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Reviewing Online Instruction April 8, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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writing (Warning: Dull!) After a few weeks of working on a Review of Online Instruction in the college, I finally got a good chunk of the data analyzed. Thank goodness for Excel’s Pivot Table function since it allowed me to analyze the numbers quickly. A few copy and paste functions later and I had a good start on the report.

I will share a few of the results, but it is not over yet. I have yet to hear from about fifty faculty members. Actually, the methodology was interesting. The Dean wanted to get a snapshot of what we were doing with online instruction for the whole curriculum, not just one semester. Okay, that was fair. Therefore, I surveyed faculty for last semester, this semester, and what they planned to teach over the summer then eliminated any repeats. As a result, I think I have a decent collection of course offerings to analyze. Overall, there were about 750 courses in all.

Now, I had to eliminate the courses that were independent studies or practicum and internship classes. There would not be any faculty-student instruction in those. At least, it would not be guidance to a whole class and there would not be any distribution of materials. Next, I eliminated the repeat sections and determined who the “instructor of record? for the course was. Those two steps got the numbers down into the 500s.

I must say that I really wanted simply to assume that faculty who did not respond to the survey only taught face-to-face but, of course, that would not fly. I was determined to get a good baseline impression of how we were using online tools to enhance our instruction. Then, after some interventions, perhaps a training program for faculty, I would analyze the improvements in numbers of faculty using the online tools.

One example of what I wanted to see was how faculty members were distributing materials. Did they have all the readings online or only some of them? Were there many classes where no readings or presentations were available?

 

 

All Readings

Some Readings

No Readings

Total

All Presentations

12

8

3

23

Some Presentations

20

27

6

53

No Presentations

22

10

23

55

Total

54

45

32

131

 

For any statistics junkies reading this table, I ran a Chi-square analysis and it turns out the distribution is statistically significant. If you are a stats-junkie you can figure out the numbers and see for yourself. If you are not a stats-junkie you will not really care, so let us move on. Anyway, it turns out that about 20 percent have no materials online at all.

 

I was also interested in what kinds of course management systems faculty were using. It turns out that a large number use face-to-face instruction but a growing number (I know it is growing because they have asked for training) are teaching more parts of their classes online. Before I can finish this report, I have to have a better return rate than 40 percent. Actually, it is up to 45 percent as of right now, every since I sent out my personal pleas for assistance.

There is way more to share but it’s getting late.

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