What is Zero Week?
"Zero Week" is that week before the first day of online instruction in which the courses are open and students are encouraged to engage, interact and get oriented prior to the “official” start date of classes. During the Fall 2014 semester, 5 Faculty, under the leadership of the CTL, are implementing a number of zero week activities and the CTL and teaching faculty have been evaluating the impact that these measures have had on student success.
Much has been written about best practices for online learning. The challenge is not knowing what to do, but the implementation and assessment and adaptation of practices. With the growing demand for online courses, a cohort of faculty decided to address the issue of disproportionate student success in online courses believing that change is best facilitated through the work of many versus the work of one. They attempted to do this through the scholarship of best practices and the implementation of Zero Week interventions in online classes as facilitated through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).
Initiative Survey Results
A survey (IRB approved) was conducted during the Fall 2014 semester of students enrolled in courses that implemented zero week strategies. The results are as follows:
- 72% of the students (n=30) who responded to the survey indicated that they participated in zero week.
- Of those students who knew about zero week and chose not to participate, they either were experienced in online courses, were not sure if they would be remaining in the class, or did not have the time to participate.
- Most students who participated in zero week reported finding out about it through email or Canvas.
- The majority of the students reported that the zero week interventions were “helpful” and “very helpful” to the learning experience.