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Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

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webinar with J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and their work through QEP with a FIPSE grant. The webinar walks through their process of creating and tweaking their orientation course to help improve student retention and success.
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ORIENTING STUDENTS TO LEARNING ONLINE: WHY THE EMPHASIS UPON LEARNING MATTERS Ghazala Hashmi, PhD Coordinator, Quality Enhancement Plan Meg Foster, MA Assistant Coordinator, Quality Enhancement Plan J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Richmond, Virginia SmarterServices Summer Webinar Series July 24, 2013
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Page 1: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

ORIENTING STUDENTS TO LEARNING ONLINE:

WHY THE EMPHASIS UPON LEARNING MATTERS

Ghazala Hashmi, PhD

Coordinator, Quality Enhancement Plan

Meg Foster, MA

Assistant Coordinator, Quality Enhancement Plan

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

Richmond, Virginia

SmarterServices Summer Webinar Series July 24, 2013

Page 2: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Overview of the Session• Identifying the attributes vital for effective learning within the

21st century

• Broadening our concepts of “College Ready” within these new and emerging contexts of higher education

• Expanding our institutional approaches to student preparation with concepts built upon targeted assessments

• Implementing these findings directly within support resources for students and faculty

• Proposing some next steps

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 2

Page 3: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Goals of the Session

To evaluate the ways in which student readiness must include – for all students – some degree of readiness for the new digital literacies of this century

To share one institution’s efforts in the area of improving student success within online learning

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 3

Page 4: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Background: JSRCC’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

Success in Distance Learning

Student Readiness

Student Orientation

Faculty Training

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 4

Page 5: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

A Traditional, Operational Definition of “College Ready”

The level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed

—without remediation—in a credit-bearing, general education course at

a postsecondary institution that offers a baccalaureate degree or transfer

to a baccalaureate program.

“Succeed” is defined as completing entry level courses at a level of

understanding and proficiency that makes it possible for the student to

consider taking the next course in the sequence or the next level of

course in the subject area.

– David Conley

“Toward a Comprehensive View of College Readiness” (2007)

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 5

Page 6: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

An Initial Definition of Readiness for Online Learning

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Access to Technology

Technical Competency

Ability to Manipulate and Manage Digital Environments

Most institutions began with the traditional concept of COLLEGE READY and then predicated “student readiness for online learning” upon essentially three additional factors:

Page 7: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

What most institutions anticipated . . .

College Ready

Technology Skills

Success in Online

Learning

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 7

Page 8: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

The realities we faced . . .

Online courses are too often characterized by• Low persistence rates• Fewer successful students

Broader student and institutional impacts • Delays in college completion• Student attrition from courses or from college

altogether• Increase in college costs for students• Broader implications within the “time to degree” costs• Faculty engagement and preparation for online

instruction

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Page 9: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

National Online Enrollments, as a Percentage of Total Enrollments, Continues to Increase

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“Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States,”

Babson Survey Research Group (2013)

Page 10: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

The annual increase in the numbers of students taking at least one online course has not yet plateaued

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

0 2,000,000 4,000,000 6,000,000 8,000,000

Increase Over Previous YearStudents Taking at Least 1 Online Course

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 10

“Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States,”

Babson Survey Research Group (2013)

Page 11: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

JSRCC Data for Online Enrollments (2011-2012) Reflects National Trends

Downtown Suburban Rural Online0

5000

10000

15000

20000

25000

30000

35000

40000

EnrollmentsHeadcount

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 11

Page 12: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Online Enrollments Impacted Community Colleges Earlier and in Greater Numbers

According to a 2003 National Center for Education Statistics report, the largest share of distance education enrollments (48%) was in community colleges.

Community Colleges, in particular, have had to respond sooner and more deliberately to student demand for online learning opportunities

Even in the midst of the recession, distance education enrollments in community colleges increased 22%, up from 11% the previous year. (Miller, 2010)

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 12

Page 13: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

As educators, what should our responses be?

• Slow down the expansions of online learning?

• Divide student populations into categories for these different learning contexts, or create gatekeeping policies for student enrollment within online courses?

• Develop our understanding of and approaches to an adequate, appropriate preparation of all students for the new learning and teaching environments that we now face?

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Page 14: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Expanding the Essential Definitions of “College Ready” to Embrace Readiness for Online Learning

In the contemporary higher education environment,

academic success for ALL students is frequently predicated

upon the critical skills that are necessary for success within

digital learning environments.

Even students who never set a “virtual foot” within the

digital landscape are still called upon to navigate through

digital learning. In reality, increasing numbers of students are

completing some – if not most – of their academic work

online.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 14

Page 15: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

What are we doing to prepare and support our increasing numbers of online learners?

Online learning calls upon sets of skills that are often not

factored into the traditional evaluations of “college ready”:

• Discipline for independent learning

• Ability to navigate new and complex digital

environments

• Personal attributes that support and sustain

academic efforts

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 15

Page 16: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Essential Literacies of the 21st Century

Our very language itself is challenged as it attempts to keep apace

with the evolving dimensions of the materials and the information with

which we interact, and that we try to interpret and integrate into our

lives:

• New Media Literacy

• Information Literacy

• Digital Literacy

• Technology Literacies

These literacies are essential for all of our learners – not just our

online learners

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Page 17: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

The example of Virginia’s recent legislative responses highlights the essential reality of redefining “College Ready”

In April 2012, Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill requiring Virginia high school students to complete at least one virtual course to graduate with a standard or advanced diploma; the law goes into effect for the freshman class of 2013-2014. The measure’s argument suggests that students with online learning experiences are better prepared for the “job market of the 21st century.”

Other states have adopted similar measures or are evaluating the need to adopt these measures.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 17

Page 18: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Institutional Challenges

• How do we effectively prepare students for the new learning environments?

• How do we assess these new levels of college readiness?

• How do we orient and/or remediate for digital learning skills?

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 18

Page 19: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Poll Question

What types of orientation activities are your institutions providing for online learners?

Self-directed ModulesFacilitated, Online SessionsFace-to-Face Orientations to TechnologyNo Distinct Orientations for Online LearnersOther

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 19

Page 20: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Comevo online orientation software (comevo.com)

• Meet students where they are• Online convenience• Engaging content

• Student Success Tool• Access to content• Quiz, Test, Portal• Useful campus-wide

Page 21: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

APPLICATIONS WITHIN ONE VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE INSTITUTION

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Page 22: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Measuring Students’ Preparation for Learning Online & Preparing Students to Learn OnlineTwo steps taken by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College:

1) Integration of SmarterMeasure – a web-based assessment tool – to evaluate students’ readiness skills for online learning

2) Development and implementation of an Orientation to Learning Online module that is facilitated and delivered through Blackboard, provides essential instruction for new online students, and models the core elements of quality course design

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Page 23: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

SmarterMeasure: An Introduction

The SmarterMeasure assessment helps students determine their

readiness to succeed in an online learning environment.

Personal Attributes

Life Factors

Learning Styles

Reading Recall

Technology Competency & Knowledge

Typing Skills

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Page 24: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

SmarterMeasure Student Report

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Page 25: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

SmarterMeasure and its Results for JSRCC Students

Assessments of SmarterMeasure data helped the institution to identify two central areas of weakness among its student population:

Life Factors: Availability of Time, Place, Reason, Resources & Skills

Personal Attributes: Time Management, Personal Responsibility, Willingness to Seek Assistance

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 25

Page 26: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

have about a 56% chance of succeeding in Distance Learning classes.

Conversely, students who do not struggle with “Life Factors” or who display high scores within Personal Attributes,

have about a 75% chance of succeeding in Distance Learning classes

SmarterMeasure Findings

Students who struggle with “Life Factors” or who display low scores within the Personal Attributes assessment,

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 26

Page 27: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

What SmarterMeasure Emphasizes for JSRCC Students

Non-cognitive skills are the essential ingredients for student success:

Personal Attributes

• study skills• metacognitive strategies• self-regulated learning• time management• goal-setting

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 27

Page 28: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

In addition to Personal

Attributes, the ability to

manage LIFE FACTORS

has a significant positive

effect upon student success

and persistence.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 28

Page 29: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

BUILDING UPON SMARTERMEASURE ASSESSMENTS TOCREATE A SOLID ORIENTATION TO LEARNING ONLINESummer 2011 to the Present

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Page 30: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Development of

CDL 001: Orientation to Learning Online

Evaluated SmarterMeasure findings and other college assessments

Created a team to develop the orientation. Team was comprised of

volunteers who connected three vital areas: Academic Affairs,

Student Affairs, and Information Technology.

Critical to success was including faculty and staff who brought their

expertise/perspective as online teachers and students.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 30

Page 31: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

CDL 001: An Overview• The orientation session takes approximately 4-6 total hours to

complete.

• It simulates the experience of being in an actual online class.

• The session is facilitated by trained faculty/staff member.

• It is housed in Blackboard.

• Six Learning Units, with activities, are designed to be completed within 4 to 5 days

• Assignments include 3 discussion board posts, 3 quizzes, 1 library research assignment, and a final self-reflection essay.

• Students also complete SmarterMeasure and submit their individual report to the facilitator.

• An exit survey captures students’ responses to the Orientation.

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Page 32: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

The Learning Units of CDL001

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Page 33: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Success and Persistence Rates of CDL001 Completers

Summer 2011 – Fall 2012 completers and their Success Rates in Online Learning:

1123 students registered to take CDL 001

These students have enrolled in 4592 distance courses between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012.

Persistence rate: 93.7% for CDL Completers vs. 87.9% for Non-Completers

Successful completion (A,B, or C) rate: 83% for CDL Completers vs. 69% for Non-Completers

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 33

Page 34: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Poll Question

If your institution has also integrated SmarterMeasure for

its students, how are the assessment results being used?

To advise students considering online coursesAs an assignment within certain coursesFor placement approval in online classesAs a self-assessment for studentsOtherMy institution is not using SmarterMeasure

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 34

Page 35: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Proposals for Next Steps

Partnerships between secondary and post-secondary institutions to develop support and orientation activities for online learning

Increased training of faculty and teachers to meet the growing needs for both online learning and the new demands of emerging literacy expectations

Direct applications of assessment results towards the creation of products that effectively support and prepare students for the challenges of accessing information and learning in the digital landscapes

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Page 36: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

ReferencesBabson Survey Research Group. (2013). Changing course: ten years of

tracking online education in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/changingcourse.pdf

Conley, David T. (2007) Toward a comprehensive view of college readiness. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from www.nebhe.org/wp-content/uploads/Conley.ppt

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Page 37: Orientating Students to Learning Online: Why the Emphasis on Learning Matters

Thank you for your participation

Ghazala Hashmi

[email protected]

Meg Foster

[email protected]

J Sargeant Reynolds Community College | Richmond, Virginia

804.523.5515

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College 37


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