Monday, August 3, 2009

End of Course

Hi Guys,

It was nice chatting and communicating with you all for this course, I really enjoyed the elearning and sharing of ideas. Thanks to all who gave comments and contributed in my blog.
Wish you all good luck for your future.

Kind Regards

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quality Issues of Elearning

Quality Issues of Elearning

Hi guys, hope everyone’s final report is going great. I am still working on it and hopefully should complete it by this week. Very interesting report by Kay Lewis , I will be posting some comments in your blogs shortly. As per Bronwyn’s email – I guess I had also left out some of the requirements of part one of the assignment, so I thought I will just share a few thoughts of quality issues for eLearning and evaluation processes in my context and the wider tertiary sector.

My overall perspective for eLearning in our society today is not so positive. Elearning is used to enhance, not to substitute, traditional classroom teaching, and there so many people thinking it is trying replace the traditional face to face teaching. As Huffaker suggest – through active engagement by using interactive and entertaining media, collaborative and cooperative activities, real world context, continuous feedback and monitoring progress. All these ways enhance the learning rather than as people think it is replacing the traditional way of teaching (Huffaker D, 2003).

From the readings from Huffaker D (2003), many critics of Elearning envision it as an isolated learning environment –In the environment I am teaching there are majority Pacifika learners and the Pasifika people visions Elearning from the same perspective - being isolated from the peers and the teacher. I think it is not being isolated – but a different way of interacting and communication that people need to adopt to.

Looking at the tertiary sectors, it seems like the Budget to implement and maintain Elearning environment seems bit costly and that leads to a negative opinion. Elearning depends quite heavily on the tools and technology being used to enhance the eLearning. If the tertiary sectors are unable to accommodate these tools and technologies than it makes it really hard to introduce eLearning into the education environment.

My personal opinions – Elearning benefits a lot of people who are not able to study fulltime, or more of adult learners who only can manage to study part time due to many reasons, and these can be the only option available for them and by providing an option for courses being online – makes it so easier for this target group.

In the teaching environment I have experienced that a lot of time, when it comes to evaluation – for elearning courses – the needs analysis and formative evaluation are skipped or overlooked, whereas I personally think it is very important to conduct formative evaluation before moving to summative and integrative evaluation. These sorts of evaluations would not only provide a better option for learners, but as well as a quality eLearning course.

These are just my thoughts and ideas - comments are welcome :)

Hope you guys have a good week :)

Huffaker, D. (2003). Reconnecting the classroom: E-learning pedagogy in US public high schools Australian Journal of Educational Technology. 19 (3), 356-370.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Evaluation Feedback From Students

7 Students participated in the evaluation.

Overall the seven students were quite positive with the overall course and the way it was presented. Majority learners indicated that they were not well informed regarding the course before hand, in the interviews I asked what sort of information they preferred knowing:
· Knowing that there will be no text books, since all the units prior to these had a text book, they expected a text book for unit 2780-81
· Everything will be online,
· Internet connection would be an advantage. – Specially if working from Home
· People who does not have internet had no option but to attend classes to get access to materials

100 % from the sample agreed to use a combination of both online and text book. When asked why did they prefer text book, they said: since this unit has got a lot of theory – hence plenty to read, they prefer doing all the reading at home in their spare time rather being in class in front of the computer. Some preferred text books in order to make notes and highlight things etc for later reference.
It seems there were a few who were not clear about the Course Objectives as per the graph below, but majority were ok.

How to improve the course
71% - Provide better information before the Course
42% - Clarify the course objectives
0% - Reduce amount of content covered in the course.
57 % - Increase amount of content covered in the course.
0 % - Update content covered in the course.
14% - Improve the instructional methods.
0% - Make course activities more stimulating.
86% - Improve course organization.
0% - Make the course less difficult.
14% - Make the course more difficult.
0% - Slow down the pace of the course.
0% - Speed up the pace of the course.
14% - Improve the tests used in the course.

From the interview it was discovered that a lot of students wanted more work, they have completed 8 units before doing these unit and they were full on work where they had to work on Microsoft Office programs learning Word, Publisher, Excel, Access, and these keep them very busy doing exercises and experimenting with the programs. Whereas the unit 2780-81 is Theory based teaching the operation of a PC and how to manage and protect Data. They found the theory part to be easier and faster to complete – since they just had to do is a lot of reading and assessments.

They preferred printing out a lot of materials and taking it home for reading. Nearly all of them have a file in which they have compiled all the printed notes for future reference.
Generally for 90% of the sample this was the first time they had experience online learning, and they overall had a good experience and has learnt a lot.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Report Summary

Sample: 14 Facilitators took part in the survey and below are the results:

Unit 2780-81 has recently been converted from text books to a totally online course with facilitation available. 78% of Facilitators think the majority of students are coping well with the change.
What is your opinion towards the online materials of 2780-81? Around 50 % likes the idea of it being online, and around 28% disagrees with it being online.

50% of facilitators think students are able to follow through the student guide and complete the learning objectives of unit 2780-81 without much guidance and 20% disagrees or are neutral.
Majority facilitators think it is easy to navigate through the course contents and assessments of unit 2780-81 a few thinks there is need for improvement.

The majority students fall under what ethnic group:
NZ European, Maori, Chinese, Indians, Pacific Island – this shows that the survey had looked into a wide spread of ethnic group over the different locations.

More than 50% think the age factor affects the learner’s ability in dealing with online resources, so digital divide is an issue with elearning.

Below is some common difficulties student’s face while doing the unit 2780-81:
Navigating the Course contents 23.1%
Trying out the interactive activities 38.5%
Quizzes 23.1%
Assessments 30.8%
Overcoming information overload 76.9%
Understanding the layout of the contents 30.8%
Completing the Learning Objectives 23.1%

From the above results, it can be said that majority facilitators think – overcoming information overload as a common difficulty students find.

The above results are just views of what the facilitators think. I am still in the middle of gathering information from students.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Evaluation Update

Hi Guys,
Thanks to all for the useful comments you guys gave, and thanks bronwyn for giving feedback on my evaluation plan. I have just edited the evalution plan and uploaded it on Google Doc. I also shared this with the group, comments welcome :).

I have recieved really great feed back from the questionnaires that I sent out. The response from the Facilitators was great. I am on the edge of evaluting the students and as well as looking at the results from the facilitators and analyse that.

Hope to post some feedback from the results shortly. :)


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Evaluation Plan Version 2

Hi Guys,
Thanks for the comments, i do agree with all of you, that it may be hard or time consuming chasing past students to do my evaluation, so i might just stick to the current students i have. :)

I have just updated my evaluation plan and added a questionnaire as well. The questionnaire is still under development, i am planning to have a different set of questions developed for the facilitators to get their perspective towards the course.

I have uploaded the plan on Google Doc
Comments Welcome.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Draft Evaluation Plan

Evaluation Plan

I would be looking at effectiveness evaluation for unit 2780 – Operate a Personal Computer and 2781 Manage and Protect Data. Unit 20780/2781 is part of National Certificate in Computing level 2 units offered by MIT. I was initially thinking of only doing 2780, but since both of these units are offered in combination and students do both of them together. I thought the comments the students give would be for both of them so I better evaluate it as a whole cluster that contains 2780 & 2781.

Unit 2780 and 2781 is used to be offered via a text book, that students went through the theory followed by assignments and assessments. Just last year the whole course was changed to an online environment. Students work online with all the reading materials and quizzes and activities to work with and after completing the online materials than the students do the assessments.

My evaluation plan is to check:
- If delivering the course online makes it more efficient
- Whether students are able to use the online tools
The best way to do this evaluation is to get feedback from past students who had books and then compare it with current students who have everything online. Also look at their perspective by letting them know about the change and what would they have preferred.

The Sample
I would like to do the evaluation on students:
- Who has completed the two units
- Who are currently doing the units
- Who have done it by using the books (may be bit difficult to get hold of them)
- Will look at the age factor ( will try and keep it balanced)
- Will look at different branch students as well – to get a wider cultural group covered
Finding the sample of students and getting them to participate in the evaluation is a bit hard part. I would prefer having students who have at least done half of the course work – so that they are ready to give feedback. The ones who have just started the course – might prefer to take more time to give better feedback and I might not have time available to do my evaluation. I am planning to finish everything by the end of the semester so I will try and keep everything in the time line as such to allow me to be able to gather all the information be able to provide a report by end of the semester.

I will conduct the evaluation through:
- Questionnaires (suitable for most students)
- Interview
- Group discussion

I would prefer using the Multiple Methods evaluation model Mark & Shotland 1987 to conduct my evaluation project
Using the following guidelines:
TD2: Do students get clearly defined learning objectives that assist them in focusing on their learning activities?
- Are they able to follow the student guide and navigate through the course materials easily
- Are they able to complete the activities successfully
- Able to complete the assessments
TD5: Have a representative sample of students tested the e-learning materials, and any necessary modifications been made?

- To evaluate and see if putting the course online is made any changes
- To get feedback whether the students were comfortable using those tools.
- If any changes – what needs to be changed

Week 10 and 11 - Develop evaluation Methods. Find sample and Conduct evaluation
Week 12 - Gather all information and analyze it.
Week 13 - Publish results and receive feedbacks
Week 14 and Week 15 - Write a report based on the whole evaluation process and eh outcomes of it.

Time and Cost
I am planning to spend approximately 25 hours to complete the evaluation.
Cost - ?

There is more details to be added to this - please feel free to comment on it, while i am fine tunning it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Evaluation Paradigms and Models

Evaluation Plan

It was really interesting reading all the different ways we can make an effective evaluation through all the readings for this course. Interesting to look at the qualitative and quantitative methods with the different paradigms. The Eclectic-mixed Methods Pragmatic Paradigm looks at qualitative and quantitative evaluation including triangulation. The information gathered from using mixed methods approach allows us to improve our teaching and learning. It was quite neat to see how Bronwyn had compared the two models.

I would prefer using the Multiple Methods evaluation model Mark & Shotland 1987 to conduct my evaluation project. I have thought of evaluating unit 2780 – Operate a Personal Computer for the evaluation project. This unit is theory based and there was a text book for this unit in combination with unit 2781. Just recently it has been all made online and there is no text books for it. So students now have to navigate through online resources and complete their course work before attempting the assessments.

I would look at evaluating this unit with respect to the guidelines that I chose earlier TD2: Do students get clearly defined learning objectives that assist them in focussing on their learning activities? I would like to find out whether the students are able to know what they need to do to cover the course materials and follow through the assessments. And TD5: Have a representative sample of students tested the e-learning materials, and any necessary modifications been made? Since the online materials have been just introduced, there are still room for improvement – “pragmatic aspect … things can get better.” It was interesting to see when the change happened from the text book to everything being online – the students who were in between the change – some students preferred online and some preferred the text book. It would be good to evaluate and see the advantages of having it online and how we can make it better if need be. So I would be carrying out an Effectiveness Evaluation – to see how effective the online course for unit 2780 is or I can look at the modification side with TD5, where Maintenance Evaluation can be looked at, Depending on the time frame for this course – I think it would be best to just stick with one evaluation. Since this course has just come online recently – I think the maintenance will be looked at a later stage, so it would be better for me to concentrate on the effectiveness of it for now, so I would concentrate more on the summative evaluation.

I like the usability principles – where the Structure, Simplicity, Visibility, feedback, tolerance and reuse are very essential principles while evaluating an Elearning course.

Thought: When evaluating using a group of students, Does the age of students matter? if your sample of students are older students or if sample is majority younger teens - how effective is your evaluation based on age factor??

Feed back and comments are welcome.

Wish you all a very Happy Easter Break !!!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 3 - E learning Guides

Week 3
Looking at the website : These e-learning guidelines are very interesting, it explores the e-learning guides from different perspective like student, teachers, support staff and managers। The website seems to be up-to-date with practical information and direction on e-learning।I really liked the Cube and the animation of it leading to the different guidelines.

The two elearning guidelines relevant to my area of practice are:
1.) TD2:Do students get clearly defined learning objectives that assist them in focussing on their learning activities?

2.) TD5: Have a representative sample of students tested the e-learning materials, and any necessary modifications been made?

For the Computer courses that I am teaching, a lot of time we have students who get confused and are not sure of what they are suppose to be doing next or what the contents are leading into. I think our online materials cover the concepts and ideas of the course to ensure that students are clear on the course's focus, but there must be some ways we can improve it, so that they are able to see the bigger picture of what they a leading towards.

We had just recently – converted our book manuals into online learning for a few units and this is just very new, and they have been some mistakes or problems regarding the online resource. We are trying to get as many feedbacks from students who are currently doing it, so that we can make the necessary changes on it as we go along. Sometimes we tend to think that that would be the obvious option for the students to follow through the steps, and guess what, it tends out to be not the only direction that it will lead to. So it is very important to be precise and also it is good to do trials and do the necessary modifications if need be.

I generally think that “TD1: Is the use of e-learning appropriate to the intended learning outcomes?” is a very important Guide for whatever course you design. “The general principles for effective teaching are generally the same regardless of the technology used.”
Doesn’t matter what course and how we design the course – we should see if it meets the desired outcome।

Identify two issues related to quality in eLearning - these will provide part of the rationale for your evaluation project।

Issue 1: The motivation and support in elearning is limited compared to a normal ordinary class, where all the students are together with the lecturer. In a normal class where the lecturers are able to feel and physically see if the students are looking all confused or has no clue of what was just said and taught.

Issue 2: Usage of new or complicated E-Learning tools। Including software’s and other programs that will be required in order to view the course materials. If your learners spent half the semester figuring out how to use the e-learning tool or how to get to course contents, than that would not be such a good design. Sometimes we assumes that its so easy to download these package and set it up and it should be fine, but for some that would be a very difficult task.

For issue 1, the guide TD2 would be appropriate, where we need to make sure the students are focused on the learning outcomes, how can we motivate and support them to reach the outcomes of the course। TD5 – is a good link to the second issue, regarding the complicated Elearning tools. Whenever a new tool is introduced, it should be checked or trial done to test it in all conditions to see if any problem arises and if so, modifications to be done.

**** The future is leading towards Podcasting Lectures****

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why is evaluation important to you and how do you define it?

For me evaluation is a method of trying to gather information on a certain educational programme or course to allow us to make statements/ judgements on it. A major goal of any evaluation activity is to influence future decision-making.
If you look at the ADDIE model of instructional design – I think most educational providers do Summative Evaluation, but tends to leave out the formative part. I think looking at this model – the formative evaluation is very vital in evaluating, especially the first three stages of Analysis, Design and Development.
In my personal opinion – evaluation would be important to allow us to know whether what we are teaching meets the students expectations, are we meeting the industry needs, up-to-date with technology etc। Also evaluation is carried in our institute to see the teaching effectiveness.

What sort of evaluations mentioned on the presentation are familiar to you already and why?

I have been evaluated may times through observation, this is where your manager or HOD would like to come and sit in you class and observe your teaching and evaluate your teaching and give you a feedback।

Most of the times the students get questionnaires ti fill in to evaluate the teaching – the lecturer and as well as the course content।

I have heard of discussion forums and Expert reviews, but have not done such evaluations myself as yet।

Why is quality important in eLearning?

Quality is very important because you are not physically present to answer any ambiguous or unclear instruction or information. So quality in terms of being precise and clear with all the materials in e- learning is very important.
Quality of the content will determine the success of the students.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kia ora

I am Krishan, and i am currently working for MIT - as a Facilitator for computer courses. I am community based - workign in Mangere. this is my first blog that i have created, so still experimenting the features available here.