Online Course Metrics & Student Performance: UDI as a Guiding Framework

Concurrent Session 10

Brief Abstract

Over the last 2 years, data has been monitored comparing student learning outcomes, student evaluations of instructor, and performance metrics in online learning courses at a mid-sized, liberal arts university. Core metrics evaluated in student performance have focused on WDF (withdraw/drop/fail) rates and overall course GPAs for students enrolled in online courses. We have begun a deeper-dive into learning outcomes as it relates to the course design and support resources, centered around the internal Best Practices for quality course design model used on our campus. Of the 10 core areas of design and support built into this model, this research looks closely at each, with a special focus on Core Variable #9, Universal Design & Accessibility. 

In this Discovery Session, we will be sharing findings from our research comparing student learning outcomes in online learning courses at our campus for those courses with an "online course certification" to those courses not currently holding this certification. Preliminary results show an astounding difference in both WDF rates and also overall course GPAs between best practice certified versus non-certified. We will be providing our participants with examples of the learning design elements built into the course certification Best Practice model that appear to positive impact our students' WDF and final course GPAs.  

Presenters

Sherri has served as the Director of the Coastal Office of Online Learning at Coastal Carolina University since 2016. She is an Associated Faculty with the Psychology Department at CCU, and specializes in teaching developmental psychology classes online. Sherri has served in academia within the field of online learning for over 17 years in the role of instructional designer, LMS administrator, instructor, and 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.). She has worked as a consultant for a number of organizations to support the development of online learning initiatives.
Corinne Dalelio is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Media, and Culture at Coastal Carolina University. Her research investigations focus on digital media and online communication, and her dissertation presented the development of a method for mapping and visualizing online discussion board interactions. She enjoys teaching classes on topics related to interactive media and media literacy. Dr. Dalelio has eight years of professional experience in digital web design and marketing, and she also served as a graduate assistant at Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, where she was involved in the development and design of several innovative and collaborative online education and outreach efforts.

Extended Abstract

Over the last 2 years, data has been monitored comparing student learning outcomes, student evaluations of instructor, and performance metrics in online learning courses at a mid-sized, liberal arts university. Core metrics evaluated in student performance have focused on WDF (withdraw/drop/fail) rates and overall course GPAs for students enrolled in online courses. We have begun a deeper-dive into learning outcomes as it relates to the course design and support resources, centered around the internal Best Practices for quality course design model used on our campus. Of the 10 core areas of design and support built into this model, this research looks closely at each, with a special focus on Core Variable #9, Universal Design & Accessibility.  Research has begun to showcase that UDI results in more positive learning experiences (Kumar & Wideman, 2014), increases student retention (Tobin, 2014), encourages more thoughtful instructional practice (Kumar & Wideman, 2014), and is particularly suited to addressing the challenges of online learning environments (Gradel & Edson, 2009; Kumar & Wideman, 2014).

In this Discovery Session, we will be sharing findings from our research comparing student learning outcomes in online learning courses at our campus for those courses with an "online course certification" to those courses not currently holding this certification. Preliminary results show an astounding difference in both WDF rates and also overall course GPAs between best practice certified versus non-certified. Further review of student instructor evaluations between certified- versus non-certified courses will also be discussed. We will be providing our participants with examples of the learning design elements built into the course certification Best Practice model that appear to positive impact our students' WDF and final course GPAs.  We will also be soliciting online feedback through an online polling/texting tool from all participants to our session, from which we will be distributing out to them post-presentation research findings relating to our project. 

 

Gradel, K. & Edson, A. J. (2009). Putting Universal Design for Learning on the Higher Ed agenda. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38(2), 111-121.

Kumar, K. L. & Wideman, M. (2014). Accessible by design: Applying UDL principles in a first year undergraduate course. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 44(1), 125-147.

Tobin, T. (2014). Increase online student retention with Universal Design for Learning. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 15(3), 13-24.