Monday, July 23

A Comparative Analysis with Traditional and Fully Online Graduate Courses

Link to research paper (By Alfred P. Rovai & Hope M. Jordan)
"(Abstract) Blended learning is a hybrid of classroom and online learning that includes some of the conveniences of online courses without the complete loss of face-to-face contact. The present study used a causal-comparative design to examine the relationship of sense of community between traditional classroom, blended, and fully online higher education learning environments. Evidence is provided to suggest that blended courses produce a stronger sense of community among students than either traditional or fully online courses...

Hara and Kling (2001), conducting a study of online courses, found that feelings of isolation were an important stress factor for online students, but not the primary factor as frequently mentioned in the professional literature. Rather, ?[s]tudents reported confusion, anxiety, and frustration due to the perceived lack of prompt or clear feedback from the instructor, and from ambiguous instructions on the course website and in e-mail messages from the instructor? ...

(Conclusion) The blended concept of learning is highly consistent with the three areas of change identified in the introduction:
  • thinking less about delivering instruction and more about producing learning,
  • reaching out to students through distance education technologies, and
  • promoting a strong sense of community among learners.

Indeed, the concept of blended learning may be a synthesis of these areas as the learning environment becomes more learning-centered, with emphasis on active learning through collaboration and social construction of understanding. Such a concept is moving toward O?Banion?s (1997) vision of a learning college as a place where learning comes first and educational experiences are provided for learners anyway, anyplace, and anytime. Graham B. Spanier, president of The Pennsylvania State University, referred to this convergence of online and traditional instruction as the single-greatest unrecognized trend in higher education today (Young, 2002). "

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