Wednesday, February 19, 2014
What's an Online Student?
Wise and worldly readers, how do you define an online student?
Not anymore. Now, maybe 1/2 are regular campus students (some who are full time, some part time) who take traditional classes, but who say they throw a couple of online classes into the mix in winter semesters to reduce the number of nasty winter driving days they must suffer, or to cut down on class days missed due to their children's snow days. There's one student who is taking three classes with me this semester (the poor dear, I don't recommend this!); one traditional, one hybrid, and one online.
So the convenience aspect of online classes has become more important to my students, but the definition of what makes them "online students" has become a lot messier.
One thing that hasn't changed: We're still using the same horrible CMS that we had 5 years ago. What was barely acceptable in terms of technological capacity and user support back then, is completely and ridiculously bad today. And who gets the blame when things don't work? Oh, yeah, me.
Another great question, “What types of courses should be offered online?” More and more remedial/developmental courses are being offered online to accommodate students. However, if students are already struggling in reading, English, or math, should they be expected to sit at computer at home, read and understand their assignment, and comprehend what they need to accomplish without the guidance of an instructor?
Should students maintain a certain GPA in order to take online classes?
You should be asking "What data should we collect in a trial run so we can figure out what categories to use?" For example, it could be quite a challenge just to find out which f2f classes have students spending more time doing homework online than they spend in the classroom. Faculty might not even know that detail, and it might vary between sections of the same class.
That said, I would place the 100% online (for two sequential semesters) students in one category, the 0% in another (pending a split based on heavy use of the LMS), then decide how to split up the rest based on the data. If you have a lot, pick a percentage on-line that splits them into two similarly sized groups; if not, focus on splitting the 0% group based on on-line work.
Mike Latone @ choicecareerscollege.com