How do online learners study? The psychometrics of students' clicking patterns in online courses.
ABSTRACT: College students' study strategies were explored by tracking the ways they navigated the websites of two large (Ns of 1384 and 671) online introductory psychology courses. Students' study patterns were measured analyzing the ways they clicked outside of the regularly scheduled class on study materials within the online Learning Management System. Three main effects emerged: studying course content materials (as opposed to course logistics materials) outside of class and higher grades are consistently correlated; studying at any time except in the late night/early morning hours was strongly correlated with grades; students with higher Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores made higher grades but accessed course materials at lower rates that those with lower SATs. Multiple regressions predicting grades using just SATs and click rates accounted for almost 43 and 36 percent of the grade variance for the Fall and Spring classes respectively. Implications for using click patterns to understand and shape student learning are discussed.
Project description:This study investigated whether the success of students in a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA TESOL) assessment course was comparable regardless of their chosen mode of attendance (face-to-face, synchronously online, asynchronously online) in this “Triple Hybrid” (or “TriHy”) class. In an interactive, convergent, mixed-methods design, a pragmatic, participant-focused framework guided the study. Data collection extended to pre-, while-, and post-surveys of the participants; tracking of mode of communication with the instructor; as well as proxies for students’ success in the course, including the rate of course completion, weekly class attendance, completion of weekly assignments, grades on low-stakes individual assignments, grades on a high-stakes individual assignment, and a final course grade. The findings of the quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that overall there was no statistically significant difference in the learning outcomes among the modalities even though one of the groups’ pre-test scores did differ from the others’ significantly. Although the students’ success in the course did not differ, their perception of the factors that contributed to their success did. The findings suggest that with considerable institutional support, substantial investment of time and commitment from the instructor, and meaningful choices from the students, the quality of instruction even in a language-teacher-preparation course focused on skill building does not need to be compromised. <h4>Supplementary Information</h4> The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s43545-022-00434-4.
Project description:Online education has grown rapidly in recent years with many universities now offering fully online degree programs even in STEM disciplines. These programs have the potential to broaden access to STEM degrees for people with social identities currently underrepresented in STEM. Here, we ask to what extent is that potential realized in terms of student enrollment and grades for a fully online degree program. Our analysis of data from more than 10,000 course-enrollments compares student demographics and course grades in a fully online biology degree program to demographics and grades in an equivalent in-person biology degree program at the same university. We find that women, first-generation to college students and students eligible for federal Pell grants constitute a larger proportion of students in the online program compared to the in-person mode. However, the online mode of instruction is associated with lower course grades relative to the in-person mode. Moreover, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander students as well as federal Pell grant eligible students earned lower grades than white students and non-Pell grant eligible students, respectively, but the grade disparities were similar among both in-person and online student groups. Finally, we find that grade disparities between men and women are larger online compared to in-person, but that for first-generation to college women, the online mode of instruction is associated with little to no grade gap compared to continuing generation women. Our findings indicate that although this online degree program broadens access for some student populations, inequities in the experience remain and need to be addressed in order for online education to achieve its inclusive mission.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The scientific community increasingly is recognizing the need to bolster standards of data analysis given the widespread concern that basic mistakes in data analysis are contributing to the irreproducibility of many published research findings. The aim of this study was to investigate students' attitudes towards statistics within a multi-site medical educational context, monitor their changes and impact on student achievement. In addition, we performed a systematic review to better support our future pedagogical decisions in teaching applied statistics to medical students.<h4>Methods</h4>A validated Serbian Survey of Attitudes Towards Statistics (SATS-36) questionnaire was administered to medical students attending obligatory introductory courses in biostatistics from three medical universities in the Western Balkans. A systematic review of peer-reviewed publications was performed through searches of Scopus, Web of Science, Science Direct, Medline, and APA databases through 1994. A meta-analysis was performed for the correlation coefficients between SATS component scores and statistics achievement. Pooled estimates were calculated using random effects models.<h4>Results</h4>SATS-36 was completed by 461 medical students. Most of the students held positive attitudes towards statistics. Ability in mathematics and grade point average were associated in a multivariate regression model with the Cognitive Competence score, after adjusting for age, gender and computer ability. The results of 90 paired data showed that Affect, Cognitive Competence, and Effort scores demonstrated significant positive changes. The Cognitive Competence score showed the largest increase (M = 0.48, SD = 0.95). The positive correlation found between the Cognitive Competence score and students' achievement (r = 0.41; p<0.001), was also shown in the meta-analysis (r = 0.37; 95% CI 0.32-0.41).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Students' subjective attitudes regarding Cognitive Competence at the beginning of the biostatistics course, which were directly linked to mathematical knowledge, affected their attitudes at the end of the course that, in turn, influenced students' performance. This indicates the importance of positively changing not only students' cognitive competency, but also their perceptions of gained competency during the biostatistics course.
Project description:Although online courses are becoming increasingly popular in higher education, evidence is inconclusive regarding whether online students are likely to be as academically successful and motivated as students in face-to-face courses. In this study, we documented online and face-to-face students' academic motivation and outcomes in community college mathematics courses, and whether differences might vary based on student characteristics (i.e., gender, underrepresented ethnic/racial minority status, first-generation college status, and adult learner status). Over 2,400 developmental mathematics students reported on their math motivation at the beginning (Week 1) and middle (Weeks 3, 5) of the semester. Findings indicated that online students received lower grades and were less likely to pass from their courses than face-to-face students, with online adult learners receiving particularly low final course grades and pass rates. In contrast, online and face-to-face students did not differ on incoming motivation, with subgroup analyses suggesting largely similar patterns of motivation across student groups. Together, findings suggest that online and face-to-face students may differ overall in academic outcomes but not in their motivation or differentially based on student characteristics. Small but significant differences on academic outcomes across modalities (Cohen's ds = 0.17-0.28) have implications for community college students' success in online learning environments, particularly for adult learners who are most likely to be faced with competing demands.
Project description:Following the growth of online, higher-education courses, academic institutions are now offering fully online degree programs. Yet it is not clear how students who enroll in fully online degree programs are similar to those students who enroll in in-person ("traditional") degree programs. Because previous work has shown students' attitudes toward science can affect their performance in a course, it is valuable to ask how attitudes toward science differ between these two populations. We studied students who completed a fully online astrobiology course. In an analysis of 451 student responses to the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience survey, we found online program students began the course with a higher scientific sophistication and a higher sense of personal value of science than those in traditional programs. Precourse attitudes also showed some predictive power of course grades among online students, but not for traditional students. Given established relationships between feelings of personal value, intrinsic motivation, and, in turn, traits such as persistence, our results suggest that open-ended or exploration-based learning may be more engaging to online program students due to their pre-existing attitudes. The converse may also be true, that certain pre-existing attitudes among online program students are more detrimental than they are for traditional program students.
Project description:A critical goal for science education is to design and implement learning activities that develop a deep conceptual understanding, are engaging for students, and are scalable for large classes or those with few resources. Approaches based on peer learning and online technologies show promise for scalability but often lack a grounding in cognitive learning principles relating to conceptual understanding. Here, we present a novel design for combining these elements in a principled way. The design centers on having students author multiple-choice questions for their peers using the online platform PeerWise, where beneficial forms of cognitive engagement are encouraged via a series of supporting activities. We evaluated an implementation of this design within a cohort of 632 students in an undergraduate biochemistry course. Our results show a robust relationship between the quality of question authoring and relevant learning outcomes, even after controlling for the confounding influence of prior grades. We conclude by discussing practical and theoretical implications.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic prompted instruction at many veterinary schools to switch to an emergency remote teaching format to prevent viral transmission associated with in-person synchronous lectures. This study surveyed student perspectives and academic performance in a pre-planned online second-year veterinary toxicology course given at North Carolina State University in Spring 2020. This course relied on asynchronous narrated presentations for content delivery. This method of delivery predated the pandemic and was used throughout the course. Academic performance and patterns of access to materials in the online course was compared with the access patterns and performance of students given classroom-based synchronous teaching in Spring 2019. Assessments evaluated in this study were identical across courses. Students' academic performance was unaffected by delivery method. Lack of instructor interaction was an important perceived barrier in the asynchronous course. Asynchronous course materials were uniformly accessed across all days of the week, while supplemental materials for the face-to-face course showed a weekly pattern. Moving from letter grades to pass/fail did not change access frequency to supplemental course materials but led to decreased video usage in the asynchronous course. Results suggest that although some veterinary students perceived the switch in delivery format negatively, the method of delivery did not adversely affect performance in this preclinical course.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic has forced higher-education institutions to shift to nearly 100% online delivery of didactic coursework nationally. Besides the stress and isolation that many students experience simply due to the physical distancing requirements imposed by the crisis, students new to learning in an online environment may feel further isolated and disengaged from the course content. Consequently, we explored the use of an existing online social networking tool, Instagram, to enhance students' engagement with online course material. In this study, students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate online science courses were invited to participate. Course instructors posted materials related to the topics covered in the course weekly sessions, including links to news reports, cartoons, and short quizzes. At the conclusion of each course, a questionnaire focusing on the students' experience was distributed to all participants. Results from the survey showed that the weekly Instagram posts allowed students to feel more engaged with the course content and connected with the course instructors and classmates. However, some students reported that the posts were not helpful or that they did not feel comfortable using social networking tools for education purposes due to privacy concerns. In this article, we provide tips for how to improve the effectiveness of using social networking tools to augment didactic online courses.
Project description:University students consistently report poor sleep. We conducted a before-and-after study to evaluate the impact of an online 10-week course on undergraduate students' sleep knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours at 6-month follow-up. Data were collected via baseline course surveys (August-September 2020) and follow-up surveys distributed via email (February-March 2021). <i>n</i> = 212 students completed baseline surveys and <i>n</i> = 75 (35%) completed follow-up. Students retained to follow-up possessed higher baseline sleep knowledge and received higher course grades. At the 6-month follow-up, sleep knowledge had increased (mean score out of 5: 3.0 vs. 4.2, <i>p</i> < 0.001). At baseline, 85% of students aimed to increase their sleep knowledge and 83% aimed to improve their sleep. At follow-up, 91% reported being more knowledgeable and 37% reported improved sleep. A novel Stages of Change item revealed that 53% of students' attitudes towards their sleep behaviours had changed from baseline. There was a reduction in sleep latency at follow-up (mean 33.3 vs. 25.6 min, <i>p</i> = 0.015), but no change in the total Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score. In summary, completion of an online course led to increased sleep and circadian knowledge and changed sleep attitudes, with no meaningful change in sleep behaviours. Future interventions should consider components of behavioural change that go beyond the knowledge-attitudes-behaviour continuum.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged undergraduate instructors and students in an unprecedented manner. Each has needed to find creative ways to continue the engaged teaching and learning process in an environment defined by physical separation and emotional anxiety and uncertainty. As a potential tool to meet this challenge, we developed a set of curricular materials that combined our respective life science teaching interests with the real-time scientific problem of the COVID-19 pandemic in progress. Discrete modules were designed that are engaging to students, implement active learning-based coursework in a variety of institutional and learning settings, and can be used either in person or remotely. The resulting interdisciplinary curriculum, dubbed "COVID-360," enables instructors to select from a menu of curricular options that best fit their course content, desired activities, and mode of class delivery. Here we describe how we devised the COVID-360 curriculum and how it represents our efforts to creatively and effectively respond to the instructional needs of diverse students in the face of an ongoing instructional crisis.