This blog post written by:
USDLA Chair of State Chapters
As a fairly new USDLA member, I’m developing deep respect and admiration for the innovative educators and programs honored each year at the USDLA awards ceremony. Each year the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) recognizes the preeminent distance learning practitioners from around the world, saluting some often unsung but hardworking professionals and also showcasing the “best of the best” so that others may admire and emulate their excellence and innovation. Our USDLA blog will be featuring a different 2016 USDLA Award Winner over the next several months.
A required course, MGMT3013: Fundamentals of Management, in the Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business received a major make-over under the leadership of Dr. Jim Pappas, Management Department Head. This 12-week course is required for all undergraduate business majors and typically has over 170 students enrolled. In order to increase student retention, engagement needed to be increased. How can a large group of students be provided opportunities for engagement without increasing instructor workload? The course was completely redesigned over two semesters with help from the college’s Distance Learning staff, including video production, test administration, instructional design, and multimedia A1:X15.
To include interactivity with peers, sub-grouping was necessary in this large group. After taking a Myers-Briggs assessment, students posted to discussion boards in the group that shares their personality type (16 types). Students were also put into small “study buddy” groups, where they first exchanged some personal information about each other and then were encouraged to email each other (as well as the Teaching Assistant, for accountability) with any questions or concerns about the course.
To improve student retention and success, Dr. Pappas and the instructional designer set up an Intelligent Agent within the LMS to check for any students who have not logged in within five days. Each Friday, and email composed by Dr. Pappas in advance goes out to nudge them to log into the course to see what they have missed.
Student learning was also enhanced by including multiple visual, textual, kinesthetic and/or auditory activities to enhance learning. Various media includes high quality instructional videos; interactive text, practice, and quizzes in McGraw Hill’s LearnSmart; and custom-designed visuals. Custom icons were created and strategically placed throughout the course to signal certain types of content or interactions.
With multiple types of formative and summative assessments, students have opportunities to prove their learning in various ways. The formative assessments consist of the LearnSmart modules, quizzes, extra credit video case quizzes, and discussions. The summative assessments are three proctored exams.
This amazing course make-over will prove that interactivity (with content, peers and the instructor), combined with good design concepts, easy navigation and multiple types of assessments will surely improve student retention and success!
Check out these upcoming USDLA events:
USDLA 2017 National Conference, April 30 – May 3, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN
The USDLA 2017 National Conference is the premier event for professionals in the distance learning industry. This year’s conference celebrates USDLA’s 30th year and promises to deliver an action-packed agenda that will bring together distance learning practitioners from across the country and around the world.
About United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is a non-profit association formed in 1987 with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. The association reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46% of the $913 billion dollar U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling as well as business, corporate, military, government and telehealth markets.