[Technology 1143] Re: pre assessments for online learning

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Lissa probus joyess1 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 27 14:05:04 EDT 2007


Don't forget that normal academic attrition will include things like (got a
job, kids sick, don't have time, Etc.), this is neither a failure of your
program or of personal discipline. Its just life. Life happens. Including
basic access to tech support for virus protection could be helpful - my
university offers some, but I paid for more. Internet turned off is a huge
problem ( and one that I often face at the end of the semester as internet
access is expensive!). Consider including some support for planning the
expense, back up resources - can the course be done at a local library?

If many of your students have job and kid problems, is there a way to make
participation asynchronous and allow them to work over longer periods?

Personal discipline is a matter of working with individual motivation, and
you can find supporting research in searches of SRL in DL ( self-regulated
learning). Even minimal personal feedback has been shown to improve SRL in
transitional learners. There is a link between learning level and SRL, as
well as an engagement issue if you are dealing with adult learners. If your
adult learners are experiencing low SRL, try to tie the learning to things
they need to do. If the new capacities are understood to be both valuable
and achievable, and the course criteria are such that design meets audience
needs, then assess attrition based on issues that would not allow an I or W
at a community college. make sure not to blame your self or your students
for poverty, family or the digital divide - these are the reasons for your
intervention in the first place.

On 6/27/07, maureen hoyt <maureenh at azcallateen.k12.az.us> wrote:

>

> Almost all of my distance students who did not continue in the MHC

> program had either technical difficulties (computer virus, Internet

> turned off ) or personal problems (got a job, kids sick, don't have time,

> Etc.). Even though most had good technical skills- and the program really

> doesn't require much- the personal discipline required was the obstacle. I'm

> doing the stats on the course now, and it's not looking pretty!!

>

> I will need to screen next year for reading levels. My DL grant is funded

> "on probation" and the stats so far have a very low success rate with lower

> level readers (below 8 grade). For those who can do supported distance

> only, I will give some Internet resources for those who are on a lower

> level, but they'll have to do that independently.

>

>

>

> Maureen Hoyt

>

> Basic Education Manager

>

> ACYR

>

> 602-252-6721ext 223

>

> fax: 602-252-2952

>

> www.azcallateen.k12.az.us

>

> www.az-aall.org

>

>

>

> -----Original Message-----

> *From:* technology-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:technology-bounces at nifl.gov] *On

> Behalf Of *Lissa probus

> *Sent:* Tuesday, June 26, 2007 3:48 PM

> *To:* The Technology and Literacy Discussion List

> *Subject:* [Technology 1132] Re: pre assessments for online learning

>

>

>

> Melinda -

>

> I want to respond to your statement:

> "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.)."

>

> The problem with assessing for these skills seems to me to be that they

> are course and interface specific. As a doc student, I have used several

> versions of blackboard, three university email systems and programmed web

> sites to accept user content. I still have to learn how to save files,

> upload files, use discussion boards, use digital drop boxes, use virtual

> classrooms, etc., etc anew with every new system I encounter. I know many

> ways this CAN work, but it is essential that technical support for the

> specific interface be included in the instruction and targeted at the

> learning group expected to use the interface. This is not like climbing the

> stairs to enter the building - its as if new ways of building stairs were

> being invented every day - sometimes at the same building! Interestingly

> enough, this is occasionally an exercise in internet history, while many

> commecial websites make this interface seamless and intuitive - many

> educational providers are either at the mercy of an antiquated system or

> buying an interface that is not consistently applied.

>

> On 6/26/07, *Silver-Pacuilla, Heidi* <HSilver-Pacuilla at air.org> wrote:

>

> 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

>

>

>

> ----------------------------------------------------

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>

> ===========================================================

> Nancy Friday

> AlphaRoute Coordinator

> AlphaPlus Centre (http://alphaplus.ca) <http://alphaplus.ca%29>

> Telephone: (416) 322-1012 x.305

> Fax: 1-800-788-1417

> TTY: 1-800-788-1912

> nancy.friday at alphaplus.ca

> ============================================================

>

>

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>

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>

>

>

>

>

> --

> *********************************

> Leslie Petty

> Associate Director, Project IDEAL

> University of Michigan

> Institute for Social Research

> 734-425-0748

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