​​​(c) Recommend methods to increase student access to electronically distributed learning programs of study and identify barriers to programs of study participation and completion;

Lead: Phil Ray Jack

[note: Cable Green's notes are in blue.]

Electronically distributed learning programs include e-learning courses and programs. Student access refers not only to the abilty of students to enter the programs, but also to successfully complete the programs and accomplish their educational goals. Barriers refers to obstacles encountered by those attempting to facilitate e-learning programs, the faculty teaching the classes, and the students attempting to successfully complete the programs.

Philosophical Statement:
Electronically distributed programs of study should be considere a tool that could be used to enhance student success. The ultimate goal is to deliver opportunities for students to acquire qualtiy education.

Best Practices: In order to identify the "Best Practices," the barriers they address are listed first.

Barriers to Participation
​ ​ Barriers to Providing Access (Institutional Barriers)

  • Lack of online student services
  • Lack of tech resources (equipment needed for colleges to effectively handle increase, equipment needed for instructors to effectively teach courses, etc.)
  • Lack of resources needed to "keep up" with constant technological advances.
  • Lack of flexibility for adjusting to changes in economic environment (such as those that created the Blackboard/Angel transition[s])
  • Assessment and Accountability (Which college is responsible for maintaining institutional standards and guidelines?)
  • Need for faculty teaching courses to not only be experts in their fields, but to become skilled in technology as well.
  • Need for ongoing professional development, not only involving technology, but also pedagogical approaches.
  • Decrease in student contact with advisors, faculty, and institutions.
  • Misperceptions of education and learning -- education is more than dispensing information.

Barriers to Gaining Access (Student Barriers)
  • Lack of access to computer
  • Lack of access to effective internet access (Insert state K-20 reports summary here)
  • Online/hybrid "tech fees" added to the expense of attending the course
  • Federal and State requirements for student aid programs.
  • Attitude and ability of student toward technology (many of the students targeted in 6295 are uncertain about using technology)
  • Undeveloped organizing and study skills.
  • Broadband connectivity is a huge issue
    • cite federal stimulus projects
    • state plans on Broadband
  • Lack of "personal contact" needed to enhance motivation.
    • we need to better connect students to the college ... a challenge when they are not on-campus

Participation Solutions
Possible Solutions to Institutional Barrier

Mobile here.... more mobile devices than PCs with broadband
more diverse methods of access - the better we can serve students

  • Web and mobile technologies. To meet student expectations a predominant means of delivering education will increasingly shift to web and mobile technology, including students who do their learning on campuses. Even if current eLearning growth rates slow down, by 2020 all students will be taking courses that are supported by digital technologies, and all students will be interacting with college student services online.

Need PD from faculty to faculty - sharing - a la faculty learning communities ...

JW Harrington: That wider accessibility to mobile devices and non-broadband would have a large effect on how the courses are designed, right? - light apps, light content

JW Harrington: Allowing for that diversity would be much harder

plans cost $$$

David Wicks: If we are planning for the future we need to thing G3 G4 networks and devices like this http://tinyurl.com/lgzm5r which is about $65 a month right now. Not bad for 5 connections even if they are a little slow.

  • Increased and consistent funding needed for constant professional development for faculty and staff in order for them to "keep up" with technological advances not only in terms of tech skills, but impacts of technology on pedagogy as well.
  • Increased and consistent funding needed to assure the ability for institutions to "keep up" technologically, and to adjust to changes in state and federal policies.
  • Pooled Enrollment - WashingtonOnline example (just describe how it works in the CTCs ... no broad recommendations in the report)
      • Expand the breadth of online courses available to your students by adopting and offering classes taught by other colleges in your quarterly schedule.
        • The Enrolling College pays the teaching college $60 per credit per student for their instructional effort.
        • The Enrolling College pays WAOL $4 / active user / quarter – unlimited use
        • Get information at the WAOL web site about the online courses available for sharing.
      • Teach online students from other colleges. Use WAOL to combine enrollments.
        • Earn $300 per enrollment (for 5-credit classes) to cover faculty salary.
        • Provide no-cost faculty development for instructors .
  • Provide more public spaces (e.g., public libraries with computers and broadband) and provide better access by expanding hours of operation.

Barriers to Course Completion and Student Retention (Many of the barriers are constant in both cases, so I suggest we emphasize the difference but include both in this overview).
  • Students are more successful when they are self motivated learners and have requisite technology and information literacy skills.
  • OSPI Study (Judy?)
    • inadequate support for online students = lower completion rates
  • BCC study
    • life circumstances interfere
    • money
    • other commitments
    • time
  • Chronicle article (someone mentioned this?)
  • Hard to get student course evaluations -- important so the course can be iteratively redesigned to make it better.
  • Are there demographic trends that reduce the completion of online courses? (for future research)

Completion Solutions
  • Limit Course Size so students get individual attention critical to student success
  • Provide emergency resources for students who need "immediate but temporary assistance" (Sometimes the $200 necessary to be able to pay the power bill for one month can mean the difference between the student completing the course or dropping out)
  • Provide mentors to help students new to online learning acquire skills and develop confidence.

  • We could share commonly taught courses through a pooled enrollment system ... so studnets could get the gatekeeper courses they need when they need them.
    • this would not be easy: different tuition rates,
  • WA Education Research and Data Center-- will track students from Kindergarten through higher education to the workforce.
  • It's about persistence - keep at it.