Increasing student interaction in online courses at Old Dominion University

by Ulmer, Loreta H., Ed.D., UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE, 2007, 112 pages; 3267183


As distance education evolved from correspondence courses to the World Wide Web, standards and recommendations for best practices developed. The American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) created its Guiding Principles for Distance Teaching and Learning (2003); Chickering and Gamson's Seven “Principles of Good Practice for Undergraduate Education” (1987) were adapted to include “Technology as Lever” (1996). One important recommendation frequently associated with successful learning online is student interaction.

Faculty who adopt the innovation of online teaching usually begin by converting a classroom-based course to delivery on the Web. One of the greatest challenges in creating online versions of former classroom-based courses is designing instruction that engages students and fosters interaction. Courses can be redesigned to take advantage of the interactive capabilities of computer-based media but the challenge for faculty is how to accomplish this in their courses. This EPP project addresses this issue by developing an online tool for faculty that guides them through the process of developing interactive learning activities that align with the learning objectives of their course and are delivered via the World Wide Web. The tool is piloted by a faculty member and the resultant activities are implemented in his online course.

This Executive Position Paper (EPP) is comprised of three chapters. Chapter One reviews literature on interaction as it relates to improving instruction in asynchronous online courses. Themes include characteristics of learning environments conducive to student interaction and interactive learning activities as they relate to instructional design models. Also included is pertinent historical information on distance education at Old Dominion University, which is the context for this project.

Chapter Two describes the development of the multi-level interactivity tool and its relationship to learning domains and instructional design models. The author develops a multi-level instructional design tool for creating interactive learning activities and pilots its use with a faculty member who uses the tool to create an interactive learning activity in his online course, ARTH435W Modern Architecture. This course was selected as the pilot because the content is largely visual and lacked interactivity.

Chapter Three evaluates the Interactivity Tool regarding its instructional design, interface, and faculty use. Data collected from the students in the online course which received the intervention is compared with students (control group) in another ARTH435W course who did not. This project concludes by making appropriate changes to the Interactivity Tool and describing its continued development, evaluation and implementation as a faculty support tool available online for use in other course redesign projects at Old Dominion University.

AdviserFred T. Hofstetter
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEducational technology; Higher education
Publication Number3267183

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