The Super E-Student Initiative: A Creative Focus on Targeting Distance Education Learners

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This proposal reports on the implementation of the Super E-Student initiative that was developed to increase retention and completion in online courses. In this session, we will share how an expert ad hoc committee creatively developed tools, handouts, cards and a mobile app to assist students in their digital journey.

Presenters

Jennifer Veloff is the Associate Dean of Academic Technology at Pasco-Hernando State College. She has served on numerous committees for the Florida Virtual Campus including the Executive Committee and as the Chair of the Web and Student Services Standing Committee. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Instructional Technology Council. Her background includes a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology, Project Management Professional certification, higher education teaching as an adjunct professor, and practical hands-on experience with multiple instructional modalities. During the last 10 years, she has designed for online/hybrid/blended courses, administered online and distance education programs, managed resources for several large government contracts, coordinated the integration of technology into numerous online courses, and refined the operating processes and procedures for the distance education program. She has been responsible for the strategic planning of distance education programs with Academic Deans, Department Chairs, the Vice President of Technology and Distance Education, and the Chief Information Officer.

Additional Authors

Maya Pakhomova is a Senior Instructional Design Coordinator at Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) in the Academic Technology department. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Multimedia from the Philadelphia University of the Arts and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. Her duties at Pasco-Hernando State College include promoting and educating the faculty on the use of PHSC’s Learning Management System (Canvas), advocating instructional technology tools and methods, and facilitating on the effective use of authoring tools. She collaborates with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to design and develop high-quality online and hybrid courses. She designs, develops, and delivers workshops and training to faculty and staff in the use of instructional technologies and educational best practices. Maya also oversees student support services and collaborates with the college’s Student Activities Department to plan and coordinate the annual student technology conference, TechCon.

Extended Abstract

The purpose of this proposal is to present a description of the implementation of a distance learning initiative designed to help students understand what it takes to be successful in online learning and guide them to additional information to assist in their digital journey. In July 2015, an ad hoc committee was tasked by the institution’s E-Learning Committee to investigate, research, discuss, and find new and innovative ways to increase student success in online courses. The ad hoc committee consisted of full-time and adjunct faculty, instructional designers, a multimedia instructional specialist, a systems and software application developer, the Assistant Dean of Student Development and Enrollment Management and Coordinator of the Office of Disabilities Services, and the Associate Dean of Academic Technology. As a result of this creative working group, five key deliverables were produced.

  1. Modified document that provides expectations for distance-learning students

  2. Revised Guide to E-Learning course for students taking their first online course

  3. Completed “Are you Ready?” for online learning card with a direct link to the E-Learning Readiness Survey and Guide to E-Learning course

  4. Full page handout to address questions that promote success in the e-learning environment based on the following five levels:

  • Understanding: What is the difference between traditional, online, and hybrid courses?

  • Preparation: What are the technical requirements for e-learning and the learning management system?

  • Readiness: How can you determine if you’re ready for e-courses?

  • Participation: How can you be successful in your online course, and what can you expect?

  • Support: Where can you go for help with your courses?

  1. All-inclusive mobile app with additional module focused on guiding e-learning students

This presentation will address the institution’s current distance education model as well as emerging data on how the implementation of the creative Super E-Student Initiative is an effective means of addressing the educational needs of distance learning users. This institution embraces traditional, online, hybrid and blended learning, dual enrollment with partnering high schools, university partnerships, a multi-user learning management system, and web/video conferencing. At this institution, all on-campus and Internet courses have an e-learning component in order to provide student access to the course syllabus, instructor/student communication, course materials, and grades. Students taking e-courses are involved in the academic community through the Student Resources group within the learning management system. In addition, a support site and resource group within the learning management system is available to provide tutorials and guidance in the areas of technical and time management skills essential for e-learners.

Using the above information, the ad hoc committee brainstormed creating a unique and graphical document that covered student expectations for taking e-learning courses at this institution. The team was able to take the information from that working group to develop the five key deliverables which were centered on a theme of super heroes. The Super E-Student products were designed to provide tips to students on how to “Level Up With E-Learning to Become a Super E-Student.” These tips included knowing the difference between online and hybrid, understanding what shorter terms entail, ensuring they have the correct hardware and software, preparing for the online environment by taking a survey, defining what it means to participate, communication, track progress, manage time, and study, and finally, obtaining support for technical and assistive issues.

The Super E-Student handouts were designed for quick, convenient distribution and perfect for students on-the-go. The print materials were distributed to e-advisors, the institution’s information center, the libraries, student development services, and the academic success centers. Staff were encouraged to share these resources with students prior to taking an e-course.

The presenters will discuss how this team is supporting the College’s initiative to increase retention and completion in all online courses in part due to the effective implementation of this initiative. The presentation will also discuss how this initiative is ensuring that students are fully prepared for the online learning experience and academic success. Initial data on student success in online courses, E-learning Readiness survey results, and mobile app usage will be reported. Presentation attendees will learn how to implement a student-centered initiative focused on the educational needs of distance learning users. The outcomes of this initiative are to:

  • Increase student success by not only providing online access to all student support services, but by offering guidance and preparation tools

  • Provide support for students considering taking an online course or courses for the first time

  • Develop and/or revise distance education deliverables that respond to student needs and current trends

  • Provide technology enhanced quality instruction and products focused on student success and retention of students in online programs

Finally, presenters will discuss future goals and initiatives that will build upon the current implementation of the process. This presentation is a safe bet! Join us as we go “all in” to implement best practices in distance education.

References:

American Distance Education Consortium. (2003). ADEC guiding principles for distance teaching and learning. 

Henry, P. (2001). E-learning technology, content and services. Education+ Training43(4/5), 249-255.

Olesen-Tracey, K. (2010). Leading online learning initiatives in adult education. Journal of Adult Education39(2), 36.