26 March 2010 Presentation

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1. Instructional Technology Students Experiences with Online and Hybrid EducationBy Timothy Dedeaux 2. IntroductionDespite Budget Crises, schools at all levels continue to invest in online and distance education, including course management software like WebCT and BlackboardBut students have varying experiences with, and perspectives on, the experience of online and hybrid education 3. Research ParticipantsDespite their technological skills and their frequent contact with online courses, Instructional Technology students attitudes towards online and hybrid courses had not been studied.It is not enough to simply assume that IT graduate students would be comfortable with online learning environments. 4. Research QuestionsWhat are the IT Grad Students Experiences with, and opinions of, Online courses?Experiences with, and opinions of, Hybrid courses?Suggestions for improving Online and Hybrid courses?Preferences for future coursework? 5. MethodsQualitative study, using semi-structured face to face interviews with five Instructional Technology graduate students.Interviews were transcribed by the researcherParticipants responses were coded for themes 6. Observed Themes Asynchronous Education, a two-edged swordTwo of the strong points of online education, convenience and independence, are directly tied to its asynchronous natureBut, the main suggestions for improving online education were to add weekly synchronous chats. 7. Observed ThemesAmong the participants, Overall Student Satisfaction did not appreciably differ between Online, Hybrid, and Face to Face courses, and there was not a consistent preference for any one type of course.This echoes results found by other researchers with other student groups, such as York (2008). 8. Observed ThemesTransactional Distance (so named by Steinman, in 2007), or the difficulty in communicating with the instructor and other students, was a major concern, especially in text-only asynchronous environments.Participants suggested synchronous text chats, voice chats, and video conferences. 9. Observed ThemesCommunication with the instructor was seen as vital by all participants.Participants expressed a desire to have both synchronous and asynchronous communication with instructors available in all three formats, Online, Hybrid, and Face to Face 10. ReferencesSteinman, D. (2007). Educational Experiences and the Online Student. TechTrends, 51(5), 46-52.York, R. O. (2008). Comparing Three Modes of Instruction in a Graduate Social Work ProgramJournal of Social Work Education, 44(2), 157-172.