Inquiring Minds Want to Know: The Value of Adding Optional Synchronous Elements into Online Asynchronous Courses
Concurrent Session 6
How much do our efforts to include synchronous elements in online asynchronous courses matter to students? This wondering provides the foundation for an action research study that utilizes The Inquiry Cycle (Dana, Thomas, and Boynton, 2011). The value of including optional, real-time learning experiences in anytime courses is investigated.
This session focuses on the value of including optional synchronous elements in asynchronous classes. In traditional classroom settings, building relationships with students is the first step in creating a collaborative, student-centered learning environment. Bridging the distance between virtual learners and instructors can be a challenge, especially in courses that are designed to be asynchronous in nature. For that reason, synchronous elements tend to find their way into asynchronous courses. Experiences such as real-time discussion sessions and virtual office hours provide students with opportunities to engage with each other and course instructors as they would in a traditional classroom setting. The work that is done to incorporate synchronous elements into courses can leave instructors wondering how valuable those efforts actually are to students, along with the question of which experiences are most beneficial to student learning. This wondering provides the basis for the action research study that will be presented. Through application of The Inquiry Cycle (Dana, Thomas, and Boynton, 2011), the action research study examines the value and benefit of weaving optional elements of synchronous courses into asynchronous design. Findings from an action research study involving data from three online asynchronous course instructors who teach multiple graduate education courses will be shared with attendees.
Throughout the presentation portion of the session, attendees will process the steps of The Inquiry Cycle as the presenters discuss the conceptual framework of their study. Opportunities to develop ideas for potential action research studies will be included in the presentation. Attendees will also engage in developing wonderings of their own that can be used to frame potential future inquiries. Following the presentation of the study framework and findings, attendees will participate in individual reflection along with a group Q&A session (facilitated by the presenters) that will utilize Padlet.