traditional practices (Selingo, 2013). Generational, social and economic drivers are prompting more higher education administrators and faculty to offer traditional programs using online and hybrid models. Just as the approach to online course development requires more front-end comprehensive planning and development than traditional face-to-face courses, program level design requires a more systematic approach to cross course consistency and reliability. Pilot testing for usability and feasibility is crucial to the design process for online programs and introduces a unique set of challenges and opportunities to improve student learning and experiences.

This session will share the design, experiences, interview and survey feedback, and learning analytics gathering process from a pilot conducted for a new online doctoral program, the first online doctoral program of any kind at Emory University and the first online version of this particular degree to be nationally accredited.

Published in: Education
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"Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon": Pilot Strategies for Blended Learning Programs

  1. 1. “Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon.” Pilot Strategies for Blended Learning Programs Emory University ~ L. Roxanne Russell ~ Timothy D. Harfield #aln14 #demonpilot
  2. 2. Interactive Session Prompt On Twitter use #aln14 #aln7717 & #demonpilot How have you used traditional data collection methods or learning analytics to inform course design and delivery? What is the relative importance of student perception and student behavior in informing course design and delivery? #aln14 #demonpilot
  3. 3. D Min Pilot Overview #aln14 #demonpilot
  4. 4. Process • One D Min faculty member and 10 accepted D Min students • One typical course week of activities with primary tools: Blackboard, Adobe Connect, Echo360 & Voicethread • Data Collection – Survey – Individual Interviews – Focus Group Interviews – Learning Analytics • Data analyzed for design-related program implications and to inform programmatic student support infrastructure, student orientation, administrative training and faculty development #aln14 #demonpilot
  5. 5. Student Perceptions #aln14 #demonpilot
  6. 6. Student Perceptions Wanted to work with the named Professors Needed convenience of online format and no long residency Knew if Candler was doing it, they would do it well. Had met and been impressed with high quality Candler Alums Really interested in the focus of tracks #aln14 #demonpilot
  7. 7. Student Perceptions How long are the synchronous sessions? Live and die by my calendar Felt so alone when audio wasn’t working in the session Made myself use the digital version of the readings #aln14 #demonpilot
  8. 8. Insight into fulfilling student expectations • Caliber of faculty – Originality of perspective- scholarship – Personal exposure – Charisma/personality • Prestige of institution – Quality of environment (facilities/interface/tools) – Quality of service & support – Caliber of and access to peer network • Challenge of curriculum – Relevance and level of content – Worthwhile course activities – Scaffolded project #aln14 #demonpilot
  9. 9. Student Behavior Access Summary • Students tend to leave assignments to last day possible DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 DAY 4 DAY 5 DAY 6 DAY 7 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday 5-May-14 6-May-14 7-May-14 8-May-14 9-May-14 10-May-14 11-May-14 12-May-14 13-May-14 14-May-14 Read Miller-McLemore, "Introduction" Review Materials as needed Review Materials as needed Read Moschella, "Ethnography" Review Materials as needed Create a Blackboard Profile Attend (ordinarily student-led) Synchronous Session: Colloquy Post your response on the Voicethread Discussion Post Introduction in "Getting to Know You" Discussion Continue working on "Designing a Research Question" Assignment Submit "Designing a Research Question" Assignment Attend faulty-led Sunchonous Session: What is a Practical Theologian? View Lecture: Cultivating Practical Theological Sensibilities Post your Course Roundtable Discussion Question (DQ) Response Begin "Designing a Research Question" Assignment Post your replies to classmates' DQs Begin "Designing a Research Question" Assignment Course Accesses 1 6 10 2 11 1 14 11 7 2 Unique Users 1 6 8 1 7 1 3 9 5 5 Total Item Accesses 4 68 93 6 170 3 58 94 147 514 Total Minutes in Course 1.57 622.43 1139.35 10.37 937.45 2.50 121.28 513.90 514.12 273.77 Avg Minutes in Course (per user) 1.57 103.74 142.42 10.37 133.92 2.50 40.43 57.10 102.82 54.75 #aln14 #demonpilot
  10. 10. Student Behavior Access Summary • Students who access the course the most, are not necessarily the most active 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Student A Student B Student C Student D Student E Student F Student G Student H Student I Student J Accesses #aln14 #demonpilot
  11. 11. Student Behavior Discussion Forum • Standard personal introductions do not foster community, but decentralized assignments may lead to differences in integration DMin Pilot DMin 500 #aln14 #demonpilot
  12. 12. Student Behavior Discussion Forum Course Roundtable  INFLUENCERS generate more posts from others than they contribute  CONNECTORS may generate relatively few posts, but serve to integrate others into the community #aln14 #demonpilot
  13. 13. Student Behavior • Opportunity to advise students on effective strategies for interacting with asynchronous video content #aln14 #demonpilot
  14. 14. Insight into doctoral level program evaluation • Acknowledge that students are advanced level professionals- typical approaches to measuring student success or performance may not be appropriate • Recognize the assessment value of student expectations and perceptions for their learning experiences in doctoral level graduate programs • Prompted holistic examination of context, purpose, and questions for integrating learning analytics into program evaluation • http://www.slideshare.net/rockirussell/d-min-programeval #aln14 #demonpilot
  15. 15. Next time • Authentic sample useful for gathering data but also for preparing 1/3 cohort prior to orientation • False sense of security from remote students- technology dependency and anxiety much more palpable when on campus • Refine framework for data collection-survey questions, interview questions, and learning analytics #aln14 #demonpilot

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