Using Google Forms for Self-Reflection in an Asynchronous, Online Instructional Technology Class for Pre-Service Teachers

Concurrent Session 3
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Brief Abstract

This research looks at the effects of using a Google Form reflection to reduce feelings on disconnect between online, asynchronous students and their undergraduate, instructional technology instructor.  Qualitative data was collected via the students’ end of course survey and analyzed through a phenomenological method.


Dr. Kelly S. Rippard is a researcher of English and pre-service teacher education, instructional design, curriculum development, problem-based instructional models, technology education, and blended learning. After having a successful career as a secondary and postsecondary English educator as well as an instructional designer and curriculum specialist, Dr. Rippard is currently a lecturer in the department of teaching and learning at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Here she teaches future teachers about educational methods and technology in both traditional and online classrooms.

Extended Abstract

Using Google Forms for Self-Reflection in an Asynchronous, Online Instructional Technology Class for Pre-Service Teachers

Description and Goals

            This research highlights session will briefly discuss the methods and findings from a qualitative research study focused on using Google Forms for self-reflection in an asynchronous, online, undergraduate instructional technology course for pre-service teachers. The goals of the session are to a) share the methods by which the researcher designed the reflection within the online course’s LMS’s modules and on Google Forms b) share the findings via students’ end of course survey feedback and c) discuss potential implications for online learning and future research. The researcher will share all information via an Infographic created on Canva. Participants will be given a handout that contains a QR code to digitally retrieve the Infographic and save it to their devices. This handout will also have a link to a Google Form where participants can digitally make comments and ask questions; this allows participants to experience the Google Form similar to the participants in the research study.


Research Problem


In this qualitative research study, a professor in an 400-level asynchronous, online PK-12 Instructional Technology course sought to enhance student’s feelings of connectedness to the instructor by using weekly required module reflections via Google Forms. Previous semesters of the course included reflection as a part of each student’s weekly assignment required in a digital teaching portfolio. This reflection asked students to complete work such as a PowerPoint or Quiz and then write about their process; this reflection was only based upon the assignment. In the end of semester feedback, students commented on feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness with the professor. To help reduce these feelings among students in future semesters, the professor added reflections to the end of each module. These reflections were not part of the portfolio and were given to students separately through the LMS. The research question guiding the study was “do weekly reflections help minimize feelings of disconnect between students and the professor in an online, asynchronous course?”


As early as the nineteen-eighties, researchers began to discuss the types of interactions that are critical in distance education courses (see Moore, 1989). One interaction that can be especially important for students is between the student and the professor (see Anderson, 2008; Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). Issues with feelings of disconnectedness between the student and professor have been noted in online learning research (see Boling, Hough, Krinsky, Saleem, & Stevens, 2012). Some of the research suggests that one way to minimize feelings of disconnect with professors is by using videos in the courses (see Pardasani, Goldkind, Heyman, & Cross-Denny, 2012); however, adding videos to an online class can be time-consuming. One option for increasing connectedness between online students and the professor is to use various forms of reflection. Previous research has found that using text-based reflections can improve the relationship between the student and professor and may also help add to a community of practice (see Salmon, 2002).


            This qualitative pilot study took place during a 12-week summer semester at a public university. Participants were all undergraduate students enrolled in an online, asynchronous 400-level PK-12 Instructional Technology course intended for pre-service teachers. The course was held through the Blackboard LMS, and it had 12 modules. Each module was one-week long and ended with assignments due every Sunday. Within module one through eleven’s assignment’s folder, the researcher added a link to a reflection form as the last step to that module’s assignment’s directions. Each of the 11 reflection forms was created in the researcher’s Google Drive using Google Forms. The reflections consisted of two open-response items: a place for each student’s name and a place for each student to reflect on the unit. The only instruction provided to students was to “use this form to provide your reflection on module #. This could include module #'s multimodal texts, the assignment, and the evaluation information. Only I can see your responses.” Each reflection was worth .5, totaling 5.5 points of each student’s final course grade. Before the professor graded each student’s module’s assignments, she reviewed each student’s reflection to get a better idea of student’s thoughts on and experiences with the module. Issues and concerns were addressed in the professor’s written feedback on student work within the Blackboard system. At the end of the course, students were asked to complete a final course reflection via the university’s end-of-course student opinion survey form. This survey asked students 1) What changes, if any, could be made to the class that would have helped you to learn more? 2) What could the instructor have done to make the course an even better learning experience? 3) What did you like most about the class and your instructor? 4) What factors about this class contributed the most to your learning?

            At the end of the semester, the data from the student’s end-of-course student opinion surveys was exported from the university’s system into an Excel spreadsheet. The data is currently in analysis, and the professor is using the phenomenological analysis technique as described by Hays and Singh (2012).  First, the researcher bracketed her biases and assumptions about the course, the reflections, and the students. Next, student’s responses on the 4 items (see list above) were analyzed through horizontalization, which involves looking for the large themes present in the data. After the horizontal codes were developed, the researcher engaged in textural description by combining the codes into similar themes. Based on these themes, a codebook was developed. Lastly, the researcher analyzed the textural codes by looking for oppositive and tensions, resulting in the final codebook of structural themes. Several trustworthiness strategies were used to increase the validity of the research: an audit trail was kept and thick description was used.                              

Potential Results

            The purpose of this qualitative pilot study was to examine if the inclusion of weekly reflections helped increase student’s feelings of connectedness within an online, asynchronous course. During previous semesters, student’s end of course survey feedback reflected themes of disconnectedness with the instructor. The researcher hoped that giving students a way to communicate weekly with the professor via simple reflections would be a quick and easy way to minimize feelings of disconnect. A finding such as this would have great implications for other online, asynchronous instructors who are looking at simple and quick ways to decrease students’ feelings of disconnect with professors in online, asynchronous courses.











Anderson, T. (2008). Towards a theory of online learning. In  T. Anderson (Ed.), Theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from

Boling, E. C., Hough, M., Krinsky, H., Saleem, H., & Stevens, M. (2012). Cutting the distance in distance education: Perspectives on what promotes positive, online learning experiences. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(2), 118-126.

Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 133-148.

Moore, M. G. (1989). Three types of interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1–6.

Pardasani, M., Goldkind, L., Heyman, J. C., & Cross-Denny, B. (2012). How much does the distance in distance education matter? Our students speak. Social Work Education, 31(4), 406-421.

Salmon, G. (2002). Mirror, mirror, on my screen≡ Exploring online reflections. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(4), 379-391.