As previously noted, last Friday we assembled a panel of 7 Maricopa students who shared with out Ocotillo Online Learning Group their experiences in our online courses. This is a rather small sample of the stories that are “out there.” Just the diversity within this group (self selected volunteers who would be willing to stand in front of teachers and, for a $50 honorarium, tell them ‘how things really are”), makes me really ponder how little we really know and how much we take big guesses as to how students operate in online environments.
Enough blabber, you can find the audio from our meeting at:
There are two segments- the first, at an hour and thirteen minutes, moves through the intros, types of classes taken, experiences, technology issues, ideas on different media formats. The second segment, in 26 minutes, moves into the “challenges” students faced, and their recommendations to our system.
I had hoped I could listen again and pull some highlights, because there were some great quotes, but time is running me ragged this week. Some quick things I recall:
* Online students print a lot of their materials, some almost print everything, including discussion board posts. Some do this because they need to review material away from the computer; others do it as survival, backup, for when the technology fails.
* Students are mixed on the use of audio- they appreciate/desire multiple modes of content, but want it to be things that are not just a repeat of what is available in print form. One used it himself, recording his own audio notes as study guide.
* Most of our students (on the panel) had no orientation, introduction to the environment. One reported hearing other students’ resentment to a required in person orientation to a course they intended to study away from campus.
* Our students find online quizzing troublesome and glitch prone, frustrating. One was very vocal about how trivial and minute the quiz questions were, and how the system often closed him out of a quiz.
* All students were taking this as a means of fitting learning into a busy work.life schedule. It helps just to hear the things they are working learning around to make this “fit”.
* They crave communication/feedback/socialization and more then one were disappointed in ghost town discussion boards.
Yes, the audio is here, but I am still a bit peeved that so few faculty and administrators showed up (21 attending). They missed out.