Podcast trumps lecture in one college study

In a recent study at the State University of New York at Fredonia, researches looked at whether experiencing a live lecture in the classroom or viewing a recorded version of the same lecture made a difference in learning.

The result? Students who watched a video podcast scored on average a letter grade higher (71 percent vs. 62 percent) on an exam over the material.

Researchers noted that the mediating variables seemed to be the use of the pause and rewind buttons, multiple viewings of the recorded version, and whether the students were actively taking notes or not.

This is an interesting study report you should read at www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=57612.

Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning | The Sloan Consortium

The Sloan Consortium recently published a very important study of the growth of online learning. The comprehensive study was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and included a broad survey of 2,500 colleges and universities. Anyone remotely involved in online and distance learning should read it. Here are some key points:

Background: For the past several years, online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than overall higher education enrollments. The expectation of academic leaders has been that these enrollments would continue their substantial growth for at least another year. Do the measured enrollments match these lofty expectations?

The evidence: Online enrollments have continued to grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population, albeit at slower rates than for previous years.

  • Almost 3.5 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2006 term; a nearly 10 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.
  • The 9.7 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.5 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
  • Nearly twenty percent of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2006.

You can (and should!) read and download the complete survey here: Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning | The Sloan Consortium .

Quality standards for online courses

I recently attended the annual FUSION conference for users of the Desire2Learn learning management system. One of the gems I discovered is the Southern Regional Education Board. I picked up a really useful pamphlet entitled “Standards for Quality Online Courses.” It is a very succinct yet comprehensive framework for assessing online course quality.

You can download a .pdf version of the pamphlet at www.sreb.org

I encourage you to download and review it!

Access to Learning Project

Today I participated in an online seminar abut the Access to Learning Project. A number of notable universities have banded together for this collaborative project, sponsored by Eduventures.

The project has produced a very professionally done multimedia web site that can be referenced to promote online learning to administrators, faculty, and prospective students, particularly to adult learners. You can order a free CD with that material from the web site.

I highly recommend you review this material, at www.accesstolearningproject.org.

Ways to address online cheating and academic integrity

In my conversations with colleagues about online education, the topics of cheating and academic integrity often come up. While these topics are also of concern in the traditional classroom, some may feel that online technologies may actually enable more widespread cheating.

Here is an interesting article from a Desire2Learn newsletter that discusses some ways to address such concerns.


In particular I found the discussion about creating contextual versus generic assignments very interesting. That is what I have been doing for quite some time — provide contextual assignments where students must study and interact with their own world and environment and report back on what they’ve discovered. Enjoy!

Oklahoma Distance Learning Association Conference in Tulsa, November 5-6, 2007

The Oklahoma Distance Learning Association is sponsoring a statewide conference in Tulsa this November 5 and 6. Its theme is “Web 2.0 in Education.” Registration is free to everyone, but do preregister as soon as you can to ensure a spot at the conference. It is being held at Oklahoma State University — Tulsa, my former place of employment before I came to ORU.

Just CLICK HERE and visit the registration site to put your name on the attendance list. I encourage you to go!