No significant difference? No significant difference. No significant difference!?!?

Big shout out to Megan Bomer, Phil Harris, and Jen Hopp for helping to facilitate this session, ‘No  Significant Difference: Teaching and Student Learning in Online,  Hybrid, and Traditional Classes’ during August Celebration of Learning 2012.

Here are Megan’s slides and Phil’s slides and the breakout session handout.

And notes from the session:

  • Students tend to withdraw early in WWW classes, perhaps because the WWW class isn’t what they expected (ICC needs to keep striving to get the right students in online classes, based on informing them about what it is, what to expect, etc.);
  • We might want to investigate – when students are withdrawing from WWW classes, are they enrolling in the same course in a different mode? (sent an inquiry to the IR folks);
  • Is there a correlation between GPA and online course success? (Probably, but using GPA as an entry factor for online may be invalid.  Students may have once been unsuccessful but have remediated whatever issue or skill was the barrier the first time around.)
  • If students are enrolled in developmental reading, writing, or mathematics, should they be permitted to enroll in WWW classes?  (Something to consider for the future…)
  • Academic honesty and cheating are certainly considerations in WWW course design and particularly testing.  Phil in Math had an issue where a student’s online tests were 80-90+% but the in-person final was 29%.  The final’s weight determined the student’s course grade was a ‘D’ but without the proctored final the student would have passed the class with a ‘B’ (or better).  ICC does not discourage proctoring or other measures of academic integrity.  However, students may not realize ‘offline’ proctoring is require.  In the future we may try to collect proctoring requirements for course so we can help better-inform students when enrolling in these classes.
  • Session attendees asked – do you spend more time on your online classes?  Facilitators responded they spend more time-up front preparing materials but over the course they spend as much time as teaching in other modes; it’s just dispersed differently.
  • Megan, in comparing her classes, noted students all used the online homework system; students in WWW classes use it to learn while students in in-person classes use the online homework to practice/reinforce and she uses more examples and individual and group work in class to help students learn.
  • Jen shared regardless of mode, the class experience boils down to preparedness, participation, retention, and success and those factors are largely determined by student attitude.  Megan reinforced that the success of a class in any mode is also heavily dependent on the instructor regardless of mode.
  • Jen noted she prefers teaching LIT and Humanities classes online because an online class provides more opportunity for all-class discussion.
  • Jen also noted differences in handling difficult student situations in online vs. in-person classes.  She shared she had an irate student who, in an in-person class, may have garnered the support of other students and rallied against the teacher.  On the other hand, in a class setting, Jen may have had the opportunity to intervene with the student before she got irate.

Faculty who teach the same classes in different modes should really take a look at the analysis Phil and Megan did (see slides previously linked).  They both indicated this analysis gave them an insight into their classes for which they hypothesized but didn’t have concrete evidence.  Megan noted the national pass rate for college algebra (regardless of mode) is 40% – we’re doing OK at ICC!!

Here are some general stats for comparing modes at ICC…

FY11 to FY12, same mode comparison of success from year-to-year
All modes improved in course success from FY11 to FY12
Hybrid up 3.21%
In-person up .47%
Online up 2.35%

FY11 to FY12, in-person to online success comparison (in-person higher)
In-person is still higher at 73.41% but we closed the gap by 1.88%
2.52% in FY11
0.64% inFY12

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