EDTEC 540 Performance Analysis 

Guiding New Online Instructors on Group Processing


EDTEC 540 Educational Technology

Educational Technology Dept. at San Diego State University

Prepared by Su Tuan Lulee, Summer 2006

Introduction

Ten senior students in normal university who have three to four years of formal academic training on education theory and one year or more classroom teaching experiences on grade eleven language and literature teaching, found themselves, for some reasons, have problems to perform as good as they used to be in the classrooms. Since distance education has been recognized as a core competency to success in both academic education and business training, hool dean wants students to be well-prepared for the coming challenge so that they can find good jobs and positions after they graduate from school. Moreover, it will be a great promotion for recruiting new students if the university can earn a good name in distance education. In this report, I assume that the school dean hires me, I have designed basic IT training course for the school faculties, to conduct a performance analysis on problems of student instructors and recommend solutions for preparing future student instructors.

            There are wide rnges of factors that influence the quality of online teaching. In this performance analysis, I focus on how teacher mediates learning. Other factors, such as administrative issues, political issues, and intelligence property issues, are excluded.

          By the terms of online teaching or online learning, I refer to computer-mediated, web-based teaching, learning environments.

 

Audience Analysis 

The student instructors teach grade eleven language and literature courses at the same high school. This eight-week course is special designed for their internship. All instructors, in addition to teaching their courses, had served as subject matter experts during course development. They teach four weeks in classrooms, and four weeks through internet. The student instructors are using the content delivery platform that they have being used for faculty training.  Both student instructors and their students have taken computer skill classes before this online course. And both instructors and students are highly motivated.

Define the Gap 

Actual performance of student instructors

Besides an open question survey that request student instructors to write down why they feel they are not doing as good as they are in classroom, I interview five student instructors who show the highest depression for their performance. Feedbacks from both survey and interview provided the same information:  

-- Students had lower performance assessment grade

-- Student engagement is low in both quantity and quality

-- Students said that they like classroom class more than online class

 

Expectation of school dean

From observation, the school dean think that the grade eleven students were more like playing games than taking a course during the four-week online course, “Students are curious about taking classes in a new method but they haven’t anchored what they learned. They expected mandatory works from teachers just like they were in classroom classes while teachers expected students will be more self-directed.” The dean wants student teachers to be able to

1.    Deliver at least average level of grades in student performance assessment.

2.    Gain higher happiness level from their students.

3.    Identify strategies and techniques for mediating different teaching/learning needs.

 

Extant Literature 

   In order to identify problems, I need following extant literature to find out how classes are processed; how classes are designed; how student performance are graded and what existed researches said about the most frequent challenges for new online instructors as well as benchmarks for successful online teaching:

1.    Computer record of online classes.

2.    Course design documents.

3.    Assessment and scoring records for both classroom and online classes.

4.    Articles on effective online instruction.

     The last item is listed here because my task is to recommend feasible solutions that will suit more than these 10 student instructors and I don’t have the resource to do fundamental research, it is necessary to broaden the information sources to get an omni-bearing view.

 

Causes of the Problem and drivers to success

In this case, factors that influence performance are mostly fallen in skills and knowledge category. Student instructors have high motivation to do their best; the hardware and software are properly facilitated; and new instructors have full support from school. The following table presents my major findings using Berge’s four areas of necessary conditions for online instructors: pedagogical, social, managerial, and technical  as a framework:

 

Solution System

Training program:

New online instructors need more than computer skills. A program, available in both collaborative and in self-paced format, that covers pedagogy, design and development, technology, and evaluation for online learning will greatly help new instructors knowing the strength and weakness, the known and unknown, the barriers and the possible directions to breakthrough.

 Job aids

          No outcomes of training can sustain long enough unless there is on going support. Job aids can serve as a handy tool or an explicit learning agent for online instructors. Not only by providing checklists, rubrics, decision aids, flowcharts, work samples, FAQ or step-by-step guidance that create in house, institutions can also support their online instructors by reorganizing the immense free resource in the internet. Topics for job aids can cover a wide range from analysis checklist in pedagogical area, moderating tips in social area, policy samples in managerial area to assessment templates in technical area.

 Support system

Intensify technology unit in order to provide timely support and update.

Conclusion and Suggestion

While recognizing the importance of technology that carries online course, pedagogical, social and managerial issues are often ignored by new online instructors. They rely heavily on their classroom experiences and didactics, and emphasize on content delivery and teacher-let instruction. In order to advance students’ grade and increase student happiness level, the core of my recommendation solution system tends to focus on instructors’ role adjustment, pedagogy transformation, group activity design and facilitating, online assessment skills as well as virtual class management.

Appendix

Appendix 1       Quantitative Data of Student Performance Assessment Grades

 Appendix 2       Qualitative Data of Students’ Feedback on Open Ended Questions  

Question 1: Which do you like, online class or F2F class?

Answer: 30% students like online class; 70% students like F2F classes

 

Question 2: To what level do you like online class? (Use seven level scale)

Answer:303 students chose level 3, 22 students chose level 4 out of 325 students. Most students said that they don’t know what else they can do in online class except reading pages, although it’s interesting to have new experience.

Appendix 3       Content Analysis on Articles

Bibliography 

Bennett, Sue & Lockyer, Lori, Australia, Becoming an Online Teacher: Adapting to a Changed Environment for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 2004. International Council for Educational Media

 

Berge, L. Zane, The Role of the Online Instructor/Facilitator, 1995. Retrieved from http://www.emoderators.com/moderators/teach_online.html

 

Conrad, Dianne, University Instructors’ Reflections on Their First Online Teaching Experiences, April, 2004. Journal of Asynchronous learning Networks, The Sloan Consortium. Retrieved from http://sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v8n2/v8n2_conrad.asp.

 

Hampel, Regine & Stickler, Ursula, New Skills for New Classrooms: Training Tutors to Teach Languages Online, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Volume 18, Number 4, Oct., 2005.

 

 Institute for Higher Education Policy, Quality on the Line - Benchmarks for Success in Internet-Based Distance Education, April, 2000. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/LibraryDetailPage/666?ID=CSD2544

 Savery, R. John, Be VOCAL: Characteristics of Successful Online Instructors, Journal of Interactive Online Learning, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 2005. Retrieved from http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/PDF/4.2.6.pdf

 Yi Yang & Linda F. Cornelious, Preparing Instructors for Quality Online Instruction, Spring 2005, Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume VIII, Number I. Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/%7Edistance/ojdla/spring81/yang81.htm