Sunday, October 21, 2007

Assignment 7, Research Ideas

Potential Research Questions
Do online classes increase student retention?
Are students who register for online classes initially more or less committed to completing the course?
Are students who have taken an online class more or less likely to take another online class if a choice is available?
Are the perceived benefits of online classes (flexibility, convenience) outweighed by the perceived pitfalls of distance learning (social isolation, delayed feedback, limited access to the instructor)?
Does prior student efficacy with the technology employed increase the success of students in an online environment?
Is there a statistically significant difference in student achievement between on online class and a traditional one?
Do students in an online class need to be more self sufficient and motivated than students in a traditional setting?

Methodology Ideas
These questions might best be researched through both quantitative and qualitative studies. Sometimes an individual’s own perception of his/her efficacy does not match the actual amount of skill acquired. Surveys of perceptions and attitudes should be carefully constructed to highlight preconceived ideas and prior indications. Pre-course interviews and post-course interviews should explore changing attitudes to on line learning. One important concern should be to identify how student efficacy is affected by an online vs. traditional course.


Jon R said...

"Do students in an online class need to be more self sufficient and motivated than students in a traditional setting?"

I think you just hit the nail on the head! I always prefer online classes now that I've done a handful of them. Yet, I'm always amazed at how many people i hear that won't take an online class because they are afraid of being more self sufficient. My reaction is always the same, that there are deadlines just like a regular class and the only motivation you need is to FIND time.

Of course, i understand that everyone is different and many people will see that the absence of class structure in reference to schedule and time will be a drawback.

Work load is many times MORE I feel in online classes but again this is my viewpoint and to me this outways having to go to class during dinner time and miss out on time with my family :)


Rebecca said...

Hi Darline,
I agree with Jon that the workload seems to be greater in an online class.. but also learn more and have more control over your learning (as long as the class is well designed to begin with).
I think it was Jon's study that he researched, that found that students wanted to work ahead in an online class... that says something about the commitment and motivation of online students (who may also be juggling home, family, job, etc).
Hey that's a great photo of your bike!

James said...

You bring up many good points regarding the effectiness of online class learning. Distance education works well with dedicated students who know that deadlines must be met, work must be done and completed on time and understand how to balance time with a work and family schedule. In other cases, like remediation at the community college level, I feel that online classes should not be offered because the students in these classes need more face to face time. They need more attention and probably will benefit more from actually sitting in the classroom listening to a professor.


Ivonne Tapia said...

Hi Darlene,
There are very important issues that you point out in your research questions. I know that today many students and instructors are fascinated with the online classes and as well of new technology. Do you think that this effect will remaind in demand or it will surpass its effect like any other new technology tool?

Bruce said...

Darlene, Great questions! I've been doing a lot of thinking about this, since this is the first time in years I've had so much trouble staying ahead of my assignments. (For myself, I got behind when the Lauer book I ordered online arrived two weeks after I expected it, and I've never really caught up. I see others turning in work late, and I adjust my perception of the tardy penalty accordingly. Is there a place where a late-assignment penalty is actually documented for this class?)

Regarding this question: "Is there a statistically significant difference in student achievement between on online class and a traditional one?" You no doubt posed this knowing that it would need to be more focused in an actual research study. We would want to unambiguously define "achievement" (letter grade? score? self-reported satisfaction? independent criterion-based assessment?), and we would want to make the two classes as similar as possible in content, duration, frequency, instructor style, etc. Studying this question seems as if it could be a whole specialty career itself.