eLearnReady: Preparing Students to E-Learn Effectively and Users' Feedback from Students and Teachers

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session MERLOT

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Brief Abstract

With the successful launch of a revolutionary free student tool, eLearnReady,  we analyzed students’ responses, identifying their strengths--and improving their weaknesses in online learning. This presentation discusses the identified key variables (n=3000+) of online student success, as well as the user's experience with the tool.


Sherri currently serves as the Senior Executive Director of the Office of Digital and Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University. She is an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching senior-level classes in lifespan psychology, such as Child Development, Adolescent Development, and Gerontology. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 20 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, faculty, and over the last decade plus as a university-level administrator. In addition to her work with Coastal, Sherri also serves the MERLOT organization as the Editor of the Professional Coaching board, as well as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for the Psychology MERLOT board. Her research focuses on methods for improving student success in the academic environment, to include all modalities of learning (online, face-to-face, hybrid, flipped, etc.) and inclusive design and tools. She has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations to support the development of online learning initiatives.
Cheryl Fulghum oversees the department of Instructional Design and Online Learning at Haywood Community College in western North Carolina. In this role, she is responsible for instructional design through faculty development, online course design, emerging technologies research, accessibility compliance, and the administrations of several learning platforms. She describes her main role as faculty cheerleader, empowering faculty to become 21st century teachers despite self-identified low-tech skills and fear of the unknown. Prior to her work in the online learning field, she served as full-time faculty in the commercial arts and worked as project manager and media content creator for Shadowbox Design, an educational technology company specializing in online ancillaries for higher education textbook publishers. She has degrees in Broadcast Communications, Journalism, and Educational Media: Curriculum and Instruction.

Additional Authors

Dr. Lee earned an M.S. degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Instructional System Design from the University of Central Florida. Since 2010, he teaches at Coastal Carolina University. Throughout his career of teaching, he developed strong interests in the areas of distance education, mobile learning, interactive multimedia, educational games, and graphic/website design. In his classes, he introduces a wide range of software application and open-source packages to students, allowing them to master computer-based tools used in the design and creation of electronic media, such as electronic images, sounds, videos, text, and motion. - See more at: https://www.coastal.edu/academics/facultyprofiles/education/cheng-yuancoreylee/#sthash.EorTg5Z5.dpuf

Extended Abstract

eLearnReady is a free, research-based web tool designed to analyze students’ preparedness for online learning, with a focus on enhancing student success in the online space. With this tool, course instructors register their class with the website and provide a class-specific URL to their students. Students then visit this link and complete a 43-item survey aligned to nine targeted success factors for online classes. After students complete the survey, eLearnReady analyzes their responses to identify their strengths and areas of recommended improvement for online learning. The survey results are then provided to students individually as a comprehensive report, complete with study tips and videos that demonstrate methods for being a successful online learner. After their students complete the survey, course instructors receive a class profile that compiles all their students’ results enrolled in a specific course. Instructors will then be able to use each class profile to inform their instruction and differentiate it to meet the needs of their online students, and to provide additional guidance and resources where necessary.

In April 2017, the researchers of this project successfully launched the website at https://free.elearnready.com. Given its usefulness and easiness, to date, more than 3,000 students and 200 teachers from multiple colleges/universities have utilized this system. Researchers have since been invited to present to several campuses on this project—a one of its’ kind as a free tool.

This presentation will briefly introduce how this system was developed, verified, and implemented. A hands-on activity with the tool will be conducted with all attendees, who will be invited to learn how to utilize this tool for their online teaching practices by creating an account and generating a survey link for class, as well as completing the survey from the student perspective for individual evaluation. A walk-through of data interpretation, and how faculty may use this data, will be provided and Q&A with attendees at this stage will be encouraged.

In the second half of the presentation, faculty users of this system will share how their campuses have adopted this tool and their experiences with implementation.

Faculty, administrators, instructional designers, advisors, and faculty developers alike focused on enhancing their students’ online learning success will benefit from this session.