With the growth of online courses and programs in higher education, considerable concerns emerge about student feelings of isolation and disconnectedness in the online learning environment. A research study was conducted to develop and validate an instrument that can be used to measure perceptions of connectedness of students enrolled in online programs or certification programs in higher education. The instrument consists of 25 items and has four scales: (a) community, (b) comfort, (c) facilitation, and (d) interaction and collaboration. One hundred and forty-six online learners who were enrolled in courses at a Turkish university completed the online questionnaire. Results of a factor and reliability analysis confirmed that the instrument is a valid and reliable measure of students' perceived connectedness in an online certificate program.
Keywords: Connectedness; isolation; learning community; online learning; social presence; higher education
Would this survey be a useful addition to your online courses/programmes? What issues do you see with using this as an evaluation tool for courses and programmes?
OK: Would this survey be a useful addition to your online courses/programmes? What issues do you see with using this as an evaluation tool for courses and programmes?
It is a quantitative methodology, which makes use of a data collection tool that collects feedback, which is number-crunched to evaluate courses. This is not new. I would add some qual questions in addition to seek student reasons for their yes/no...likert scale responses.
As for the research, all the stats were 'high'...e.g. Cron B A -not significant, not low...not medium (he he-am playing-stretching my gag a bit). If the reader is convinced of the validity of the tool (questionnaire) then that is up to the reader...yet I fail to understand such a focus on an effort to refine a questionnaire-only to include descriptions of the 'high' number outcomes without any links with student voice/triangulation with participants ( e.g. links in the discussion of results section).
It seems to me the focus of the paper is on the development of the tool rather than an in-depth analysis of the tool's impact for data colection on the key areas (a) community, (b) comfort,
(c) facilitation, and (d) interaction and collaboration. In other words, I have not developed my knowledge of how the tool supported movement forward for knowledge development about these key areas for online learning. To over-egg-the pud.....I have no idea what is meant by the term/concept comfort....and what the measures/outcomes are/mean for online learning...and on...and on.