Assessing the Effectiveness of Echo360 on Second Language Instruction: A Phenomenological Study of a Blended Introductory Chinese Course

Concurrent Session 3

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Brief Abstract

In this session, participants will learn about the effectiveness of Echo360 (an online active learning and lecture capture platform) for enhancing students’ learning outcomes in a hybrid format introductory Mandarin Chinese course. Join us in a lively discussion on students’ experiences with the technology based on the results from a phenomenological study.

 

Presenters

Originally from the northeast of China, Xinyi Tan arrived in the U.S. to pursue her B.A.in English Education in 2012. Last August, after graduating with a PhD in French and Francophone Studies from Ohio State University, she took the position of Assistant Professor of Chinese and French at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) in Conway, SC. As a foreign language instructor and the coordinator of the Chinese language program at CCU, Xinyi has been exploring innovative theories and approaches to enhance the outcomes of second language instruction. She became interested in online learning after completing a twelve-week Hybrid/Blended Pedagogy workshop at CCU. She is one of the eight recipients of the 2019 Echo360 Academic Champion Grant in the U.S. Her current research focuses on the effective implementation of Echo360 into introductory-level language courses.
Dr. Sherri Restauri has served in academia for 17 years. During this time, she has served as an instructional designer, faculty member in the field of psychology and other areas, and also as an administrator over Online Learning at several universities. Dr. Restauri joined the Coastal Office of Online Learning as their Director in July 2016. Her research focus is on improving the teaching and learning process across all teaching modalities through the use of technology, with specific interest in pedagogical practices to increase student engagement, and best practices in online pedagogy.

Extended Abstract

In today’s world of higher education, the hybrid/blended learning format is becoming increasingly popular. A wide range of disciplines have adopted a hybrid/blended learning approach to promote active learning in order to improve student preparation, participation, and comprehension. The hybrid/blended modality demonstrates unique strengths as it takes advantage of the best features of both face-to-face and online learning. While many factors may impact the outcomes of a hybrid/blended course, the implementation of an effective teaching and learning platform and strategy plays a critical role in successfully achieving student learning outcomes (SLO) for the course. In this session, you will learn about the effectiveness of Echo360, a popular online active learning (and lecture capture) platform, for teaching a hybrid/blended introductory Mandarin Chinese course through the results from a phenomenological study focusing on both students’ and faculty’s experiences with the technology.

As a foreign language instructor, the decision to convert the introductory Chinese course from the traditional format to the hybrid/blended format was initially selected as a means to best accomplish instructional objectives; the subsequent discovery of the optimal functionality of the Echo360 tool led to embedding the technology into course design during a hybrid/blended pedagogy workshop at my institution. As there is limited research on how this technology impacts second language instruction, we seek to investigate how Echo360’s analytical features reflect the SLOs.

Given that the technology’s lecture capture and advanced learning functions can increase levels of engagement and flexibility in many classes, this study sought to determine if, and in what manner, Echo360 can bring revolutionary changes to a foreign language class where students’ participation is essential for learning. Researchers specifically sought to investigate which of the tool’s functionalities contributed to the betterment of active learning outcomes. We also investigated these questions:

1. Is the tool also effective for teaching a language such as Mandarin Chinese, which is widely considered challenging for Western learners?

2. If so, how does it change the ways students interact with their learning materials?

3. Additionally, what are students’ experiences using Echo360 as interpreted through the data generated by the tool’s analytical function as well as surveys?

In order to clarify these research questions, researchers will discuss the results from a phenomenological study on the effectiveness of Echo360 in the hybrid/blended introductory Chinese course. Researchers selected the use of a phenomenological study method to gain intensive personal experiences from this analysis (this methodology focuses on descriptions of what people experience and how it is that they experience what they experience; Patton, pp.106). This approach allowed our study to better document as well as interpret students’ interactions with the technology based on several types of data including analytics from Echo360, surveys, and in-depth individual interviews in order to determine how effective the tool is for second language instruction.

If you are also using Echo360 or a similar lecture capture/webcasting tool in your hybrid/online courses, and/or if you are a second language instructor interested in teaching in a hybrid/online environment, do not miss this session. It is a great opportunity for you to understand how an active learning platform like Echo360 influences the outcomes of teaching and learning through an analytical presentation of students’ experiences.

Level of Participation:

The session is structured as a slide presentation with Q&A in the end. There will be two presenters: the instructor of the course and the Echo360 coordinator at the institution. The latter will kick off the session by giving an introduction about Echo360’s functionalities, its adoption at institutions, its effects, and the background of the study; during this time, audience participation will be collected using interactive Q&A via audience’s smartphones.

Following the introduction, the course instructor will delve into the details about the case study by addressing the aforementioned questions with analytics generated from the research. Attendees will then have a chance to ask questions at the end of the presentation and to participate in a group discussion on the topic.

Session Goals:

Individuals attending this session will learn how to embed an active learning platform into the design of a hybrid/blended course. Additionally, they will be able to see how effective a video platform like Echo360 is for teaching a second language based on the analytics collected from a phenomenological study. Lastly, they will be able to understand the benefits and the challenges of using an active learning technology in a hybrid/blended environment from users’ perspectives.

Work Cited

Patton, Micheal Quinn. Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods. 3rd ed., Sage Publications, 2002.