Asynch Delivery and the LMS Still Dominate for Online Programs
By Dian Schaffhauser 05/22/17
a recent research project by Quality Matters and Eduventures, the “Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE)” offers a “baseline” examination of program development, quality measures and other structural issues.
95 percent of larger programs (those with 2,500 or more online program students) are “wholly asynchronous” while 1.5 percent are mainly or completely synchronous. About three-quarters (73 percent) of mid-sized programs (schools with between 500 and 2,499 online program students) and 62 percent of smaller programs are fully asynchronous.
The asynchronous nature of this kind of education may explain why threaded discussions turned up as the most commonly named teaching and learning technique, mentioned by 27.4 percent of respondents, closely followed by practice-based learning, listed by 27.3 percent of survey participants.
Blackboard and Instructure Canvas dominated. Audio- and videoconferencing come in a “distant second,” according to the researchers. The primary brands that surfaced for those functions were Adobe Connect, Cisco WebEx, Zoom, Kaltura, Panopto, TechSmith Camtasia and Echo360.
While the LMS plays a significant role in online programming, the report pointed to a distinct lack of references to “much-hyped innovations,” such as adaptive learning, competency-based education systems, simulation or game-based learning tools. (my note: my mouth run dry of repeating every time people start becoming orgasmic about LMS, D2L in particular)
four in 10 require the use of instructional design support, three in 10 use a team approach for online course design and one in 10 outsources the work. Overall, some 80 percent of larger programs use instructional design expertise.
In the smallest programs, instructional design support is treated as a “faculty option” for 53 percent of institutions. Another 18 percent expect faculty to develop their online courses independently. For 13 percent of mid-sized programs, the faculty do their development work independently; another 64 percent may choose whether or not to bring in instructional design help. (my note: this is the SCSU ‘case’)
Among the many possible quality metrics suggested by the researchers, the five adopted most frequently for internal monitoring were:
- Student achievement of program objectives (83 percent);
- Student retention and graduation rates (77 percent);
- Program reputation (48 percent);
- Faculty training (47 percent); and
- Student engagement measures (41 percent).