Evaluation of the CSU Online Learning Model

The evaluation report from our Phase 1 implementation of the Charles Sturt University Online Learning Model (OLM) is now available. The report, authored by Sarah Hyde, along with myself and Lindy Croft-Piggin includes some really interesting findings about what online students value and how we can improve their learning experiences.

Some of the key findings were as follows:

  • Online students crave interaction with the lecturer, with teacher presence aligning strongly with student satisfaction;
  • Online students are strategic in their engagement with content and are most likely to interact with other students when there is a clear purpose;
  • There is a very strong demand for high quality recorded online lectures with authentic assessment tasks and interactive quizzes also highly desired;
  • Implementation of the elements within the OLM align with measures of student engagement;
  • Academic staff and educational designers desire longer lead times and increased overall time allocation to the design and development of online subjects; and
  • Academic staff need to be consulted early and regularly with regard to any pedagogical strategy to improve student learning and need reassurance that the recommended strategies are based on evidence, will be supported, and will have a positive impact on student learning.

The evaluation focussed on the processes used to implement the model, student learning experiences, and student and staff perceptions about the elements of the model. The scope of the evaluation encompassed implementation of the model in 116 online subjects within the Bachelor of Accounting, Bachelor of Business (HRM), Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare), Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, Bachelor of Nursing, and Bachelor of Medical Science courses. All students and staff in the 116 subjects were invited to participate in the evaluation, and 1270 students, 34 academic staff and 12 education support staff responded to a survey and 19 students were interviewed.

The evaluation is likely to be of interest to anybody involved in improving the quality of their online subject design and teaching and can be downloaded from http://lou.uimagine.edu.au/olm-evaluation-report/ 

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