HAWAI I COMMUNITY COLLEGE ONLINE EDUCATION REPORT

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1 HAWAI I COMMUNITY COLLEGE ONLINE EDUCATION REPORT Fall 2012 Hawai i Community College Instructional Technology Support Office 200 West Kāwili Street Hilo, HI

2 Hawai i Community College Online Education - Fall 2012 This report is intended to provide a brief history and description of online education at Hawai i Community College. Background Hawai icc faculty began offering online courses in At the time, the UH System had purchased a license to use WebCT as its learning management system (LMS). Faculty who chose to teach online did so with the support of Information Technology Services (ITS) at UH Mānoa or from WebCT, itself. In 2007, the UH system joined the Sakai community and created its own LMS branded as Laulima, based on the open source Sakai platform. Many faculty members became involved with the creation of online classes to meet the needs of students. As more courses became available online, further infrastructure for online education became necessary. The Academic Senate formed several one term ad hoc committees dealing with Distance Education since the early 2000s. From , the Hawai i Community College Academic Senate ad hoc Committee on Online Education was charged with identifying the needs of, and creating a cohesive and coordinated effort for, the new and quickly expanding online arm of education at Hawai icc. The committee was comprised of five full time instructors with online teaching experience, one full time instructor who had not taught online, one full time faculty member who was serving as the Campus Distance Coordinator, and one full time non-voting staff member with a degree in educational technology. The committee membership had representation from nearly every part of the College community. The committee members were: Annie Brown, Information Technology Sam Giordanengo, History (Committee Chair) Joyce Hamasaki, Nursing James Lightner, Culinary Arts Ellen Okuma, Campus Distance Coordinator/Academic and Administrative Support Jill Savage, Math Kate Sims, English Leanne Urasaki, Education Specialist Committee Findings The committee sent out surveys to students and faculty and collected information about crucial concerns for those who were taking or teaching online classes. It identified the following key issues: For students design of courses could be more user friendly slow or no internet connections make success difficult 2

3 For instructors students are not always prepared for the demands of online education (either in self/time management or technology skills) cheating is difficult to monitor there is a lack of appropriate process for online course evaluation To address these concerns, the committee created four documents: Expectations of Online Courses at Hawai i Community College Faculty Peer Evaluation of Online Teaching Best Online Teaching Practices Best Online Learning Practices (for students) Furthermore, the committee recommended the creation of a College support office which would do the following: provide technical support online faculty provide Laulima support to students facilitate distance education at Hawai icc Current Trends Fall 2012 Dashboard Statistics: 68 sections of online courses 31 faculty/lecturers who teach online 1680 unduplicated students in online classes After experiencing a period of rapid growth over the past 13 years, statistics have remained stable over the past three semesters. However, online sections typically fill more quickly than face-to-face classes during registration, suggesting that the College has not yet fully absorbed the demand for online classes. General Institutional Principles and Commitments Mission Online and hybrid courses are designed to serve the academic needs and interests of the various student populations and the mission and vision of the College. Suitability The objectives of courses dictate whether it will be appropriate to utilize online and hybrid courses as a method of instruction. Professional Development The College supports the development of online and hybrid courses by providing ongoing professional development opportunities for faculty and academic departments. 3

4 Academic Standards Online and hybrid courses reflect the same standards of academic integrity and rigor as classroom-based courses at the College. Online and hybrid courses are developed on clear and consistent standards which apply College-wide. Assessment Online and hybrid courses are subject to the same student course evaluation and institutional assessment procedures which the College utilizes for traditional face-to-face courses. Where possible, assessment of learning outcomes in courses that are taught in both modes will be done to compare student learning in different modes. Course Approval Process Courses at the College that are taught online are required to first be taught as face-to-face classes, and are subject to the same approval process the College utilizes for all courses. In addition, department chairs or academic departments must approve offering a course online or as a hybrid. Student Notification Class schedules and registration materials for students clearly indicate which method of instruction will be utilized in a course (i.e. online or traditional) and what technological requirements, if any, are required for the course. Student Support The College provides students with access to academic support and student support services regardless of whether the student is taking online classes and is not physically on campus. Infrastructural Support The College provides instructors and students with appropriate infrastructural resources and technical assistance for online and hybrid courses. Basic Definitions and Requirements These definitions, descriptions, and recommendations have been developed to help highlight a) college practices, b) requirements established by federal law, as well as c) best practices within the field of online education and distance learning. Delivery Mode Definitions In online courses, instruction is conducted solely through the use of computer software in an online learning environment. For a course to be considered an online class, 100% of the content must be delivered online, although faculty may require on-site exams, faculty conferences, field trips or other activities (less than 20%). In hybrid courses, 30-80% of face-to-face seat time is replaced with online instruction. Face-to-face instruction is reduced but not eliminated. In compliance with the US Department of Education credit hour definition and the UH System Credit Hour policy 4

5 (Policy #5.228, May 2012), the combined face-to-face and online instructional time remains equivalent to a traditional face-to-face course. The syllabus and course content need to describe both in-class and online requirements. Web enhanced courses utilize web/computer-based components while maintaining all faceto-face seat time. These courses can be web enhanced through learning materials (handouts, assignments, quizzes, etc.) being posted in Laulima and/or other web-based technologies. Requirements Contact Hour A contact hour is equal to one hour of scheduled instruction provided to students. UH policy requires that 15 contact hours be provided for each course credit hour. This ratio changes for lab hours, but the concept still applies that online courses should provide a comparable level of experience and learning to face-to-face classes. This requirement applies to online and hybrid courses as well as traditional courses. All online courses provide comparable learning opportunities to students as a face-to-face course would offer. To meet the equivalency provision, online and hybrid courses provide roughly the same number of total hours of classroom instruction as a traditional course. The onus is on the instructor of an online or hybrid course to be able to demonstrate that this is true. All course equivalency requirements and activities should be: mandatory, measurable and graded the equivalent of an activity conducted in the classroom directly related to the outcomes of the course/program Work that a student would typically do outside of the classroom in a face-to-face class would not be considered part of class-time equivalency requirements, including: homework assignments required readings unless this would normally be directly tied to an in-class activity Faculty is responsible for determining what constitutes equivalency, and to document such decisions and justifications for them. Faculty developing online and hybrid courses should consult with colleagues, department/division chairs, appropriate faculty committees, deans, and accreditation standards when it comes to establishing equivalences between online learning activities and the class time requirement. Distance Education To ensure the College remains eligible to participate in Title IV programs, it is important that all online courses and online components of hybrid courses meet the definition of distance education (as opposed to correspondence) courses. Central to being considered distance education, courses must require regular and substantive interaction between these students and the instructor (as stipulated by of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations). 5

6 This means that instructors need to initiate discussions with students and between students. Answering student questions or providing feedback on assignments or tests is not considered interaction. Accessibility Federal law requires that online and hybrid courses are accessible to students with disabilities. Student Authentication Federal law requires that measures be taken in online courses to establish that the student who registers in an online course is the student who participates in and receives the academic credit. A completely online course at Hawai icc must include one major proctored exam or assignment or to be able to otherwise verify that the student who is getting credit for the class is the same as the one who is doing the work for the class. In addition to the verifying student identity, the College also supports and promotes a culture of academic integrity. The College has established a campus-wide policy on academic integrity, which is posted in the College catalog, as well as on the website. In addition, one of the College s General Education Learning Outcomes focuses on integrity ( Students will be able to behave in an informed and principled manner. ) In an effort to promote academic honesty in completely online classes, faculty has been asked to do the following: use Laulima, which has a secure login that is associated with a student s U.H. ID publish the academic integrity policy on each online course syllabus, including consequences for violation of this policy include one major proctored exam or assignment or to be able to otherwise verify that the student who is getting credit for the class is the same as the one who is doing the work for the class use Turnitin.com for writing assignments ask students to click on the Honor Pledge when taking online tests and quizzes use the Laulima library information competency unit (which highlights how to avoid plagiarism) if there is a research requirement in the course if possible, use question pools with more questions than will be used on any particular test, allows tests to be created in which there will be randomized draws and answers for multiple choice questions Online Course Evaluation Online course evaluation parallels the requirements of face-to-face evaluation. However, the College has a course evaluation rubric that is specific to online teaching. This was first developed by the ad hoc Online Education Committee and has evolved through feedback from department chairs and faculty. It is based on nationally recognized best practices in distance education. In addition to the evaluation rubric, the vice chancellor of academic affairs requires all online instructors to self-evaluate their online courses in relation to federal requirements, and to 6

7 submit Online Course Compliance forms for all online classes they are teaching each semester. These forms must be submitted at the beginning of each semester. Currently, the form covers four requirements: Contact Hour, Distance Education, Accessibility, and Student Authentication. The Instructional Technology Support Office (ITSO) maintains files of these forms, and where there are concerns about compliance, ITSO works with faculty to ensure that all courses at Hawai icc work towards meeting all requirements. Support Student support: Technical Support Laulima Orientation Sessions (several sessions are provided by ITSO at the start of each semester on all three campuses) Library and Learning Center (WH) informal, drop-in help Learning Center (EH) informal, drop-in help Hale Kea Advancement & Testing Center (EH) informal, drop-in help Hawai icc Distance Education website for students, including a Laulima Help page ITS online assistance from UH Mānoa Student Services Support and phone services provided by Admissions and Registration, Counseling, and Financial Aid offices. Academic Support Smarthinking online tutoring service Library services (online access to research materials) Online Laulima Information Competency Unit Test proctoring services through all UH system institutions Faculty support: Information Technology Services (ITS) - UH System The Laulima support branch of ITS provides technology support to faculty through training sessions on various technology-related topics during the fall and spring semesters, and through web-based help desk services. Instructional Technology Support Office (ITSO) Findings of the Academic Senate ad hoc Online Education committee resulted in the creation of ITSO in August Present Staffing One full-time faculty Instructional Technology Developer (East Hawai i) One full-time APT Educational Specialist (in recruitment) (East Hawai i) One faculty reassigned part-time (20%) (West Hawai i) 7

8 Principal Services offering student Laulima orientations during the first week of instruction researching and providing faculty training for new technologies and strategies that enhance achievement of student learning outcomes developing and employing an online course evaluation tool evaluating online courses to identify needs of faculty creating a Laulima development site to model the new Laulima course template and to communicate with online faculty about workshops, opportunities and other distance education news conducting trainings on Laulima tools and online course design (approximately six per year, on West and East Hawai i campuses) providing instructional design support and procedures to guide the development, delivery, evaluation, and revision of distance education courses conducting one-on-one consultation services addressing technology integration planning, and the design and development of online course sites creating a multi-faceted program that combines pedagogy, technology and course development training (the Online Course Development Program accepts ten online instructors per year for a five week intensive training on online course development strategies, using Laulima tools, and federal and College expectations of online courses; follow-up is done throughout the completion of the course design and teaching of the class) staying abreast of and keeping the College apprised of developments, federal requirements, and best practices conducting meetings (once a semester) for online instructors (purpose: to communicate updates, regulations, policies, best practices) creating a website that provides information about ITSO services Future Directions As online education at Hawai icc continues to expand and mature, the College will need to consider the following: Online Education Committee While Academic Senate ad hoc committees have helped to guide the campus towards formalizing online educational practices, the College may eventually need a permanent Distance Education Committee to help identify, plan for, and support the needs of distance and online education. Possible responsibilities: Evaluation of new online courses, perhaps structured similarly to the Quality Matters (QM) approach in which three peers evaluate each course. Policy making Advising the Academic Senate about the needs and requirements of this new form of instruction 8

9 This committee would need to be broadly representative of the faculty. Student Issues Should we test and certify students for technological competency before allowing them to take distance and web-enhanced classes? Hawai icc and the UH system have made strides to provide support services to online students, including online tutoring, internet-based tech and self-service support, and /phone student services support. However, as online education and the use of technology in all classes increases, the College may need to expand distance-delivered support. Do we need phone/internet-based support for students during regular hours or 24/7? Faculty Issues Just as the need to certify students to take online classes needs to be discussed, so does the need to certify faculty to teach online. A main advantage to requiring faculty certification is that it would ensure that online courses were taught by faculty who were trained in online course design and the essential technology to create and teach online classes. At the same time, there are several key issues that would need to be resolved. First, there are many online instructors that are already teaching well in this mode of delivery. Should they also be required to become certified? Will certification be a one-time process? Second, the online environment is rapidly changing, so online competency is a moving target. Who will decide standards, and how will those standards be communicated to prospective faculty? Who will monitor evaluation of competency? Role of the UH Community College System Another integral issue is the need for cooperation and articulation between campuses in the UH Community College System and for a clearly defined role of the System in managing and supporting the needs of online learners and faculty. The UH Community College system is currently discussing a strategic plan for distance education that proposes state-wide solutions for questions regarding online education. Since online education crosses the borders between campuses both for students and for faculty, the role of the system will become relevant in areas of equity and quality control, as well as in the coordinating of services. 9

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