Increasing Accessibility and Effectiveness of Online Education for Students with Disabilities
Othelia E. Lee and Stella Y. Kim
Abstract: Little is known about the opportunities and challenges that students with disabilities encounter in the online educational environment. In an effort to increase institutional readiness and provide better support to students with disabilities, we will investigate whether the prevalence of online learning increases educational outcomes and access for students with disabilities, explore the experiences and perspectives of these learners. We will recruit participants from a sample frame of more than 800 students who are registered with Student Disability Services at UNC Charlotte, our goal being to recruit at least 200 students (approximately 25%). We will inquire into each participant's prior experience with online courses and their preferred instructional modalities. This study prioritizes the perspectives of students with disabilities, therefore the efficacy of each instruction method will be evaluated based on their experiences. Online Learning Readiness Scale (OLRS) divided into five dimensions: self-directed learning, learner control, motivation for learning, computer/Internet self-efficacy, and online communication self-efficacy. Participants will also be asked to rate their overall technology skills, general opinion of online education, and likeliness of enrolling in an online course in the future. Among the total respondents, 30 student volunteers will be recruited to participate in in-depth interviews with researchers. Statistical analyses will be conducted to examine if there is a meaningful difference between groups of interest. Further analysis will be conducted to investigate the interaction effect of various types of disability and race on OLRS.
Exploring Faculty Perceptions of Flipped Learning
Abstract: Flipped learning is an innovative hybrid teaching approach in which students view pre-recorded video lectures outside of class, then engage in application-based activities in class. Despite the growing evidence base supporting flipped learning in higher education, little research has examined why some instructors use flipped learning and others do not. In this mixed methods study, I will use survey research, qualitative case study research, and comparison to create a robust understanding of faculty perceptions towards flipped learning. First, I will distribute the Flipped Learning Experiences, Perceptions, and Adoption Decisions instrument (Long et al., 2019) via electronic questionnaire to examine UNC Charlotte faculty perceptions of flipped learning, including their motivations for or against using the teaching method. Second, I will use focus group meetings with UNC Charlotte faculty to learn in-depth perceptions about their support for or against flipped learning. Lastly, I will capitalize on a 30-year research partnership between UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education and the Ludwigsburg University of Education for international comparisons of faculty perceptions of flipped learning. I will compare the UNC Charlotte quantitative and qualitative findings to parallel findings collected from faculty members in Ludwigsburg, Germany by colleague, Dr. Susanne Kraus. I will examine whether or not UNC Charlotte faculty have significantly different perceptions of flipped learning compared to German faculty. Results will create a clearer understanding of faculty perceptions on flipped learning and inform future professional development and resources needed to promote this evidence-based approach among university instructors locally and internationally.
Omidreza Shoghli & Glenda Mayo
Abstract: Online course delivery is not new, however, the number of available courses offered in both synchronous and asynchronous deliveries has grown tremendously. Universities offer online delivery to provide flexibility and to accommodate remote learners and the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand even more. Faculty training courses assist with online course preparation and delivery technologies. However, there are very few resources that provide faculty with a methodology to assess the course delivery and more importantly, to use specific predictive analytics to intervene for poor performers early in the semester. Additionally, although faculty resources provide suggestions for implementing technologies like videos and interactive tools, there has been minimal research to showcase the correlation between watching those videos and the individual student's successful learning outcomes. The overall purpose will be to leverage the recent advances in data analytics to transform the data readily available to faculty into a method of early predictions (and intervention) in student performance. The results may be used to assist faculty with analytical tools for early prediction and suggestions for the student regarding early intervention. Data obtained from learning management systems, course video management tools, and socio-demographic background of students will be used to establish methods for valuable learner-centered feedback. It is expected that the early custom-designed feedback developed based on a framework for a prediction scheme will assist to impact online courses by striving to: predict poor performance, enhance engagement, increase retention and consequently contribute to the fulfillment of UNC Charlotte’s mission for online courses.
Tonya Bates, Erik Byker, Samantha Furr-Rogers, Harini Ramaprasad & Bryce Van Doren
Abstract: This year many traditionally face-to-face courses have rapidly switched to online course delivery. While previous studies have shown that collaborative learning and student-centered pedagogies can engage students, connect them to the University community, and help them achieve mastery in their coursework, many instructors are reluctant to include collaborative group work in online instruction. This multidisciplinary study will investigate the impact of scaffolding collaborative learning activities on student success in the online learning environment. We propose to: (1) examine the organization of required group work in online classes across several disciplines, course levels, course sizes, and delivery methods and (2) evaluate its impact on student learning outcomes, overall course grades, and the students’ sense of belonging in the University community. To investigate the research questions under study, we will use a mixed-methods approach. We will analyze quantitative survey data, review analytical data from Canvas to examine students’ engagement, and collect qualitative data from students’ reflection and retrospection. This project’s overarching goal is to improve the quality of teaching and learning strategies used in online courses at UNC Charlotte. Instructors who consider using assigned group work in their online courses may use this knowledge to guide students as well as to scaffold group work. Instructional designers may use this knowledge to recommend best practices on online course design. This study may also guide funding decisions for training opportunities for successful online course design. Bringing together these points of view will improve the quality of online student learning outcomes.
History Scholars Academy Online Modular Disciplinary Skill Alignment and Integration for Entering Undergraduate Transfer Students
Abstract: This grant seeks support for the evaluation of the efficacy and impact of the History Scholars Academy, an online disciplinary skills praxis and integration model for the Department of History’s sizable incoming transfer student cohort. This program seeks to accelerate and align the latter’s academic core competencies with departmental upper-level course readiness expectations, to develop career readiness, and to build a community of scholars. Modular in format – transfers may be assigned differing Canvas skill modules based on their entry profile – students take this self-paced praxis in their first semester at UNC Charlotte as part of a one-year faculty-led skill and mindset transition experience. The program is unique in that it is highly customizable to individual transfer entry points, yet builds social belonging and peer support without the need of a course seminar. The objectives of this SOTL grant are to measure whether this experiential online transition program effectively reduces the performance, retention, and time to degree gaps our transfer students face, and how this initiative – if proven successful – can be scaled up for departmental implementation elsewhere; and in what formats.
Ryan A. Miller, Cathy D. Howell & Beth Oyarzun
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the rapid acceleration in the use of online technology to facilitate teaching and learning, and many instructors who had not previously taught online are now doing so. The health pandemic has also coincided with renewed attention to systemic racism and intersecting forms of oppression in the United States. While instructors can rely on a robust body of literature about online learning, issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access are not sufficiently understood or highlighted. This study will contribute to a better understanding of online instructors' experiences with and perceptions of equity issues within online teaching and learning. The researchers will conduct one-on-one interviews of up to 25 UNC Charlotte instructors across disciplines teaching online courses regarding their preparation, experience with, and recommendations for fully infusing issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) in online teaching. We draw upon the multidimensional model of diverse learning environments (Hurtado et al., 2012) and expand this model to focus on the online instructional space, guided by literature and best practices on online learning at the organizational, course, instructor, and student levels. The results of this project will provide actionable insights for UNC Charlotte faculty, instructional designers, and academic administrators to improve attention to and inclusion of equity issues more fully within online courses.