[Technology 1128] Re: pre assessments for online learning

Archived Content Disclaimer

This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.

Silver-Pacuilla, Heidi HSilver-Pacuilla at air.org
Tue Jun 26 13:02:40 EDT 2007


Hi everyone - great to see the conversation keeping up at such a robust
level! I just wanted to raise a point from my research review as well
as my personal work and research with students. I would caution against
pre-assessments that screen people out of classes. Pre assessments in
our literacy and ESOL world should screen people *into* the right
environments for their skills, otherwise we will lose them - again.
Students who responded to evaluations of their online learning
experience unanimously say that they learned computer skills AND
self-directed learning habits *by* participating. This is a very fine
line in service delivery, I know, but I think the key is to encourage
students to try and then have supports on hand as/when they need them.
We also have to keep pushing to produce and use better, more responsive
instructional materials that teach the skills necessary to learn from
them.

Good luck to all of us!



Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Ph.D.

American Institutes for Research

1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW

Washington, DC 20007

202.403.5218 (Phone)

202.403.5454 (Fax)

________________________________

From: technology-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:technology-bounces at nifl.gov]
On Behalf Of Melinda Hefner
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 12:27 PM
To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List
Subject: [Technology 1126] Re: Tryout periods



I'm so glad to hear that your students' computer literacy skills are
assessed. We've found that students often think that the computer
skills they have are sufficient for a DL course, when they aren't.
(They may e-mail and use the internet, but not know how to save files,
upload files, use discussion boards, use digital drop boxes, use virtual
classrooms, etc., etc.).



You didn't mention this, but I assume that the assessments also measure
sefl-management skills, learning styles, lifestyle considerations,
hardware and software requirements, etc. Measuring students' perceptions
of DL courses is also helpful since many first-time DL students think
that DL courses are easier than seated or hybrid courses.



I've seen lots of DL readiness assessments, but often they only address
computer skills rather than also addressing the areas I mentioned above.
As DL courses become more and more common and as student learning and
student satisfaction data are analyzed, I believe that the importance of
comprehensive distance learning readiness will emerge.





Melinda M. Hefner
Director, Literacy Support Services



Basic Skills Department
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
2855 Hickory Blvd.
Hudson, North Carolina 28638
Office: (828) 726-2245
FAX: (828) 726-2266













>>> "Susan Jones" <SUJones at parkland.edu> 06/26/07 11:09 AM >>>


I have seen exactly such readiness assessments. I'm pretty sure I had
to take one before I took an online course here in 2000... but it wasn't
a grad program. Starting recently, *all* our students have to take a
"computer competency" assessment and course placement is recommended
from that. (We have several levels of basic computer competency
classes.)

Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Academic Development Center
Parkland College
Champaign, IL 61821
sujones at parkland.edu
Webmastress,
http://www.resourceroom.net
http://bicyclecu.blogspot.com



>>> Melinda Hefner <mhefner at cccti.edu> 6/25/2007 2:41 PM >>>

I'm jumping in here mid-stream so this may have been discussed
previously.

I have rarely seen in DL courses, especially for DL literacy courses,
any kind of distance learning readiness assessment. You're so right
when you say that "...it seems reasonable that we help them find the
instructional method or class that best fits their needs and learning
styles." I'm in a 100% online grad program and several of the folks
have dropped out because their technical skills simply weren't adequate.
I've found too many educators who have discounted the DL readiness piece
and go on to blame the students for not being successful.

Melinda M. Hefner
Director, Literacy Support Services

Basic Skills Department
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
2855 Hickory Blvd.
Hudson, North Carolina 28638
Office: (828) 726-2245
FAX: (828) 726-2266







>>> Leslie Petty <lpetty at twmi.rr.com> 06/25/07 10:40 AM >>>


I agree. Some of the states in Project IDEAL have found that students
who have an extensive orientation to the distance material - including
plenty of time to "play" and get a feel for this instructional approach
- tend to persist longer. If we want students to be successful, it
seems reasonable that we help them find the instructional method or
class that best fits their needs and learning styles. It's hard for
them to make an informed decision about distance if they're unfamiliar
with it, so the idea of try-out periods makes a great deal of sense.

Leslie Petty

Wendy Quinones wrote:
I'm a little late getting back to this, but I love the point you made,
Nancy, about the try-out being a learning experience even if the course
isn't completed. I've found that to be the case with PD online as well,

with teachers trying out the online experience and deciding they
definitely
don't like it and leaving; others finding that the material or the
participant interaction to be so valuable that they persist in the face
of
all kinds of technical and personal difficulties. Not too different
from
our students, I think. In this age of accountability we focus perhaps
to
much on outcomes and not enough on process and what can be learned from
it,
regardless of outcome.

Wendy Quinones
----- Original Message -----
From: <nancy.friday at alphaplus.ca>
To: "The Technology and Literacy Discussion List" <technology at nifl.gov>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 2:03 PM
Subject: [Technology 1073] Re: Tryout periods



Hi,

Nancy from Toronto here again in response to the issue of learner
retention.
Recruitment and retention have been the focus of much discussion during
the
distance delivery research we have been engaged in at the AlphaPlus
Centre
with
the four sites that have been exploring distance delivery.

Retention has also been a noted interest in what happens in short online

courses
that we have developed and delivered as part of AlphaRoute for the past
three
years. Our emerging and currently only form of new content for
AlphaRoute
this
year is online courses. Our courses are four weeks long. For the first

two
years they were delivered in a discussion forum - Web Board (supported
by
an
external course web site) as part of AlphaRoute. This year we are
offering the
courses in Moodle. You can take a look at the course topic list and
external
course web sites at:
www.resources.alpharoute.org > Resources > Online courses for adult
literacy
students

What we have found in terms of retention is that for the first two
weeks,
students are gung-ho, and then we see a drop-off in week three that is
sustained
through week four. Generally we have found that a third of the students

that
enroll in a course complete it and receive a course certificate of
participation.

Interesting what you share David about a two-week period being perhaps
the
right
amount to try-out time.

I should note that we acknowledge there is a continuum of learning for
us
all,
and so for a student to take the step and enroll in an AlphaRoute online

course
is in fact a learning step. Trying it out for a week or two to see how
it
works
and then not continuing is also learning. Committing to take the course

and
complete the work to achieve the certificate at the end (and learning
some
cool
stuff along the way) is a goal for us. And in the world of
demonstrating
literacy learning and a range of skills, can make for a great
demonstration.
But we would like to think that our courses are so valuable to learners
and
engaging that they will all move from start to finish. It isn't
realistic
that
they will though - because of that continuum of learning.


>From the stats and knowledge of the programs that the students enrolled

in

the

courses come from, the highest retention rates come from students whose
instructor has included the AlphaRoute online course within their
instruction
and where students are in a computer lab at the same time taking the
course. So
motivation and support (instructor and peer) are onsite. However, the
course
facilitator is at a distance and does contribute to a motivating and
retention
aspect of student support. The development of online courses in
AlphaRoute has
not been done within a research project or model. We are learning as we

go and
writing articles and sharing information as we learn. Our challenge at
this
point is to focus on that three week drop-off reality and see what we
can
do
from the course content and development side to attempt to support
learners in
sustaining their involvement past that drop-off point.

Any suggestions or ideas from the range of instructors and researchers
participating in this discussion are more than welcome!

Nancy Friday









"David J. Rosen" <djrosen at comcast.net> on 06/15/2007 09:01:41 AM

Please respond to The Technology and Literacy Discussion List
<technology at nifl.gov>








To: The Technology and Literacy Discussion List
<technology at nifl.gov>

cc: (bcc: Nancy Friday)



Subject: [Technology 1064] Tryout periods








Distance Learning Technology Colleagues,

Earlier this week, in response to a message Heidi Silver-Pacuilla had
posted, Holly Dilatush wrote:

"too many learners register, show up one week, then drop before/
without completing 12 hours/first episode. Follow-up (to attempt to
determine WHY) has been challenging -- guesswork more than documented
responses. There
are SO many extenuating circumstances."

For many adult learners, especially those who choose online options,
and for many reasons, we need to design/include/expect a "tryout
period" a short online learning experience -- perhaps two weeks --
sampling the material, process and technology used in the longer,
online learning. At the end of the tryout, participants can stop (if
they were experimenting with the medium, are not happy with the
content, can't make the longer commitment, or for any other reason).
Those who are ready to commit, can do so, and at that point begin to
be counted in the DOE-funded system.

Does an example of this already exist somewhere? If so, how is the
tryout period funded? (State and local funders and private funders
need to pick up the costs of this "tryout")

I believe we need the same sort of tryout period for teachers doing
online professional development. Does a model of this exist somewhere?

Your thoughts?


David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.net



----------------------------------------------------
National Institute for Literacy
Technology and Literacy mailing list
Technology at nifl.gov
To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/technology
Email delivered to nfriday at alphaplus.ca


===========================================================
Nancy Friday
AlphaRoute Coordinator
AlphaPlus Centre (http://alphaplus.ca)
Telephone: (416) 322-1012 x.305
Fax: 1-800-788-1417
TTY: 1-800-788-1912
nancy.friday at alphaplus.ca
============================================================


----------------------------------------------------
National Institute for Literacy
Technology and Literacy mailing list
Technology at nifl.gov
To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/technology
Email delivered to wbquinones at comcast.net




----------------------------------------------------
National Institute for Literacy
Technology and Literacy mailing list
Technology at nifl.gov
To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/technology
Email delivered to lpetty at twmi.rr.com






--
*********************************
Leslie Petty
Associate Director, Project IDEAL
University of Michigan
Institute for Social Research
734-425-0748
----------------------------------------------------
National Institute for Literacy
Technology and Literacy mailing list
Technology at nifl.gov
To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to
http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/technology
Email delivered to mhefner at cccti.edu

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lincs.ed.gov/pipermail/technology/attachments/20070626/4d93fd08/attachment.html