Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State
Advancing Online Education – Full Report-1s94jfi
Defining Online Education
The term “online education” has been used as a blanket phrase for a number of fundamentally different educational models. Phrases like distance education, e-Learning, massively open online courses (MOOCs), hybrid/blended learning, immersive learning, personalized and/or adaptive learning, master courses, computer based instruction/tutorials, digital literacy and even competency based learning have all colored the definitions the public uses to define “online education.”
online education” as having the following characteristics:
- Students who enroll in online courses or programs may reside near or far from the campus(es) providing the course(s) or program.
- A student’s course load may include offering where attendance is required in person or where an instructor/students are not required to be in the same geographic location.
- Students may enroll in one or more individual online course offerings provided by one or more institutions to that may or may not satisfy degree/program requirements.
- Student may pursue a certificate, program, or degree where a substantial number of courses, perhaps all, are taken without being in the same geographic location as others.
Organizational Effectiveness Research Group (OERG),
As the workgroup considered strategies that could advance online education, they were asked to use the primary and secondary sources listed above to support the fifteen (15) strategies that were developed
define a goal as a broad aspirational outcome that we strive to attain. Four goal areas guide this document. These goal areas include access, quality, affordability and collaboration. Below is a description of each goal area and the assumptions made for Minnesota State.
Over twenty percent of existing Minnesota State students enroll in online courses as a way to satisfy course requirements. For some students, online education is a convenient option; for others, online is the only option available
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation guidelines review the standards and processes institutions have in place to ensure quality in all of educational offerings, including online.
There are a number of ways in which institutions have demonstrated quality in individual courses and programs including the evaluation of course design, evaluation of instruction and assessment of student
a differential tuition rate to courses that are offered online. If we intend to have online education continue to be an affordable solution for students, Minnesota State and its institutions must be good stewards of these funds and ensure these funds support online education.
Online education requires different or additional services that need to be funded
transparency is important in tuition setting
Distance Minnesota is comprised of four institutions Alexandria Technical & Community College, Bemidji State University, Northland Community & Technical College, and Northwest Technical College) which collaborate to offer student support services, outreach, e-advising, faculty support, and administrative assistance for online education offerings.
strategies are defined as the overall plan used to identify how we can achieve each goal area.
Strategy 1: Ensure all student have online access to high quality support services
students enrolled in online education experiences should have access to “three areas of support including academic (such as tutoring, advising, and library); administrative (such as financial aid, and disability support); and technical (such as hardware reliability and uptime, and help desk).”
As a system, students have access to a handful of statewide services, include tutoring services through Smarthinking and test proctoring sites.
Strategy 2: Establish and maintain measures to assess and support student readiness for online education
A persistent issue for campuses has been to ensure that students who enroll in online course are aware of the expectations required to participate actively in an online course.
In addition to adhering to course expectations, students must have the technical competencies needed to perform the tasks required for online courses
Strategy 3: Ensure students have access to online and blended learning experiences in course and program offerings.
Strategy 4: These experiences should support and recognize diverse learning needs by applying a universal design for learning framework.
The OERG report included several references to efforts made by campuses related to the providing support and resources for universal design for learning, the workgroup did not offer any action steps.
Strategy 5: Expand access to professional development resources and services for faculty members
As online course are developed and while faculty members teach online courses, it is critical that faculty members have on-demand access to resources like technical support and course assistance.
5A. Statewide Faculty Support Services – Minnesota State provide its institutions and their faculty members with access to a centralized support center during extended hours with staff that can assist faculty members synchronously via phone, chat, text/SMS, or web conference
5C. Instructional Design and Technology Services – Establish a unit that will provide course design and instructional technology services to selected programs and courses from Minnesota State institutions.
Strategy 1: Establish and maintain a statewide approach for professional development for online education.
1B. Faculty Mentoring – Provide and sustain faculty mentoring programs that promote effective online pedagogy.
1C. Professional development for support staff – including instructional designers, D2L Brightspace site administrators and campus trainers, etc.)
more on online education in this IMS blog
- Written by Dani Babb Published: 24 March 2016
The common threads and take-aways for administrators:
- Faculty don’t like being micromanaged. Hire faculty you trust to do the job, provide guidelines and training, and let professionals do their thing.
- Pay appropriately, and give notice if you are canceling a course.
- Set expectations clearly, and communicate with faculty in the same tone you’d expect; assume the best not the worst.
- Include adjuncts as part of your team.
- Compensate when job duties increase.
- Handle student issues quickly, make sure prepared students enter programs (particularly in graduate work).
- Move away from the “gotcha mentality” into an inclusive, people-make-mistakes, “we are all in this together” model.
Here’s what some of the faculty who agreed to have their comments posted had to say about what lowers their morale:
- Sean-David McGoran noted that students allowed to bully faculty, repetitious and unnecessary training and unreasonable deadlines at final and midterm examination time can be demoralizing.
- Linda Chilson said that pay, curriculum that doesn’t make sense, student behavioral issues and school districts funding unnecessary training are issues, as well as lack of support for out of the box thinking.
- Leah Murray noted that micromanaging every little detail is demoralizing – and understandably added, “why not teach the class yourself if you are going to pay that much attention“. She also noted that lack of positive reinforcement and others taking credit for work you did is troubling.
- Mary Kay Westgate-Taylor cited poor new faculty orientation, unclear expectations, micromanagement and lack of support from administration regarding student issues as concerns.
- Dr Steve Woodsmall noted open admissions – too many graduate students who aren’t able or willing to do graduate level work or have a sense of entitlement (paying tuition guaranteeing a degree) and complaining when they receive clearly deserved failing grades causes low morale.
- Quiana Bradshaw noted that schools acting like adjuncts don’t matter causes low morale. Adjuncts often work hard with no promotional opportunities with no mentoring or encouragement, and only veteran individuals offered promotions. Not including adjuncts as part of the team or micromanaging adjuncts with reports and comments is concerning.
- Jeanie Rogers-Street noted that education not being the driving force of education (instead, finances being the main focus) is a cause of low morale.
- Christina Krepinevich Houston noted rude emails from supervisors as a cause of low morale.
- Stacie Williams commented that supervisors or administrators with a lack of experience in curriculum design and hiring skills dismissing the experience and knowledge of instructors is demoralizing.
- Traci Schneider Cull noted that not having support from online higher-ups or fixing issues in courses/not responding causes low morale.
- Nicki Favero Puckett cited continuous increases in workload without additional compensation as a cause.
- Terri Hennessy Craig stated that severely under, or unprepared, students and canceling classes (particularly without notice) is a cause of low morale.
- Maria Toy noted micromanagement and an increased workload with no additional compensation as a low morale cause
this conversation continues in this LInkedIn discussion group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2774663/2774663-6341436320048648193
more on online teaching in this IMS blog
Tobin, T. J., Mandernach, B. J., & Taylor, A. H. (2015). Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices (1 edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- 5 measurable faculty competencies for on line teaching:
- attend to unique challenges of distance learning
- Be familiar with unique learning needs
- Achieve mastery of course content, structure , and organization
- Respond to student inquiries
- Provide detailed feedback
- Communicate effectively
- Promote a safe learning environment
- Monitor student progress
- Communicate course goals
- Provide evidence of teaching presence.
Best practices include:
- Making interactions challenging yet supportive for students
- Asking learners to be active participants in the learning process
- Acknowledging variety on the ways that students learn best
- Providing timely and constructive feedback
- Instructor knowledge
- Method of instruction
- Instructor-student rapport
- Teaching behaviors
- Enthusiastic teaching
- Concern for teaching
8. The American Association for higher Education 9 principle4s of Good practice for assessing student learning from 1996 hold equally in the F2F and online environments:
the assessment of student learning beings with educational values
assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated and revealed in performance over time
assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes.
Assessment requires attention to outcomes but also and equally to the experiences that lead to those outcomes.
Assessment works best when it is ongoing, not episodic
Assessment fosters wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved
Assessment makes a difference when it begins with issues of use and illumines questions that people really care bout
Assessment is most likely to lead to improvements when it is part of the large set of conditions that promote change.
Through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to the public.
9 most of the online teaching evaluation instruments in use today are created to evaluate content design rather than teaching practices.
29 stakeholders for the evaluation of online teaching
- faculty members with online teaching experience
- campus faculty members as a means of establishing equitable evaluation across modes of teaching
- contingent faculty members teaching online
- department or college administrators
- members of faculty unions or representative governing organizations
- administrative support specialists
- distance learning administrators
- technology specialists
- LMS administrators
- Faculty development and training specialists
- Institutional assessment and effectiveness specialists
Sample student rating q/s
Rate the effectiveness of the online library for locationg course materials
Based on your experience,
148. Checklist for Online Interactive Learning COIL
150. Quality Online Course Initiative QOCI
151 QM Rubric
154 The Online Insturctor Evaluation System OIES
163 Data Analytics: moving beyond student learning
- # of announcments posted per module
- # of contributions to the asynchronous discussion boards
- Quality of the contributions
- Timeliness of posting student grades
- Timelines of student feedback
- Quality of instructional supplements
- Quality of feedback on student work
- Frequency of logins
- 180 understanding big data
- factor structure
187 a holistics valuation plan should include both formative evaluation, in which observations and rating are undertaken with the purposes of improving teaching and learning, and summative evaluation, in which observation and ratings are used in order to make personnel decisions, such as granting promotion and tenure, remediation, and asking contingent faculty to teach again.
195 separating teaching behaviors from content design
more on online teaching in this IMS blog
A Return to Best Practices for Teaching Online
Judith Boettcher book, The Online Teaching Survival Guide (second edition, Jossey-Bass 2016). In chapter three, “Best Practices for Teaching Online: Ten Plus Four,” you and your co-author Rita-Marie Conrad provide a list of 14 best practices for teaching online. How can these best practices help faculty?
when faculty are first asked to teach online, most do not have a lot of time to prepare. They are seldom given much coaching, mentoring, or support — often they are just kind of thrown into it,
Personalized learning means that while all students master core concepts, students ideally practice increasingly difficult use of those core concepts in contexts and settings desired by individual students.
we really need to step up to much more effective use of rubrics. Rubrics can define intellectual outcomes in several key areas, such as critical thinking, for example.
great course design is at the core of creating great online learning experiences. We need to ensure that the desired learning outcomes, the course experiences, and the ways we gather evidences of learning are all congruent, one with the other. Course experiences should help students develop the knowledge and expertise that they desire, and the evidences of learning we require of students should be meaningful and purposeful and where possible, personalized and customized.
more on online teaching in this IMS blog:
Moving beyond smile sheets: A case study on the evaluation and iterative improvement of an online faculty development program
The eCampus Quality Instruction Program (eQIP) is an online faculty development program developed to train faculty in designing and teaching fully online courses.
What is the best way to design and develop high- quality online courses and support faculty as they teach online?
Given faculty’s competing priorities and limited time, we contend that it is important for institutions, and specifically faculty developers, to analyze how much time faculty are spending in online faculty development activities as well as which parts are taking the most (or least) time. (p. 5)
A successful online faculty development program must include pedagogical support, technology support, and design and development support (Baran & Correia, 2014) that overcome obstacles about time, expertise, and motivation of faculty (Henning, 2012).(p. 17)
more on online learning in this IMS blog