Monday, March 26, 2012

Did you find time to disconnect over Spring Break!

“Daily exposure to high technology – computers, smart phones, video games, search engines like Google and Yahoo—stimulates brain cell alteration and neurotransmitter release, gradually strengthening new neural pathways in our brains while weakening old ones. Because of the current technological revolution, our brains are evolving right now – at a speed like never before” (p. 1).

Small, G., & Vorgon, G. (2008). iBrain: Surviving the technological alteration of the modern mind. New York: Harper Collins.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Distance Education's Spring 2012 Snapshot Report

by Leslie Lindsey, Instructional Designer, Office of Distance Education

At the start of every semester, the Office of Distance Education publishes a "Snapshot Report" with updated information about TWU's online and blended degree programs and courses, student demographics, and online semester credit hour production. You can find the Spring 2012 report here, and previous reports are posted on the Distance Education homepage.

For Spring 2012, did you know:
  • only 53% of all TWU students take at least one online or blended course? That means fully 47% of students take only face-to-face courses,
  • that TWU does not offer any fully-online bachelor's degree programs? The closest the university does offer are five different degree completion programs online, all through the College of Arts and Sciences. (You can find a list of TWU online degrees and certificates here.)
  • nearly two-thirds of TWU students enrolled only in online courses are completing a graduate degree?
  • approximately 60% of students taking an online or blended course at TWU are under 30 years old?
  • close to half of TWU's online and blended classes have fewer than 20 students? Only 5% of online or blended classes have more than 50 students.
  • over 40% of students taking an online or blended class at TWU live in the Metroplex?
  • less than half of one percent of students in an online or blended class at TWU live outside the state of Texas? And of those, the overwhelming majority reside in Oklahoma, Arkansas, or Louisiana.

And remember:

  • a fully online class is defined as one in which 85% or more of the planned instruction takes place online, including class meetings in Wimba or virtual conferencing.
  • a blended/hybrid class is defined as one in which a majority -- greater than 50% but less than 85% -- of the planned instruction occurs online, with a specified number of on-campus meetings.

What have been some of your preconceptions or stereotypes about online students or classes at TWU? Were there any surprises for you from this semester's Snapshot Report?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Let the Group Do the Work

Move communication on discussion board forums away from the individual model toward the collective model by requiring groups of student to communicate and collaborate in the Groups area. Once consensus is reached on the content of the posting from the group, one member posts the item to the Course Discussion area. Inform students that you will look in on the groups. It is helpful to add a participation dimension to your grading rubric for discussions. You spend your time responding to these collective posts in the main area.