This paper reports the findings from a pilot study that investigated the uses of computer-mediated communication in an educational psychology course for pre-service teachers that focused on problem-based learning via CD-ROM-based case analysis. Thirty-nine pre-service teachers and eight practicing teachers participated in the development of an online learning community in which they viewed video case studies as part of a virtual field experience component and communicated online through chat rooms and threaded discussion lists. Data sources included transcripts of chat room and threaded communication, field notes, student tasks and reflections, and exit interviews with the teachers and one student focus group. Methodology was qualitative in nature using a template organizing approach with the constant comparative method. This paper reports the findings concerning students’ learning about educational psychology and teaching, students’ appreciation of diverse settings, the developmental nature of the questions posed by the pre-service teachers, and the advantages and disadvantages of using the technological components in this course. Results showed that the case studies helped the students make sense of the concepts and theories being studied in class, while communication with the teachers helped the students see the practical applications of the information they were learning.Online Learner Authentication: Verifying the Identity of Online Users
This paper addresses how one university has partnered with a corporation to work on the verification of online student identity and describes ongoing efforts to best verify online student identity. Through this collaboration, the university seeks to enhance the credibility of its online evaluation process by employing data forensic techniques commonly used by today’s financial services industry. Detail is presented on how user authentication strategies are being applied to verify remote learner identity during formal online performance appraisals. Additional details on how the existing strategies will be enhanced toward multi-faceted user authentication are discussed.Attrition in Online and Campus Degree Programs
The purpose of this study was to examine how the mode of instructional delivery, campus face-to-face or online, affected dropout relative to students’ academic and demographic characteristics. A quantitative study was conducted to analyze the academic and demographic characteristics of newly admitted, matriculated degree-seeking students (N = 640) from Fall 2002 to Fall 2004 in the Master’s of Business Administration and Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders at a national research university in the southeastern United States. Demographic variables analyzed were age, gender, and ethnicity. Academic variables analyzed were program delivery mode, undergraduate grade point average, graduate grade point average at time of dropout or completion, admission test scores, and number of terms to degree completion or number of courses completed at time of dropout.Research Areas in Distance Education: A Delphi Study
Results of the study found that online students were significantly more likely to dropout than campus based students. Age was found to have a significant unique affect on dropout in both programs with older students more likely to dropout. Academic and demographic variables were not found to be significantly associated with dropout in the online formats of either program. Variables related to dropout for the campus based groups of both programs differed. Campus MBA students who dropped out were older and had higher GMAT scores while campus CSDI students who dropped out had lower undergraduate GPA’s and GRE scores. Logistic regression analyses showed age and delivery format to have significant unique effects beyond other predictors on dropout in the MBA program overall while age and undergraduate GPA had significant unique effects beyond other predictors on dropout for the CSDI program.
This study had three purposes: Firstly, to develop a categorization of research areas in distance education; secondly, to identify the most important research areas in distance education; and thirdly, to identify the most neglected research areas in distance education. Based on a literature review and a Delphi study, three broad levels or perspectives with 15 research areas were derived to organize the body of knowledge in distance education. Prospective researchers can use the results to identify gaps and priority areas and to explore potential research directions.